Sunday, April 23, 2017

Ours Go to 11: Great Female Movie Directors

This was a much harder list to compile than it should have been, and the fault clearly isn't merely mine.

I wanted to post something on Seth Saith and without anything recent to review--and with an event this afternoon limiting my time--I thought I'd do one of my occasional "Ours Go to 11" lists.

With today's commitment also restricting my getting to the monthly lunch Meetup of the Chicago Film Discussion Group--whose topic today is Female Directors--I thought I'd list my favorites in that category.

I initially thought I'd limit inclusion to women directors who have made at least three feature films I've really liked, but that sadly left me with almost nobody.

And in perusing the Meetup group shortlist, a referenced list on Mubi of A Year With Women, IMDB and the results of a bit of Googling on the topic, I found that not only are their far too few female directors, most have not been enlisted to make all that many films.

Of a few thousand movies I've seen in my lifetime, clearly less than 100 have been directed by women, perhaps by half or less if only counting those I've particularly liked. 

As such, I'd be happy to hear of women directors whose work I should see. Mira Nair, Barbra Streisand and Catherine Hardwicke are three notable names not on this list simply because I haven't seen any of their films.

Agnes Varda and Barbara Kopple have made documentaries I've enjoyed, but I decided to keep this list to feature film directors, simply because there are probably several other worthy female documentarians I should cite but can't.

Given how few works of each director I've seen, it also seemed silly to overtly rank them, so this is roughly a "Top 11" plus Honorable Mentions to every other woman who has directed something I've enjoyed.

Great Female Movie Directors
(who have made at least one feature film I've really liked):

Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty
Ava DuVernay - Selma
Amy Heckerling - Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Clueless
Lana and Lilly Wachowski - The Matrix
Lone Scherfig - An Education 
Sofia Coppola - Lost in Translation
Kimberly Peirce - Boys Don't Cry 
Julie Taymor - Frida, Across the Universe
Penny Marshall - Big, Awakenings, A League of Their Own
Patty Jenkins - Monster
Haifaa al-Mansour - Wadjda

Jane Campion - The Piano
Nora Ephron - Sleepless in Seattle, Julie & Julia
Jodie Foster - Little Man Tate
Lisa Cholodenko - The Kids are All Right
Nicole Holofcener - Enough Said
Elaine May - Mikey & Nicky
Kelly Reichardt - Wendy & Lucy
Nancy Meyers - The Intern
Penelope Spheeris - Wayne's World
Allison Anders - Grace of My Heart
Ida Lupino - The Hitch-Hiker
Claire Denis - 35 Shots of Rum
Angelina Jolie - Unbroken
Niki Caro - Whale Rider
Debra Granik - Winter's Bone
Betty Thomas - Private Parts
Jennifer Kent - The Babadook
Deniz Gamze Ergüven - Mustang
Susanne Bier - In a Better World

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