What Are the Greatest Movies Directed by Women?

Features
by Melissa Silverstein
August 3, 2012 12:00 PM
88 Comments
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Jane Campion
Fueled by the anger of another best of list sorely lacking in women, I would like to put forward the following films (which came from people all over the world through twitter and facebook) for the distinction of the best or greatest films directed by women. 

Here are the nominees (and remember this is unscientific and like all lists means nothing except for the fact that people are fucking list happy so we might as well get women in on the action.)

Also- I am not taking every nominee that came in.  I am using a bit of discretion here so that we can come up with a top 10 or 20.

So vote for your top five in the comments, on twitter or on Facebook.  Also, feel free to add anyone I may have forgotten.

Here they are:

Chantal Ackerman- Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

Allison Anders - Gas, Food, Lodging

Gillian Armstrong - My Brilliant Career

Gillian Armstrong - High Tide

Andrea Arnold- Fish Tank

Dorothy Arzner - Dance, Girl, Dance

Susanne Bier - After the Wedding

Kathryn Bigelow- The Hurt Locker

Antonia Bird - Priest

Catherine Breillat - Fat Girl

Jane Campion- The Piano

Jane Campion- Sweetie

Nike Caro- Whale Rider

Lisa Cholodenko - The Kids Are All Right

Sofia Coppola - Lost in Translation

Claire Denis - 35 Shots of Rum

Marleen Gorris - Antonia's Line

Debra Granik- Winter's Bone

Randa Haines - Children of a Lesser God

Mary Harron - American Psycho

Amy Heckerling - Clueless

Amy Heckerling - Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Agnieszka Holland - Europa, Europa

Nicole Holofcener - Walking and Talking

Courtney Hunt - Frozen River

Annamarie Jacir - Salt of the Sea

Patty Jenkins - Monster

Miranda July - Me and You an Everyone We Know

Kasi Lemmons- Eve's Bayou

Barbara Loden - Wanda

Ida Lupino - The Trouble with Angels

Lucretia Martel - The Holy Girl

Elaine May - The Heartbreak Kid

Deepa Mehta - Water

Mira Nair- Monsoon Wedding

Kimberly Peirce- Boys Don't Cry

Sarah Polley - Away From Her

Sally Potter - Orlando

Lynne Ramsay - We Need to Talk About Kevin

Kelly Reichardt- Meek's Cutoff

Celine Sciamma - Tomboy

Joan Micklin Silver - Hester Street

Barbra Streisand - Yentl

Julie Taymor - Frida

Agnes Varda - Cleo from 5 to 7

Agnes Varda - Vagabond

Lina Wertmuller - Seven Beauties

Lina Wertmuller- Swept Away

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88 Comments

  • Parkino | August 28, 2012 10:18 AMReply

    In fact, Chantal Ackerman's 'Jeanne Dielman' is well inside the top fifty of the bfi's Greatest Films.
    (There's also 'Beau Travail' by Claire Denis at 78, Maya Deren at 102, Vera Chytilová at 202, also at 202 is Agnes Varda's 'Cleo from 5 to 7, and finally 'Wanda' by Barbara Loden, 'The Piano' and 'The House is Black' at 235.)

  • JayV | August 24, 2012 4:53 AMReply

    Oh, dear. Some great films on this list, some not so great, and some that are little more than moderate. There's a very, very strong argument to be made for 'Jeanne Dielman' to feature fairly high on a list of the greatest films.

  • Charity Parenzini | August 21, 2012 10:20 PMReply

    Um... you say Clueless and yet not ONE Nora Ephron film? Seriously. IS it because she was smart enough to also write the scripts?

  • Xiao | August 21, 2012 12:05 PMReply

    PERSEPOLIS is only the best animated feature ever made...

  • Lillian | August 21, 2012 11:22 AMReply

    These are female-directed films that I loved in no particular order.: heart, thinky thoughts and lizard brain combined. There are a lot of comedies - which is the hardest form to nail and therefore outrank dramas for me, most of the time: Gas Food and Lodging, Desperately Seeking Susan, The Piano, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Mamma Mia, Waitress, Strange Days, Wayne's World, Point Break, Eve's Bayou, Mi Vida Loca, But I'm a Cheerleader, Bhaji on the Beach, Face, Une vieille maîtresse, Orlando, Wuthering Heights (Arnold), Jennifer's Body, Persepolis, Dogfight, Love and Basketball, Home for the Holidays, Walking and Talking . And this year, possibly the funniest film ever: 2 Days in New York.

