Revisiting Our Video Essay on Kathryn Bigelow and The Hurt Locker

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03/08/2010 11:49 AM |

The L Magazine heartily congratulates Kathryn Bigelow, the Oscar-winning director of Point Break, on the last night’s Academy endorsement of a career that began in 1978, with a film of “two men beating each other to a bloody pulp for 20 minutes accompanied by voiceover readings of texts by cultural theorists,” and has continued more or less apace in the years since.

Yes, the first woman to win Best Director is actually the most macho filmmaker in Hollywood, a maker of war and action pictures (the passionate, fearful, fearsome Blue Steel, starring Jamie Lee Curtis as a twice-as-tough lady cop who has to make it in a violent man’s world after she loses her gun, is probably Bigelow’s most autobiographical movie); if anything The Hurt Locker is flawed by its director’s overidentification with its adrenaline-junkie soldiers.

The second-best thing about Kathryn Bigelow winning Best Director is the implicit demand that her earlier work be taken seriously, as intense and complicated meditations on thrill-seeking, death-wishing masculinity and violence. We’ve been doing just that for a while now—and today seems an especially good day to revisit Michael Joshua Rowin and Matt Zoller Seitz’s video essay on Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker, from last summer, considering Bigelow’s, and our, careerlong fascination with “the macho outlaw hero [with] an unstable relation to death and destruction.” The transcript is here; the video essay, originally posted here, is embedded after the jump.