Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Best Films Directed by Women, Reaching Consensus

Reviews
by Anne Thompson
August 3, 2012 4:06 PM
116 Comments
  • |
Kathryn Bigelow

While we pore over the latest Sight & Sound film critics poll of the Top 50 Movies of all time, it's not surprising that most of the films are directed by men. The notable exception is Chantal Akerman's "Jeanne Dielman," which I saw in college but barely remember. On the other hand, I recall every frame of Maya Deren's "Meshes in the Afternoon." The poll, as many have commented, is dominated by older films, most of them pre-1960, a time when few women were directing, unless they were Ida Lupino, Dorothy Arzner or Leni Reifenstahl, who did not make the S & S list. Even the great French and Australian women filmmakers--accepted and supported by their culture in a way that American filmmakers are not-- didn't get going until the 70s.

Many of the directors who made the S & S list had built up critical consensus around their top titles. Those who didn't got left off the list--such as Howard Hawks, Sam Peckinpah, Preston Sturges and others. It's almost a PR issue--who gets written about the most, which movies stay extant in the conversation, retaining currency and relevance? So few films directed by women have become actual classics. When Cannes collected all the best filmmakers for a recent anniversary grouping, they included one woman: Jane Campion.

So let's collect the best movies directed by women. Give them some ink. Get the conversation, if late, at least started. So few women have directed Hollywood films of any size, and so many have made personal independent ventures. And so few have built longlasting careers with steady ouput. So many of the best foreign films have not been widely seen. It's the way it is. Please write in any notable films or filmmakers I have left off this list. I've picked each directors' best film, but you may differ. Then we'll come up with a poll for you to vote in. (Women in Hollywood is also doing this; they have their own list.)

1. Jane Campion The Piano

2. Kathyrn Bigelow The Hurt Locker

3. Julie Taymor Frida

4. Susanne Bier After the Wedding

5. Deba Granik Winter's Bone

6. Lena Wertmuller Swept Away

7. Barbra Streisand Yentl

8. Mira Nair Monsoon Wedding

9.  Lisa Cholodenko The Kids Are All Right

10. Gillian Armstrong High Tide

SEE FULL LIST BELOW,  IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER, BY DIRECTOR

Reviews
  • |

More: Women in Film

116 Comments

  • Elka Nikolova | February 8, 2014 1:28 PMReply

    Binka Zhelyazova, "The Attached Balloon" (Bulgarian director)

  • Natasha | September 22, 2012 1:21 PMReply

    Kim Peirce - Boys Don't Cry (robbed of a directing Oscar imho)
    Agnieszka Holland - Europa, Europa and Olivier, Olivier
    Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette is also quite underrated

  • Sophia Savage | August 8, 2012 8:27 PMReply

    Have we mentioned Maren Ade for "Everyone Else" yet?

  • Becca Lou | August 7, 2012 6:42 PMReply

    Martha Stephens is a name to watch out for. Her film Pilgrim Song was fantastic.

    Hoping I'll make this list some day- watch out for my film, Electrick Children, out this Fall.

  • JM | August 7, 2012 3:40 PMReply

    Debra Granik but for Down to the Bone
    Lynne Ramsey but for Ratcather

  • Ridick | August 7, 2012 12:16 AMReply

    Drew Barrymore's Whip It and not Tina Mabry's Mississppi Damned? Ok whatever you say.

  • BANTA | August 6, 2012 10:53 PMReply

    If you're doing newcomers like Dee Rees then Ava Duvernay's Middle of Nowhere which made her the first black woman to win Sundance should be here and Victoria Mahoney's Berlinale debut Yelling to the Sky. Also it is Sugar CANE Alley not Sugar LANE Alley for the iconic Euzhan Palcy.

  • Betty Kaklamanidou | August 6, 2012 5:24 PMReply

    Streisand's 1991 "The Prince of Tides"
    Susanne Bier's 2002 "Open Hearts"
    Julie Delpys 2007 "2 Days in Paris"
    Nora Ephron's 1993 "Sleepless in Seatlle"
    Nancy Meyers's 2000 "What Women Want"
    Amy Heckerling's 1995 "Clueless" and 2007 "I Could Never Be Your Woman"

  • Hero | August 6, 2012 6:37 AMReply

    Ruba Nadda Cairo Time.

  • Hannah | August 5, 2012 5:51 PMReply

    Wendy and Lucy may be better than Meek's Cutoff, though both would be fine inclusions.

