Lady Director: Adventures in Hollywood, Television and Beyond

City Lights. Nov. 2022. 280p. ISBN 9780872868687. pap. $17.95. FILM
Award-winning film director Chopra’s memoir pulls no punches. Starting with her life in New York in the 1930s and ’40s, she shares experiences of growing up poor, being sexually assaulted by an older brother, and coming of age in the postwar era. She candidly describes navigating sexism and abuse in the film industry; her start as a documentarian; her groundbreaking autobiographical short Joyce at 34; winning Best Director at the Sundance Film Festival for her first feature film, Smooth Talk; and her constant battles with Hollywood producers who refused to work with a woman director. Her insightful memoir also gives readers glimpses into her decades-long marriage, her undying love for her daughter, and her lifelong friendships with the likes of Gene Wilder, Arthur Miller, and Laura Dern. With a career spanning more than six decades, Chopra gives readers access to some of the most personal decisions in her life, her loves, and losses. As a feminist and a filmmaker, she also demonstrates how, for some, the personal and professional cannot exist in separate spheres.
VERDICT A strong, engaging read that offers insight into Chopra’s life and career and the all-too-familiar struggles of women professionals in misogynistic workspaces.
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