A big happy birthday to American filmmaker Katherine Bigelow. Born today in 1951, Bigelow began her career with the short film The Set-Up, created in 1978, is a 20 minute analysis of violence in film, with two characters beating each other through the duration of the shoot, while voice overs deconstruct the visual images. Bigelow then pursued feature film direction and got her first break in 1982 with the film The Loveless — a biker film noteworthy for being the first starring role for Willem Dafoe. The modicum of success she encountered through her films in the 80’s would be shattered with the advent of the 90’s decade, spawning a trilogy of large budget films, including her biggest success to date, the wonderfully cheesy Point Break, starring Keanu Reeves as an undercover FBI agent posing as a surfer. In 1995, Bigelow directed the James Cameron penned Strange Days, a cyberpunk thriller that was given 4 out of 4 stars by Roger Ebert. Unfortunately, critical acclaim isn’t the end all be all of film making, and the move bombed at the box office, earning less than a fifth of its budget. Her subsequent venture in directing, K-19: The Widowmaker, also tanked at the box office, putting her on hiatus for six years before she finally released the most successful film of her career: The Hurt Locker. Although financially viable (earning two and a half times its budget), the film is more well known for its critical acclaim, including Academy Awards for best Film and Best Director, among numerous other accolades from various festivals and organizations. Bigelow’s next film will be Zero Dark Thirty, a tale of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Enclosed is a promotional still from the film Strange Days, which I have to admit is my favorite of the films, and a highly underrated 90’s classic — if you’re looking for something to watch, check this one out.