    I think Blue Steel is Bigelow's second best film, but Near Dark is worthy.

    White Material (Denis), An Angel at My Table (Campion), Take This Waltz (Polley), Cleo from 5 to 7 (Varda), The Secret Garden (Holland), I, You, He, She (Akerman), Lost in Translation (Coppola)

  • Nikyatu | August 5, 2012 3:34 PMReply

    Kasi Lemmons - EVE'S BAYOU - surely some of you have seen this masterpiece?

  • Nikyatu | August 5, 2012 3:35 PM

    Nevermind just saw that it made the cut. Wow this list reminds me of just how large the schism is for black women filmmakers.

  • Doc M | August 5, 2012 10:47 AMReply

    Now the S&S directors' top ten; even the descriptions are freudian!
    We need to see a female directors' top ten; I think less than half would survive the cut

    1. Tokyo Story Ozu Yasujirô, 1953 (48 votes)
    2= 2001: A Space Odyssey
    3= Citizen Kane
    4. 8½
    5. Taxi Driver
    6. Apocalypse Now
    7= The Godfather
    8= Vertigo
    9. Mirror
    10. Bicycle Thieves

  • Ant Carpendale | August 5, 2012 9:34 AMReply

    I'd second Mary Harron's American Psycho, and add Antonia Bird's very entertaining and underrated horror film Ravenous.

  • Carla Zoogman | August 5, 2012 4:56 AMReply

    Another great one is MOSTLY MARTHA directed by Sandra Nettelbeck and starring Martina Gedeck (of The Lives of Others fame) and Sergio Castellito.
    Thanks a lot, Anne, for this intriguing discussion of films by female directors. It's yielding valuable ideas. Perhaps it could be ongoing and in more detail?

  • Ulrich | August 4, 2012 3:28 PMReply

    Jocelyn Moorhouse A thousand acres

  • Catherine Campbell | August 4, 2012 1:52 PMReply

    Robin Swicord is not on list, her Jane Austin Book Club was great fun.
    And may I suggest that the women filmmakers put their films on Netflix...so they can get seen!; especially after optimal time has passed. I'm currently searching for the right director for a script of mine and am unable to fine a lot of women's films tHAT ARE on your list.
    My criterion - DIRECTOR MALE OR FEMALE HAS HAD TO HAVE MADE at least one film I ABSOLUTELY LOVE.

  • rgm | August 4, 2012 1:21 PMReply

    US women directors seem to have had less luck being nominated for Oscars, than have their foreign counterparts. Here is a list I found of women directors nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. However, only two actually won, Caroline Link and Marleen Gorris

    Astrid Henning-Jensen - Paw (1959)
    Lina Wertmüller - Seven Beauties (1976)
    Diane Kurys - Entre Nous (1983)
    María Luisa Bemberg - Camila (1984)
    Agnieszka Holland - Angry Harvest (1985)
    Coline Serreau - Three Men and a Cradle (1985)
    Mira Nair - Salaam Bombay! (1988)
    Marleen Gorris - Antonia's Line (1995)
    Nana Dzhordzhadze - A Chef in Love (1996)
    Berit Nesheim - The Other Side of Sunday (1996)
    Caroline Link - Beyond Silence (1997)
    Agnès Jaoui - The Taste of Others (2000)
    Paula van der Oest - Zus & Zo (2002)
    Caroline Link - Nowhere in Africa (2002)
    Cristina Comencini - Don't Tell (2005)
    Susanne Bier - After the Wedding (2006)
    Deepa Mehta - Water (2006)

  • Brenda | August 4, 2012 1:20 PMReply

    Jane Campion Angel At My Table

  • Destri | August 4, 2012 1:08 PMReply

    I love that this conversation is happening in many places online-- thank you! I don't think I saw Claudia Weill's GIRLFRIENDS (a classic indie from 1978) on the list. On a related note, I've been tracking (mostly current ) women directors on a Pinterest board because I got tired of reading articles that quoted producers and the like saying that there weren't many women directors: http://bit.ly/QBBqnd I have many, many more to add (thanks partly to this list!).

  • Thomas Caron | August 4, 2012 11:16 AMReply

    Elaine May's "Mikey and Nicky" trumps every movie mentioned, and her omission robs this list of any credibility.

  • Anne Thompson | August 4, 2012 10:53 AMReply

    Denys Arcand is a guy, but will add Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.

