Director’s Chair Introduction: Lana and Lilly Wachowski

by Tony Cogan · May 1, 2017 · Director's Chair, Uncategorized · 2 Comments

Deadline: 27th May 2017

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Hello everyone, it’s time again to announce the directors that will be featured in this month’s Directors Chair feature. and this time I thought I’d go with a pair of director siblings, and the ones I’ve chosen are the Wachowski sisters.

Now the films of the Wachowski’s do not provoke mild reactions, they are films that people either love or hate, but few directors have had as lasting an impact on modern films as they have. Large portions of modern action/sci-fi films owe at least some elements to the success of The Matrix, especially with it allowing a wider degree of influences, from anime to video games, to come to the forefront in Western films. I could go more into detail about the legacy of The Matrix, but Bob Chipman recently did a brilliant video going over all of that so I’ll just link to that, he says it better than I ever could.

The anime influence that the Wachowski’s have had over their careers came to the forefront with their version of Speed Racer, which tried its best to recreate the style of anime in live action, to mixed success. This mixed success has always been a feature of the films of the Wachowskis. With the Matrix sequels, there were a lot of interesting ideas in them, but the execution, particularly in the Architect scene, was limited, whilst Jupiter Ascending was a complete train wreck, but an enjoyable one, especially in the scenes with Eddie Redmayne who knows exactly what kind of film he’s in and is clearly having a ball with it. For me personally, their biggest triumph was Cloud Atlas. I recently put it forward for Movie of the Month and it is one of my favourite films. Their use of the Brechtian Alienation Effect through the make-up helps with the thematic weight of the film, even with the more controversial elements, and, whilst I do understand why people do not like the film, I just adore that film.

Probably the most noteworthy element of the Wachowski’s public life though is that they are probably the highest profile transgender directors working today and elements of this can be seen in their films. There is a bit of this in Cloud Atlas, and there have been essays written about transgender themes in The Matrix following the announcement of Lana Wachowski’s transition. Now, as a cisgender male, I do not feel qualified to talk fully about how the transgender nature of the Wachowski’s manifests in their films, I don’t have the understanding to go into more detail and for something like this, I feel like I would need to understand it more effectively. There is a wealth of writings about the Wachowski’s from LGBT authors and I highly advise you check that out if you want to gain a better understanding of their films.

With that said, once again I am looking for any reviews/podcasts/features on the films of Lana and Lilly Wachowski. Send any entries you have to [email protected]. As a reminder of the films that you can cover, check out the below list:

  • Bound
  • The Matrix
  • The Matrix Reloaded
  • The Matrix Revolutions
  • Speed Racer
  • Cloud Atlas
  • Jupiter Ascending

I look forward to hearing back from you and going through anything that you send me.