A Hero Of Our Times: An interview with the directors of Ruth Bader-Ginsburg documentary RBG
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Our initial discussion was on how exactly it was that this documentary came into being and what the inspiration behind it was, the initial initiative for this project being her rising prominence in the public eye.
"As she became a public icon through
But filming and research was a slow process initially, for many reasons: "Never before has a documentary been produced on a supreme court Justice," according to Cohen. "The initial challenge was getting access to Justice Ginsburg. It took several attempts to get her permission to start following and interviewing her."
The documentary itself is presented in several mediums throughout, the most prominent being a collection of interviews with Justice Ginsburg herself along with those who have been a part of her journey.
The directing duo
"It was difficult to condense down who we wanted to speak to and what to include," says Cohen. "We wanted to pick cases we thought were fascinating and those who we thought could bring those stories to life."
Featuring everyone from Gloria Steinem to Justice Ginsburg’s own grandchildren, these interviews are designed to weave together to create a ‘balance between the serious with her compelling personal story.’
A particularly poignant element of her biography is that of her relationship with her husband, Martin ‘Marty’ Ginsburg. "There wasn’t a person who didn’t mention Marty Ginsburg," says West. "He made it possible for her to accomplish what she did. He became her advocate."
A graduate of Harvard Law School and later professor of law, Marty encouraged Justice Ginsburg to pursue her career and worked in partnership with her to assist in her continued progress. "She lit up whenever she spoke about him," says Cohen, on RBG’s response to talking about her late husband. This relationship and the importance of this to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as both a person as well as a Supreme Court Justice was central to the documentary, alongside her many professional successes in the progress of US legislation.
"Her life is fascinating and has so many facets," says West. "She’s small and
It is the admiration of both West and Cohen that shines through this complex narrative of one of the most important women in the ongoing pursuit of gender equality. She is a "real hero for our times", according to Cohen, "especially in that she writes to be understood, not just in legal jargon."
Here there is a reference to a particular moment in which Justice Ginsburg was discussing the rights of African Americans being protected by legislation
"We finished making the documentary during the fall of Weinstein and rising of Me Too movement, in an environment of increasing disgust with harassment and rape," says West. "This atmosphere definitely informs the current response around this feminist icon."
This comment especially captures the importance of documentaries such as RBG in informing and enabling a public conscious to raise ongoing awareness of gender inequality, and the progress that has been made so far. The continuing of both female and male support for gender equality that stems from such public awareness has become a guiding force in the reception of the documentary as it's released across the globe. The directors agree that "It was an
Upon sharing that a
Amongst West and Cohens'
Of the former, Cohen says it was "the strength with which she stands up" for what she has to say in this most important of moments that struck her the most. This essence of "she applies herself fully to everything she does" was the closing feel of our conversation, a thought which summarises perfectly the central motif of RBG.
This is a documentary about a woman who has acted as an ambassador for women not only in the US but everywhere in our world, and who
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