  • Anne Thompson | August 4, 2012 10:51 AMReply

    Thanks for these recommendations. Make sure you see all the pages; the directors below the top ten list are in alphabetical order by director.
    Julie Taymor is in the top ten for Frida, not Titus.
    Martha Coolidge is there for Rambling Rose not Real Genius.
    Nicole Holefcener is there for Walking and Talking not Lovely and Amazing. That could change.
    I will add Barbara Kopple, didn't have docs on, should.
    Mira Nair on for Monsoon Wedding on The Namesake.
    Agnes Varda on for One Sings, the Other Doesn't but Cleo from 5-7 seems to be consensus title.

  • Carla Zoogman | August 4, 2012 9:47 AMReply

    Please consider adding NOWHERE IN AFRICA by Caroline Link and THE NAMESAKE by Mira Nair. Bravo for AFTER THE WEDDING by Susanne Bier. (Also special is Barbara Kopple's documentary about the Dixie Chicks, "SHUT UP AND SING.")

  • Nick demartino | August 4, 2012 9:39 AMReply

    HARLAN COUNTY USA by Barbara Kopple

  • Andrew | August 4, 2012 6:42 AMReply

    Not to pick apart this list, the majority of which I have yet to see (thanks for that), but Nicole Kassell's The Woodsman is deserving of mention here. Deft, efficient, beautifully understated, and emotionally catastrophic when the time comes. Easily one of my favorite films, and among the best of the last decade.

  • Dan | August 4, 2012 5:29 AMReply

    Angelina Jolie?!?! For that piece of crap!!! I didn't know this UN has their hands on this list...

  • LAC | August 5, 2012 12:43 AM

    In the Land of Blood and Honey was a powerful movie. Jolie's direction was wonderful. The script could have been better.
    I would like to add the name of Kasi Lemmons, who directed Eve Bayou, to this list.

  • ralch | August 4, 2012 5:09 AMReply

    Martel's "La ciénaga" is better than 'The Headless Woman", though both are great. And I'd recommend Varda's "Jacquot de Nantes" or "Cleo from 5 to 7". Anyway, here I go: (Seen by me) FOROUGH FARROKHZAD, 'The House Is Black"; JANA SEVCIKOVA, "Jakub"; EUZHAN PALCY, "Sugar Cane Alley"; MARGOT BENACERRAF, "Araya"; MARTA MESZAROS, "Adoption"; MATILDE LANDETA, "La Negra Angustias"; MARIA NOVARO, "The Garden of Eden"; ICIAR BOLLAIN, "Take My Eyes"; MIREIA ROS, "La Moños"; CLARA LAW, "Autumn Moon"; ANN HUI, "Song of the Exile"; MARIA LUISA BEMBERG, "Miss Mary"; TISUKA YAMAZAKI, "Parahyba, Mulher Macho"; JAN OXENBERG, "Thank You and Good Night"; JENNIE LIVINGSTON, "Paris Is Burning"; CLAUDIA LLOSA, "The Milk of Sorrow"; NADINE LABAKI, "Caramel"; VERA BELMONT, "Red Kiss"; FINA TORRES, "Oriana"; PILAR MIRO, "The Cuenca Crime"; SOLVEIG HOOGJENSTEIN, "Macu, The Policeman's Woman"; SHIRIN NESHAT, "Turbulent"; MARGARETHE VON TROTTA, "Rosa Luxemburg"; CHUI MUI TAN, "A Tree in Tanjung Malim; ILDIKO ENYEDI, "My 20th Century"; PAZ ENCINA, "Paraguayan Hammock"; BYAMBASUREN DAVAA, 'The Story of the Weeping Camel"; MARIANNE EYDE, "You Only Live Once"; CAROLINE LINK, "Nowhere in Africa"; BONNIE HUNT, "Return to Me"; ADRIENNE SHELLY, "Waitress"................... (Not seen by me; titles chosen by reputation) LOURDES PORTILLO, "Missing Young Woman"; MARTA RODRIGUEZ, "Chircales"; HEDDY HONIGMAN, "O Amor Natural"; DANIELE HUILLET (duo with Jean-Marie Straub), "Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach"; LEONTINE SAGAN, "Maedchen in Uniform"; LUCILE HADZIHALILOVIC, "Innocence"; LIZZIE BORDEN, "Working Girls"; MOUFIDA TLATLI, "Silences of the Palace"; DORIS DORRIE, "Men"; NINA MENKES, "Phantom Love"; ALBERTINA CARRI, "The Blonds"; MAI ZETTERLING, "The Girls"; APARNA SEN, "Mr. and Mrs. Iyer"; NAOMI KAWASE, "Suzaku"; LIU JIAYIN, "Oxhide"; KIRA MURATOVA, "The Asthenic Syndrome"; MAREN ADE, "Everyone Else"; MARZIEH MAKHMALBAFF, "The Day I Became a Woman"; SAMIRA MAKHMALBAFF, "The Apple"; SU FRIEDRICH, "Sink or Swim"; MARLEEN GORRIS, "Antonia's Line"; MARION HANSEL, "Dust"; MIWA NISHIKAWA, "Sway"; GERMAINE DULAC, "The Seashell and the Clergyman"; BODIL IPSEN, "Cafe Paradise"; DANA ROTBERG, "Angel of Fire"; YULENE OLAIZOLA, "Artificial Paradises"; ADELA SEQUEYRO, "Nobody's Wife"; LUCIA PUENZO, "xxy"; MARINA DE VAN, "In My Skin"; AGNES JAOUI, "The Taste of Others"; SO YONG KIM, "Treeless Mountain"; TRINH T. MINH-HA, "Reassemblage"