  • Karoline | August 21, 2012 4:49 AMReply

    I would like to add: Lourdes - Jessica Hausner (2009), Red Road - Andrea Arnold (2006), Innocence - Lucile Hadzihalilovic (2004), Mikey and Nicky - Elaine May (1976), Winter's Bone - Debra Granik (20120).

  • X | August 20, 2012 10:57 AMReply

    1. FORUGH FARROKHZAD - THE HOUSE IS BLACK (1962, the first notable Iranian new wave film by anyone, three and a half decades before Abbas Kiarostami won the top prize at Cannes, half a century before Asghar Farhadi won an Oscar for A Separation)
    2. AGNES VARDA - LA POINTE COURTE (1954, the first notable French new wave feature by anyone, six years before Francois Truffaut's and Jean-luc Godard's first movies)
    3. CHANTAL AKERMAN - JE TU IL ELLE (1974, the first notable minimalist narrative feature film by anyone, fifteen years before Michael Haneke made his debut in cinema, 20 years before Tsai won Venice, 25 years before the Dardennes won Cannes, 29 years before Van Sant did)
    4. MAYA DEREN - MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON (1943, the original and most influential American independent avant garde film ever made by anyone male or female or trans or whatever)
    5. LIU JIAYIN - OXHIDE (2004, the most innovative and heartfelt 21st century film made by anyone of any sex or nationality, a key influence in the Chinese digital indie movement that eviscerates the dishonest hack work coming out of either Hollywood or the Chinese industry)

  • Adriana Shaw | August 19, 2012 10:38 PMReply

    Thanks for this. Did I miss Nora Ephron - SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, Susan Seidelman for DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN & Aussie Nadia Tass, who American Cinemateque gave a retrospective last week for MALCOLM & AMY. Also Gurinder Chadha for BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM
    New York Women In Film & TV did a poll pre THE HURT LOCKER & THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (English speaking only) Results:
    #1) Jane Campion THE PIANO . Others in Top 10
    Penny Marshall -BIG
    Mira Nair - MONSOON WEDDING
    Gillian Armstrong - MY BRILLIANT CAREER
    Kimberly Peirce - BOYS DON'T CRY
    Susan Seidelman - DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN
    Nora Ephron - SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE
    Sofia Coppola - LOST IN TRANSLATION
    Niki Caro - WHALE RIDER
    Gurinder Chadha - BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM

    I also like Nancy Meyers whose directed 3 major Hollywood films.

  • DeeDee Halleck | August 18, 2012 11:25 PMReply

    Shirley Clarke - The Cool World
    Lucrecia Martel - La Cienega (the Swamp)
    Sara Gomez - De Cierta Manera (One Way or Another)
    Maria Luisa Bemberg - Yo La Peor de Todos (I, the Worst of All) and also De Eso No Se Habla (I Don't Want to Talk about It)
    Euzhan Palcy, Sugar Cane Alley
    Suzanna Amaral (there is an "L" at the end of her last name, Dennis.) Her film based on a Lispector novel, Hour of the Stars is indeed a great film.

  • Dennis Doros | August 18, 2012 6:15 PMReply

    Lois Weber's SUSPENSE and SHOES, Esther Shub's FALL OF THE ROMANOV DYNASTY, Lotte Reiniger's THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED and PAGAGENO, Caroline Leaf's THE STREET, Mary Ellen Bute's animation, Shirley Clarke's PORTRAIT OF JASON and THE CONNECTION, Jane Campion's short films and TWO FRIENDS, Susan Pitt's ASPARAGUS, Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis' WHEN THE DAY BREAKS, Maya Deren's MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON, Kathleen Collin's LOSING GROUND, Věra Chytilová's DAISIES, Suzanna Amara's HOUR OF THE STARS, Margot Benaceraf's ARAYA, and quite a few more...

  • bibi | August 18, 2012 4:34 AMReply

    what about Samira Makhmalbaf's "Apple"?

  • CineFile (Kyle Wells) | August 17, 2012 7:49 PMReply

    While it would be wonderful to have more female directed movies on the Sight & Sound list, most of the selections offered up here just don't have that canonical status that the list celebrates.

    Yet.

    I don't think the lack of female directed films on Sight & Sound's list is reflective of a bias towards male directed movies, nor a slight on the quality of films directed by women. It shows, rather, just how limited the opportunities for female directors have been in the history of cinema.

