Show Business: Behind the Lens

Screenwriter Carol Eastman was talking with friends recently about her upcoming debut as a film director. "What," asked one, "are you going to wear—a muumuu, a Gestapo uniform or a terry-cloth robe, mules and pin curls?" Miss Eastman, who wrote Five Easy Pieces, was understandably annoyed. "I turned to a man who had just directed his first picture and said, 'Did they ask you what you were going to wear?' "

The gaffe pointed up a fact of movie life. American women have been active underground film makers (notably Shirley Clarke, who directed The...