  • Peter Nellhaus | August 4, 2012 1:12 PM

    Great list. I hope it opens the eyes of a few people to look beyond Hollywood and the more obvious names. Of films not seen by you, but seen by me, I can vouch for "Sway", "XXY", "Treeless Mountain", "The Taste of Others", "The Girls", and "Innocence".

  • ralch | August 4, 2012 5:21 AM

    Forgot SUZANA AMARAL, "The Hour of the Star", and VALERIA SARMIENTO, "Amelia Lopes O'Neill", and MARIANA RONDON, "Postcards from Leningrad". There are countless more women directors, but gotta stop now.

  • Timothy Farrell | August 4, 2012 3:03 AMReply

    Beyond the massive oversight on the Sprecher Sisters, where are:
    Harlan County, USA (Barbara Kopple)
    Real Genius (Martha Coolidge)
    Lovely & Amazing plus various others (Nicole Holofcener)
    Slums of Beverly Hills (Tamara Jenkins)
    Personal Velocity (Rebecca Miller)
    Blue Car (Karen Moncrieff)
    Titus (Julie Taymor)
    Europa, Europa and some episodes of The Wire (Agnieszka Holland)
    Little Man Tate (Jodie Foster)
    The Virgin Suicides (Sofia Coppola)
    Earth, Fire, & Water trilogy (Deepa Mehta)
    ???

  • Timothy Farrell | August 4, 2012 2:30 AMReply

    The work of the Sprecher Sisters belongs not only on lists of films directed by women but on lists of great films. Some may think Clockwatchers is too light or full of whimsy, but 13 Conversations About One Thing is a singular achievement. No Sprecher Sisters = Fail!

  • Tom | August 6, 2012 9:44 AM

    I could not agree more with Timothy's comment on the work of the Sprecher Sisters !

  • Doc M | August 4, 2012 6:43 AM

    I'll second '13 Conversations'

  • Faerthurin | August 4, 2012 2:03 AMReply

    BARBRA STREISAND has to be #1 or at least #2... "Yentl" was a masterpiece of a movie (and her directorial debut at that). It took her a total of 14 years to get studios to agree, finance, give the green light and film "Yentl". In addition, she was a pioneer in that she was the first woman to direct, produce, star and co-write a major hollywood production: That is a lot of different hats to wear. She is also the first woman to receive the Best Director Golden Globe award and the first woman director to receive the AFI Life Achievement award. She is the 3rd woman nominated for a Directors Guild of America award. In addition, she made the brilliant "Prince of Tides" in 1991, which could arguably also be included on this list!
    Whether you like her or not, she has made some outstanding films and has broke through the glass ceiling and opened doors for the women directors today. But she was crucial in showing the world that nothing is impossible! She deserves to be acknowledged fully for the value of her work!

  • Julian Bishop | August 4, 2012 1:49 AMReply

    I think the only one which deserves to be in the top 10 of all time is Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will.

    Because of her associations, it would never be voted there. Still a fantastic film though

  • Michele De Angelis | August 4, 2012 2:55 AM

    you are soooo right Julian. Angelina Jolie. You guys gotta be f kiddin'...

