Anna Karina in Pierre le Fou


About Big Little Lies and Andrea Arnold

'A show dominated by some of the most powerful actresses in Hollywood hired a fiercely independent woman director — who was now being forced to watch from the director’s chair as scenes were shot in the style of her male predecessor.’

What is really problematic about the social media frenzy that has emanated from a piece in Indiewire - just five days ago - based on anonymous sources is the creation of a house of cards, one over the other that fits the scenario of exclusion of women in mainstream television. Generally, that scenario is true. However, if Andrea Arnold actually was pulled from the director's chair to watch on the side lines as B- photographers shot her scenes, anonymous editors clipped them, was muzzled to not say a word and later cried in the corner about it - it would be outrageous. Such assertions emanate from this one Indiewire report. This is the kind of report that were it true would engage everyone in the struggle for inclusion and gender equality. Ironically everyone is fighting about it anyway, despite not hearing any factual evidence or commentary by anyone involved in the series especially Arnold. No matter that the show is a soap opera about economically privileged married or dating women who chauffeur their children to private schools and playdates in Monterey. Though this saga is about domestic violence it is built around frequent commercial plugs for Spotify tracks and coastal Northern California tourism. If you believe Indiewire it is because the story reads incredibly Machiavellian. But you will also have to question Arnold's credentials as a filmmaker -- many have never even seen her films to make an assessment of her visual style. Was her willy nilly signing on as Executive Producer of five of the seven episodes when all other EPs had only one episode to regulate in the contract? Were her scenes re-edited to match the look and feel of S1 written by long acknowledged Show Runner David E Kelley. Did he plan to bring back S1 director Jean Vallee to take over after HBOs 'Sharp Objects' wrapped after Arnold signed? This is pure Macbeth! The conspiracy theory is as weakly intoxicating and intriguing as the plot of 'Big Little Lies' with accomplished actresses acting as an ensemble for a superficial script written by Kelley. There are those who would rather believe this social media soap opera than investigate if Arnold was shut out as is claimed. At present, S2 is being filtered through the distorted lens that Arnold couldn't possibly have created anything in S2 of this vacuous series. She is no newcomer to US television and has directed Prime Time series; her films have won Jury Prizes at Cannes and festivals and award shows around the world. Hardly a fragile outsider with no business acumen or agent as Indiewire would have us believe. Check yourself how every single report in social media on Arnold and BLL can be traced back to Indiewire with their allegations recycled as facts.


Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame de Paris
The evolution of the Notre Dame cathedral - renamed Notre Dame de Paris  by Bishop Maurice Sully in 1163. 

 From an exhibition inside the Notre Dame with miniature models of building process and evolution through today.

Before the Gothic cathedral - a multitude of churches -St Stephen from the Middle Ages, St Denis de Pas, St Christophe - all facing east like the Notre Dame (exhibition 2017 at Notre Dame).

Sinagoga, blindfolded by a snake, St. Anne portal, Western façade of the Notre Dame.

At the base of the Grand Port is a woman holding an open and closed book - the real Nôtre Dame built by alchemists. As you travel up the door , Christian symbols appear. On the ceiling where the spire fell on the transept are other symbols - I have been on the Tower Tour which is not officially sanctioned by the church with a statue of an alchemist, a pelican, and gargoyles.
© Moira Sulliva


The spire the descending saints and across peaking out is an alchemist flanked by grotesques. Two languages in stone. The Tower Tour of Notre Dame de Paris not sanctioned by the Catholic Church .

Le Mystère des Cathédrales

Le Mystère des Cathédrales
© Moira Sullivan

My favorite place in the entire world- every year I spend hours in it, outside, since my first visit for midnight Mass with my Mother in 1976. I recommend Fulcanelli's "
Le Mystère des Cathédrales" from 1926. to study the language of stone that informs this magnificent wonder of architecture.

The evolution of the Notre Dame cathedral - originally called St Stephen and renamed by Bishop Maurice Sully in 1163. 
From an exhibition inside the Notre Dame with miniature models of building process and evolution through today.
Nine centuries in the life of a cathedral (exhibition 2017 at Notre Dame)
Model of the beginning of the construction of the cathedral,
The façade - a triumphal entranceway.
Before the Gothic cathedral - a multitude of churches -St Stephen from the Middle Ages, St Denis de Pas, St Christophe - all facing east like the Notre Dame.
The reconstruction of the transept (this is what was underway when the fire broke out today).

