The first and only woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director, Kathryn Bigelow’s command of visual narrative, her tenacity and her choice of subjects that have the ability to provoke change, have redefined the landscape of cinema today. The American director also acts as producer and writer for many of her films.
Bigelow, who originally studied painting at the San Francisco Art Institute before receiving a Master’s in Film from Columbia University and becoming a filmmaker, co-wrote and directed her first feature film The Loveless in 1981, which gained critical acclaim. In the 1990s, she directed a trilogy of action films, Blue Steel (1989), Point Break (1991) and Strange Days (1995), written and produced by fellow Rolex Testimonee James Cameron, in which she challenged the conventions of action cinema and garnered praise for her visual aesthetic.
Her subsequent films solidified her position as a Hollywood heavyweight with the political action-thrillers, The Hurt Locker in 2008 and Zero Dark Thirty in 2012, both of which earned her Oscar nominations; for The Hurt Locker, Bigelow won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director. With her most recent film, Detroit, Bigelow directed and produced a film based on the 1967 Detroit riots, concerning race-related violence in the United States. Her films provoke an examination of the politics that surround us, and have established the director as a true auteur.
Her films have depicted incidents in time which act as a reflection on society, and have in turn, helped to define that same society with the timeless works she creates.
Bigelow regards film as a journalistic experience, “If the purpose of art is to agitate for change then film should expose us to something we don’t already know.”
On appearing with the other three directors in the Rolex film, Bigelow said she felt “extremely humbled and honoured to be in the company of such extraordinary and enduring talents.”
Kathryn Bigelow’s command of visual narrative, her tenacity and her choice of subjects that have the ability of provoking change, have redefined the landscape of cinema today. Rolex is proud to support Oscar-winning directors as they continue to push the boundaries of the art of filmmaking.