  • Christianne Benedict | August 4, 2012 12:21 AMReply

    I'm paraphrasing Manohla Dargis here, but does being supportive of films made by women mean I have to say nice things about Nancy "Stop me before I kill again" Meyer? Fuck that.

  • Morgan Davies | August 4, 2012 12:14 AMReply

    Daisies, Fish Tank, The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, Beau travail, We Need to Talk About Kevin...

  • Andrea OL | August 3, 2012 11:58 PMReply

    Most of these movies are crap. The only three truly great female directors were Riefenstahl(for TRIUMPH and OLYMPIAD), Wertmuller(for 4 or 5 films, especially SEVEN BEAUTIES), and Bigelow(K-19 and HURT LOCKER). Another one worth mentioning is Liv Ullmann, who has made some very fine films from Bergman's scripts. Scheptiko might a fine film but died too young. Claire Denis is an interesting director, and Sofia Coppola's LOST IN TRANSLATION is a gem. Penny Marshall's BIG is also pretty good. But most of the films on the list are not even good.

    Who voted on this list? It goes to show why women fail in art. They are so much into groupthink. They are so politically correct that Riefenstalh is way down on the list and her OLYMPIAD isn't even mentioned.

  • Sean Baker | August 3, 2012 11:43 PMReply

    You need Shirley Clarke and Elaine May on there.

  • Catherine | August 3, 2012 11:06 PMReply

    Don't forget Daisies by Vera Chytilova. SO great.

  • GG | August 3, 2012 11:03 PMReply

    Olympia should be on there. That film set the standard for sports coverage today.

  • Peter Nellhaus | August 3, 2012 10:58 PMReply

    BTW, Ms. Thompson, feel free to browse through my blog. I'm not the most consistent guy on the internet, but I write more frequently about female filmmakers than several women I know. Google my name, and you'll find me.

  • David | August 3, 2012 10:55 PMReply

    How about Denys Arcand, for a bunch of film. "Jesus of Montreal," "The Barbarian Invasions," "The Decline of the American Empire". And what about "Romance," for Catherine Breillat. How about Anna Boden? You includen Bergman & Pulcini, her and Ryan Fleck have made some great films like "Half-Nelson" and "Sugar".

  • Doc M | August 4, 2012 12:35 AM

    Denys is a guy, although his 'Jesus' and 'Decline' are on my top 50 Canadian films.

  • Laura | August 3, 2012 10:52 PMReply

    Glad to see Allison Anders' "Gas Food Lodging" here, but what about her brilliant "Mi Vida Loca" too?

  • Peter Nellhaus | August 3, 2012 10:27 PMReply

    Considering the number of films she has made, and the awards given to her most recent film,"A Simple Life", Ann Hui should have rated much higher than Barbra Streisand. Missing are Naomi Kawase, Lucía Puenzo and Momoko Ando. A Hollywood hack is still a hack, no matter the gender.

  • Tiger | August 3, 2012 10:21 PMReply

    I would like to add another vote for:
    Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides

    and
    Catherine Hardwicke's Lords of Dogtown

    Ondi Timoner's We Live in Public

    Jill Sprecher's Thirteen Conversations About One Thing

    Zana Briski's Born Into Brothels

    and last but not least:
    Lynne Ramsay's Morvern Callar

  • David Baruffi | August 3, 2012 10:50 PM

    Agree on Catherine Hardwicke, but you picked the wrong film. Her best movie is "Thirteen"!

  • Doc M | August 3, 2012 10:15 PMReply

    Thanks for Anne Wheeler and the charming, 'Bye Bye, Blues' on page 2, but where is Pat Rozema's 'Mansfield Park'? And I agree, 'The Piano' for #1, but 'Bend It' should be ahead of Nair, and Riefenstahl's 'Olympia' should be ahead of 'Seven Beauties'.
    And please, Holly Dale for 'Blood and Donuts'.

  • Doc M | August 4, 2012 1:04 AM

    Ooh, worst female directors? Sure, Meyers, Coppola, Ullman come to mind, as do worst males: Spielberg, Tarantino, Bay.
    But I digress; best female directors only. And perhaps
    Best female screenwriters next: Nancy Dowd, SLAPSHOT; Anita Loos THE WOMEN; with Jane Murfin PRIDE AND PREJUDICE; Leigh Brackett THE BIG SLEEP [or Empire Strikes Back, if that's your thang];

  • Aaron | August 3, 2012 10:09 PMReply

    Seriously, you missed Alison Maclean - Jesus' Son

  • Zuri | August 3, 2012 10:42 PM

    I second Jesus' Son

  • @andrewburhoe | August 3, 2012 10:04 PMReply

    Excuse my ignorance please.

