Jason Madanjian ’15 / Emertianment Monthly Editor
On Wednesday February 6 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, director/writer/actress/voice-of-a-generation Lena Dunham and her mother, revered artist Laurie Simmons, were on-hand for a special Q&A after the screening of Dunham’s debut film Tiny Furniture.
The film is almost a prequel of sorts to Dunham’s hit HBO show Girls. In it, Aura (Dunham) returns home after college, struggling to find a place for herself and aggravating both her mother and high school sister (played by her actual mom and little sis) in the process.
Even more grounded in reality than her television show, the film features the same awkward sense of humor. Like her show Girls, Dunham isn’t afraid to show her own personal vulnerabilities, as well as some skin, to better humanize the character.
After the movie, Dunham came out with her mother to wild cheers from the audience. She said she hadn’t seen the movie in over a year and hoped it held up well.
After being asked a question about the film being featured in the holy grail of film catalogues, the Criterion Collection, Dunham revealed it was quite a difficult process to convince them to include her film, a ranking she thinks the film might not have been worthy of.
“It’s hard to get your movie on the Criterion Collection if your still alive and not French,” Dunham said to roars of laughter in the audience.
When asked about the controversy her hit TV show encountered in the first season for not featuring any characters of race in the melting pot that is NYC, Dunham admits it was a real eye-opener about the power she now held.
“I’m very proud of the first season,” said Dunham. “But I’m incredibly glad for the conversation it raised.”
Another audience member asked about comparisons between Dunham and her characters, who many fans find a lot of similarities in.
To that Dunham said, “Sometimes I feel so close to Hannah.” But she concluded that her onscreen characters are more joyful and unsinkable than the real life Lena, who admits she can be a pessimist.
But it was Dunham’s answer to an eager fan’s question about feminism that really defined the afternoon, garnering a huge round of applause from the audience.
“I do not believe in the concept of post-feminism,” said Dunham, still believing that woman have to fight for equal rights.
She says that she never went into her television show with an agenda, but sometimes she can’t control how she was raised and that makes its way to the screen.
“I knew what feminism was before I knew what sex was.”
And with that instantly quotable parting thought, the event was over. Perhaps Dunham may be the voice of her generation. Or just a voice. Of a generation.
NOTE: Emerson students get $5 film tickets, plus free museum admission with their student ID. This applies to undergrads and graduate students.