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Women of Independent Miens

Nicole Holofcener, director of the film
Nicole Holofcener, director of the film "Friends With Money," made a splash at Sundance 10 years ago with her debut, "Walking and Talking." (Lucian Perkins - The Washington Post)

You've each made very different kinds of films, but your films share a quality of upending expectations, especially regarding the way women behave and relate to one another.

MH: Some people have reacted badly to "Bettie Page" and say that it's not deep enough or dark enough, because [they] think when you see a girl doing any kind of sex job and sexual photographs and fetish photographs, then she should end up cut up in a trunk, basically. There should be some horrible fate. Because we have a very punitive attitude to it.

What's your relationship to feminism?

NH: I haven't had any angry feminists banging at my door. I consider myself a feminist when asked, but I would never really label myself that. I haven't been attacked for showing the girlie or frivolous sides that women have, that I can care about the size of my ass and something else really important, it doesn't mean I'm shallow. And I think that true feminism does embrace all sides of women.

MH: And men care about those things too; they care a lot. I feel that without feminism, I wouldn't be doing this. So I feel very grateful. Without it, God knows what my life would be. I don't make feminist films in the sense that I don't make anything ideological. But I do find that women get my films better. Women and gay men.

NH: Yeah, me too. Women and gay men.

MH: Right?

NH: Yeah!

MH: Maybe because they're less threatened by it, or they see what I'm trying to say better --

NH: -- Relate to it better, yeah.

MH: And I think that's definitely true with "The Notorious Bettie Page." Because I can't even explain why it's coming from a different place, but it is definitely coming from a different place than if a guy would have made the movie. I guess it would have been more about her as sexy-sexy. And it isn't really sexy.

NH: I haven't seen the movie yet, but I imagine that if a man made it, he would be attracted to Gretchen and would try to exploit that.

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