    But S & S' article listed older films from a generation that remembers more men then the present.

    Plus the list which you gave is spot on! But none of them were before 1980.

    And that is what angered me most about their list is that we know women have been directing way before that.

    Hopefully next time they actually ask female directors.

  • DS | August 3, 2012 9:27 PMReply

    Private Parts belongs on this list. Betty Thomas directs.
    And Ba-Ba-Booey to y'all.

  • Andrew | August 3, 2012 9:18 PMReply

    Alison Maclean - Jesus' Son

  • viktor | August 3, 2012 9:18 PMReply

    Great to see The Piano at #1, and especially good to see After The Wedding on such a list, when being danish myself. The Hurt Locker is a shitty film, just cut it out.

  • Jarrett Leahy | August 3, 2012 9:11 PMReply

    Lost in Translation should be #1 on that top 10, glad to see Winter's Bone.

  • Jack | August 6, 2012 2:28 PM

    i second this

  • martha hart | August 3, 2012 9:11 PMReply

    Gurinder Chadha - BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM

  • Bran Stark | August 3, 2012 9:11 PMReply

    Dude. How bout actually formatting this list? Ya know, like Sofia Coppola - Lost in Translation. Rather than Sofia Coppola Lost in Translation. I guess I should be grateful you actually put spaces between your words.

  • DJAHA | August 3, 2012 9:10 PMReply

    Over on Ebert's Facebook, there's a lot of love for
    Awakenings

  • Robert Blenheim | August 3, 2012 9:09 PMReply

    ...And how about Claire Denis' "White Material", a film which meant so much to this sensitive filmmaker by being set in the place of her childhood?

  • Julie | August 4, 2012 1:14 AM

    Yes, White Material is an excellent film, starring the wonderful Isabelle Huppert.

  • Alexander Baack | August 3, 2012 9:02 PMReply

    Darnell Martin - Cadillac Records
    Jennifer Yuh - Kung Fu Panda 2
    Elaine May - The Heartbreak Kid
    Agnieszka Holland - Europa, Europa
    Rebecca Miller - The Private Lives of Pippa Lee
    Catherine Hardwicke - Thirteen
    Karyn Kusama - Girlfight
    Betty Thomas - Private Parts

  • Robert Blenheim | August 3, 2012 8:58 PMReply

    Shame on the reviewer! Ida Lupino did NOT direct "On Dangerous Ground." That was Nicholas Ray, a man. Ida Lupino did direct a number of wonderful films of which the serial killer noir, "The Hitch-Hiker" may be the most famous (although "The Bigamist" is also very good).

  • Lisa1LinenLady | August 3, 2012 8:52 PMReply

    You mean "Bend Over Boyfriend" and "How to Fuck in High Heels" din't make the list?

  • Heidi | August 3, 2012 8:50 PMReply

    Lynne Shelton - Hump Day

  • Ross | August 3, 2012 8:50 PMReply

    I don't think Sleepless in Seattle should exist on this list but it is missing Floria Sigismondi

  • Heidi | August 3, 2012 8:47 PMReply

    Sue Brooks - Japanese Story, Isabel Coixet - The Secret Life of Words

  • Julie | August 4, 2012 1:17 AM

    Yes to Isabel Coixet--she is an excellent filmmaker (MY LIFE WITHOUT ME; SECRET LIFE OF WORDS; MAP OF THE SOUNDS OF TOKYO).

  • DJAHA | August 3, 2012 9:02 PM

    Yes to Japanese Story!

    also
    Trouble the Water (2008) Directors: Carl Deal & Tia Lessin

  • John Severa | August 3, 2012 8:47 PMReply

    Some others which are worthy of this list:

    Innocence (2004) - Lucile Hadzihalilovic
    The Virgin Suicides (1999) - Sofia Coppola
    Old Joy (2006) - Kelly Reichardt
    The Secret Garden (1993) - Agnieszka Holland

  • Robert Blenheim | August 3, 2012 9:06 PM

    I would recommend Agnieszka Holland's "In Darkness", the Oscar nominee of last year. To me, it's her finest film.

