Kathryn Bigelow, director of The Hurt Locker, grew up in a rural suburb of San Francisco, the only child of a librarian and the manager of a paint factory. “My dad used to draw these great cartoon figures. His dream was being a cartoonist, but he never achieved it, and it kind of broke my heart,” she says. “I think part of my interest in art had to do with his yearning for something he could never have.” She studied painting at CalArts, then moved to New York for a fellowship from the Whitney. Bigelow initially immersed herself in the downtown art scene, working on performance pieces with the conceptual group Art & Language, but she soon began experimenting with film. A master’s in film criticism from Columbia left her in love with foreign directors such as Passolini and Fassbinder. Then one night she went to a double bill of Mean Streets and The Wild Bunch, and had an epiphany. “It took all my semiotic Lacanian deconstructivist saturation and torqued it,” she says. “I realized there’s a more muscular approach to filmmaking that I found very inspiring.” (via Newsweek)
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