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Director Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days (1995), with Ralph Fiennes and Angela Bassett
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by Charlie Finch

Kathryn Bigelow has most unusual origins for a Hollywood director. She started out in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, studied with Lawrence Weiner and made her first film about the semioticians Sylvere Lotringer and Marshall Blonsky. Somehow, all this high art merely served as prelude to lensing the notorious Jamie Lee Curtis bathroom topless scene in Blue Steel, messengered via Playboy to the bedrooms of teenage boys all over America, and a subsequent career making paranoid sci-fi-action films like Strange Days, nicely dovetailing with her now-terminated marriage to director James Cameron.