Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Tribeca Film Festival Matches George Lucas with Stephen Colbert: “I’m gonna tear you a new one, George" Tribeca Film Festival Matches George Lucas with Stephen Colbert: “I’m gonna tear you a new one, George" 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work The Eerie Connection Between 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and 'Tomorrowland' The Eerie Connection Between 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and 'Tomorrowland' Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

Best Films Directed by Women, Reaching Consensus

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 3, 2012 at 4:06PM

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.
116
Kathryn Bigelow
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.)

Ten Questions for Bright Star's Jane Campion: "I've Never Made a Crap Film"

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

This article is related to: Women in Film


E-Mail Updates