Cher Sainte Jeanne d'Arc

Cher Sainte Jeanne d'Arc, sauve Notre Dame de Paris. Elle se tient en alerte défendant la France à l'intérieur de l'église.

©Moira Sullivan
April 15, 2019


Lee Daniel's extraordinary "Paperboy"; Xavier Dolan's forgotten "Lawrence Anyways"

Zac Ephron Nicole Kidman and Matthew McConaughey in Lee Daniel's The Paperboy (2012)

I was on the Queer Palm jury in 2012, an extraordinary life experience that included being on the Red Carpet at Cannes. The feature film Queer Palm went to Lawrence Anyways by Xavier Dolan- not my choice. With all respect to my esteemed and beloved colleagues, I had wanted this special award to go to Lee Daniel's Paperboy that brilliantly shows the intersectionality of racism, sexism and homosexuality.  Matthew McConaughey (David Ward) plays a closeted gay journalist who along with Yardley Acheman (David Oyelowo) is hired by Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman) to help exonerate her client. She has fallen in love with death row inmate Hillary von Etter (John Cusack). The jury was given a special screening of this film on the last day of the Cannes festival, a memorable farewell to our film troupe that was fun, lively, outrageous and visionary.

What happened after our decision for the best feature film - a decision made in a lively and painstakingly careful deliberation,  further confirms to me why Dolan should have been passed up.  In an arrogant gesture that not only ridiculed the meaning of this important addition to the Cannes honors, Dolan refused to accept it. He was not pushed to pick it up,  as he claims. We were told he just wouldn't show by his producer - that he didn't want it.  That's fine if he didn't, however afterwards he was quoted as saying:
That such prizes even exist disgusts me. What progress is there to be made with awards so marginalizing, so ostracizing, that claim that films made by gays are gay movies? We divide with these categories. We fragment the world into hermetic little communities. I didn't collect the Queer Palm. They still want me to. Never! Homosexuality can be addressed in my films or not.
A short essay written four years later by Ursula Grisham, the head curator of the film distributor Filmatique,  illuminates what is important about a queer film award in "Xavier Dolan & the Queer Palm: Cinema as Art vs. Artifact".

The purpose of queer awards at film festivals is not to marginalize; it is to integrate, to make visible, to offer an outlet through which these stories may be witnessed, discussed, and told.
I was actually glad to not have to give this award to a filmmaker whose views seem like internalized homophobia, Short film Queer Palm winner Benjamin Parent for  It's Not a Cowboy Movie was on hand to make the closing ceremony memorable. The jury made a short film I directed - Death Quest in the venue where the awards were held.

Death Quest, with Queer Palm Jury © 2012 Moira Sullivan

As for Lee Daniels, I spoke with him and his proud family at the American Center Pavilion at Cannes and told him that The Paperboy was brilliant and in my opinion, should have won. He deserved not only the award for what it means, but what his film means to queer spectators all over the world. Dolan will be remembered for his disservice to the Queer Palm and queer spectators always. Lee Daniels will be remembered as the man who consistently makes great films with queer characters and is proud of them.

©Moira Jean Sullivan — Queer Palm Jury 2012 , Cannes. President Julie Gayet, Sam Ashby, Franck Finance-Madureira Sarah Neal at Palais des Festivals

Moira Sullivan , Sam Ashby, Sarah Neal, Jim Dobson, Franck Finance-Madureira and Frédéric Niolle at Palais des Festivals, Cannes. ©Moira Jean Sullivan

Queer Palm Jury 2012

Julie Gayet actress and TV producer, France, president of the jury
Sam Ashby, editor and designer of posters, Britain, Little Joe magazine
Jim Dobson, officer and director, U.S. Indie PR
Sarah Neal, head of programming, Australia, Brisbane Queer Film Festival
Frédéric Niolle, assistant director and journalist, France, Canal + Cinéma Paris Première, Radio France
Moira Sullivan, university lecturer, critic, director, United States and Sweden,