  • Edmund Yeo | August 3, 2012 8:46 PMReply

    I nominate SWAY by Miwa Nishigawa, ENDING NOTE by Mami Sunada, SHOJI AND TAKAO by Yoko Ide (a documentary that took the filmmaker 15 years to complete!), AN AUTUMN'S TALE by Mabel Cheung and MUKHSIN by Yasmin Ahmad.

  • Brian Hu | August 3, 2012 8:55 PM

    Yes for MUKHSIN! Yasmin Ahmad is a must.

  • Damon | August 3, 2012 8:45 PMReply

    Joanna Hogg and Lynne Ramsay are two fantastic British women directors.

  • Julie | August 4, 2012 1:19 AM

    Lynne Ramsay is fantastic--so innovative. It's a tossup for me between RATCATCHER; MOVERN CALLAR; and WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN.

  • Nanciann Horvath | August 3, 2012 8:44 PMReply

    Kathryn Bigelow is also a wonderful person making a difference every day!

  • Martin Heavisides | August 3, 2012 8:43 PMReply

    Oh, and I was forgetting: what about Temptations of a Monk by Clara Law?

  • Nonny | August 3, 2012 8:40 PMReply

    Adrienne Shelly - Waitress. Such a promising filmmaker!

  • Timothy Farrell | August 4, 2012 3:07 AM

    Adrienne Shelly should be on this list.

  • Robert Blenheim | August 3, 2012 9:00 PM

    I agree with Adrienne Shelly's "Waitress". A small masterpiece, and much more than a romantic comedy. A great gift this extraordinary woman left to the world.

  • Martin Heavisides | August 3, 2012 8:38 PMReply

    Swept Away by Lena[sic] Wertmuller? Why in Hell are you representing the director of Seven Beauties and The Seduction of Mimi by one of her weakest films? Where are Liliana Cavani (The Night Porter) and Vera Chytilova (Daisies, The Apple Game, Panel Story)? It seems like a pretty lame list to me.

  • Martin Heavisides | January 25, 2013 1:05 PM

    The four film makers I featured in
    http://www.movingpicturewrites.com/?stn=96433&pageno=91' Hot Flix from Chix
    all belong (without prejudice to other candidates) on any serious list of the best woman filmmakers.

  • Robert Blenheim | August 3, 2012 9:03 PM

    Martin is right. "Swept Away" is a real lightweight bit of fluff compared to "Seven Beauties" which is arguably Wertmuller's greatest film.

  • Martin Heavisides | August 3, 2012 8:42 PM

    I see Daisies appears on page 2. That's something I suppose, but it's ludicrous to make Daisies an Honourable mention if Yentl is in your top ten.

  • BEE | August 3, 2012 8:35 PMReply

    It's five years old and it's just for the US, but this is pretty comprehensive:
    http://www.tft.ucla.edu/mediascape/Spring07_InResponseToTheAFI.html

  • Carrie Rickey | August 3, 2012 8:35 PMReply

    The Blot and How Men Propose by Lois Weber, many titles by Alice Guy-Blache, Olympia by Leni Riefenstahl, Dance, Girl Dance by Dorothy Arzner, Wanda by Barbara Loden, Cleo from 5 to 7 and Vagabond by Agnes Varda, and about 1000 more....

  • Historikitty | August 3, 2012 8:34 PMReply

    Oops! Forgot two. Gurinder Chadha's "Bend It Like Beckham," and Amy Heckerling's "Fast Times At Ridgemont High."

  • Matthew Gordon Long | August 3, 2012 8:32 PMReply

    I can't believe Agnes Varda is such a distant a footnote on this list. The mother of la nouvelle vague!

    Cléo de 5 a 7
    Sans toit ni loi
    La Pointe Courte
    Happiness
    The Gleaners and I
    Daguerrotypes

  • Marian | August 3, 2012 9:51 PM

    Yep. The Gleaners & I. And Cheryl Dunye's Watermelon Woman.

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

Email Updates

Most "Liked"

  • Ron Howard Rocks Beatles Concert Tour ...
  • Trailers from Hell Spends 'A Night at ...
  • WATCH: Knightley, Rockwell and Moretz ...
  • WATCH: Academy Videos of 'Originals’ ...
  • Read an Interview Between Richard Linklater ...
  • First Reviews of Woody Allen's 'Magic ...
  • Best of the Week: Peter Biskind's New ...
  • Summer Box Office Freefall Continues ...
  • Academy Elects New Board of Governors: ...
  • Will Mark Romanek Follow Kubrick Into ...