Letter to the Editor: Nora Ephron’s untimely death (yes I do think 71 is too young)

Nora Ephron, Esquire photo

Nora Ephron, Esquire photo

Hi, I thought you might find this interesting!

Diane Meier, president of Meier,
feminist and noted author, has written a lovely and heartbreaking tribute piece in the wake of Nora Ephron’s death Tuesday. She recalls meeting Ephron at dinner two years ago and hearing about the film she was never able to make – and which we’ll now never get to see. What does it say about our culture when the top woman director in the field is unable to get a film produced, while many men’s projects with far smaller audience potential routinely get funded?

I’d be delighted if you’d be able to feature, mention, or link to “Uphill with Nora Ephron.”

Many thanks,
Tara Strahl

Dear Tara

What does it say when Nora Ephron, a woman who changed the face and gender of the Hollywood status quo cannot get her film made? Well, it says a great deal. And it especially doesn’t bode well for those of us marginalised from mainstream Hollywood.

“…You’ve got time on your side. I’ll wait. You’ll figure it out.

I didn’t know that she didn’t have time…” —Diane Meier

I believe women are influenced by women, regardless of ethnicity. That said, as a Black woman I remember feeling great joy for the success of writer/director Spike Lee‘s entree into establishment Hollywood, even though (with the exception of Crooklyn), that success has done little to heighten the image or visibility of Black women.

I am by no means exceptional in standing with my brothers, sons and fathers worldwide who are under siege, and rejoice when they are able to realise their film projects – providing those projects do not demean women.  Still, after all of Lee’s box office successes, he also finds it difficult to get his movies financed. People of colour in general have it tough when it comes to the movie industry. Women of colour are all but non-existent.

It is indeed unfortunate that Black men are not nearly as supportive of our success in the film industry as we are of theirs.  If gifted writer/director Kasi Lemmons was a man, her name would be a household treasure, just as Lee’s was when he arrived on the scene.

There are feminine and feminist sensibilities to be enjoyed in the films of Nora Ephron, without overtly political didacticism.  As women, we acknowledge the loss of a woman who imbued the importance of our most fundamental relationships with complexity, humour and class. Yet, regardless of all her magnificent accomplishments, she still had to spend her last days fighting for her film to be made. Tara to me this says,  if you aren’t white and male, even your money and certainly your philosophy has no relevance.

A favourite quote from Nora:

“Beware of men who cry.  It’s true that men who cry are sensitive to and in touch with feelings, but the only feelings they tend to be sensitive to and in touch with are their own.”

I think Women’s films often illustrate the interdependence of all human existence – films like Silkwood come to mind.  These films are vital to our perceptions of our selves as whole beings.

Silkwood Movie Cover

Silkwood Movie Cover

We will miss Nora’s sharp wit and layered characterisations.  Her literary scripts stand as an example for future screenwriters of both genders and all cultural backgrounds.

We aren’t crying Nora – we’re fighting for films to be made for all women, by women.


Kamaria Muntu
Editor of Femficatio



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