C Laudia Weill's career as a feature film director lasted only two years but it had a huge impact Girlfriends, her debut in 1978 on two young New York women shotes in Different Directions was a small independent film, but its influence has since multiplied, notably detectable in the work of Greta Gerwig and Lena Dunham.
"It 's only a joy," said Weill, to see the others pick up where she left off. “We all inspire each other. Weill certainly thinks Frances Ha, who played and was co-written by Greta Gerwig, took inspiration from Girlfriends. "But it was a whole different movie, " she adds, "and female friendships are a big topic.
Girlfriends, which is screened in select theaters this month, revolves around Jewish photographer Susan Weinblatt, whose relationship with her friend Waspy Anne Munroe deteriorates whensque the latter leaves their apartment to start a family with her boyfriend. The screenplay, co-written with Vicki Polon, was based on Weill's own experiences: she was eager to present a story with a flawed and refreshing protagonist.
“I grew up in a family that expected me to get married and have kids,” says Weill, who is now 74 and speaks to me from his home in Massachusetts. I eventually did, but it wasn 't the way I was at all. "The movie was Weill making peace with who she was while everyone around her reared up. Weill examines platonic and sexual relationships with breeze, exploring themes with an honesty unknown to many American moviegoers. She was a documenta rian before making Girlfriends and Deferred Naturalism. "Making documentaries was film school for me," says -elthe. "I was learning to read behavior. Girlfriends is about miniature moments that reveal something about who the person is. "
She pushed Girlfriends to the Cannes film festival, then, backwards, cold- called some studios. After a bidding war, she sold it to Warner Brothers. Then Columbia Pictures came knocking on the door, hiring Weill for the 1980s It's My Turn, a romantic comedy with Jill Clayburgh and Michael Douglas who scratched similar territory and has their own charm. Weill didn't appreciate the experience, however: being the boss of an all-male crew meant being constantly undermined.