Labor Day: Films about the Working World by Women Filmmakers
By Jan Lisa Huttner
SOMETHING OLD: 13 Conversations About One Thing
SOMETHING NEW: Beauty Shop
SOMETHING BORROWED: Erin Brockovich
SOMETHING BLUE: Japanese Story
As we say a fond farewell to another summer and head into Fall, here are four films about workplace identities in the modern world.
Jill and Karen Sprecher first attracted attention with Clockwatchers, their 1997 feature about four temps on the bot- tom rung of an enormous corporation. In 2001, they released 13 Conversations About One Thing, a film with many of the same themes, but broader and deeper. The sisters share screenwriting credits on both films, with Jill named director.
The anchor of 13 Conversations is Gene, a middle-aged, middle-manager in a large Manhattan insurance company. Gene – exquisitely played by Alan Arkin – is a divorced workaholic, and loneliness is slowly corroding all his interactions. One night he meets Troy (Matthew McConaughey). Their casual bar stool conversation marks a turning point in both lives. When Troy leaves the bar, he has a tragic encounter with Beatrice (Clea DuVall), but when Gene leaves the bar, he has a brief encounter with Patricia (Amy Irving) which, though wordless, is filled with redemptive beauty.