    That is truly and shame and thankfully the trend is reversing, even if slowly and with a lot of fighting left to go.

    But this list is meant to pick the greatest films ever made, and I believe it is doing just that. You may disagree with some of the choices or order, I certainly do, but I think the general system for assembling the list is fair and unbiased. I wrote a list myself for my blog and although I picked Barbra Kopple's "Harlan County USA" as my almost-made-it number 12 choice I did so because it is a worthy film, not just because it is directed by a woman.

    And my top ten I picked because they are worthy films, not just because they are directed by men.

    I would submit that likely those who voted in the S&S pole took the same approach.

    One thing that is encouraging is that the vast majority of films listed here are modern, showing that female directors are becoming more common and are putting out high quality work. Perhaps down the line, 50 years or so from now, movies directed by women will be common place on canonical lists like Sight & Sound's. How great would that be?

    Thank you.

  • CineFile (Kyle Wells) | August 17, 2012 8:06 PM

    Oh, and, #1) Harlan County USA (Barbra Kopple), #2) Me and You and Everyone We Know (Miranda July), #3) The Night Porter (Liliana Cavani), #4) Swept Away... (Lina Wertmuller) and #5) Somewhere (Sofia Coppola). With a shout out to Friends With Money (Nicole Holofcener)

  • PF | August 17, 2012 5:40 PMReply

    Lisa Cholodenko's "High Art" should be on the list, as well as Jennie Livingston's "Paris is Burning", "Ratcatcher" by Lynne Ramsay and Rose Troche's "Go Fish".

  • Jennifer Merin | August 17, 2012 4:05 PMReply

    You might also reference the Alliance of Women Film Journalists' Top 100 Films List, compiled in 2007 in response to AFI's tenth anniversary Top 100 Films list, which included 4.5 films directed by women. You'll find AWFJ's list here:
    http://awfj.org/2007/06/25/awfjs-top-100-films-list/

  • Peggy Luhrs | August 17, 2012 10:23 AMReply

    Mai Zetterling The Girls
    Margarethe von Trotta Marianne and Julianne, Rosa Luxembourg

  • Nic | August 10, 2012 6:54 PMReply

    Some more ideas:

    Lotte Reiniger - The Adventures of Prince Achmed
    Leontine Sagan- Girls in Uniform
    Margarethe von Trotta (with Volker Schlöndorff) - The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum
    Julie Dash - Illusions

  • lvflg | August 10, 2012 5:34 PMReply

    Daughters of the Dust - Julia Dash [included in the National Film Registry]

  • Leni Riefenstahl | August 10, 2012 4:26 PMReply

    Vat, nein Triumph dez Villens?! Mein gott!

  • Madeline Moss | August 9, 2012 2:28 AMReply

    After the Wedding was wonderful. And so was Whale Rider. And Bend it Like Beckham. Then, My Brilliant Career and Salt of that Sea.

  • Adina S. | August 8, 2012 11:38 AMReply

    Take this Waltz- Sarah Polley

    My life without me; The Secret life of words- Isabel Coixet

  • Jaja | August 8, 2012 5:17 AMReply

    Wendy and Lucy by Kelly Reichardt is one of my favourites.

  • bernadette quigley | August 7, 2012 11:24 PMReply

    1) My Brilliant Career -- Gillian Armstrong ; 2) Away From Her -- Sarah Polley; 3)The Piano -- Jane Campion; 4) Winter's Bone -- Debra Granike; 5) Clueless -- Amy Heckerling (& 5 more):Dee Rees (Pariah); Kathryn Bigelow (Hurt Locker); Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don't Cry); Diane Kurys (Entre Nous); Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right). And women documentary filmmakers extraordinaire: Susan Muska & Gréta Olafsdóttir & Ricki Stern, Anne Sundberg

  • Mara Lesemann | August 7, 2012 10:26 PMReply

    These are simply the ones that I (subjectively) like best:
    1. Lost in Translation 2. Away From Her 3. Hurt Locker 4. American Psycho 5. The Kids Are Alright

  • Kim Cummings | August 7, 2012 10:13 PMReply

    Oooh, only 5? I'll give it a shot.
    1) Jane Campion - The Piano
    2) Amy Heckerling - Fast Times at Ridgemont High
    3) Agnes Varda - Vagabond
    4) Agnieszka Holland - Europa, Europa
    5) Sally Potter - Orlando

  • Rebecca | August 7, 2012 7:25 PMReply

    Water Deepa Metha and Kimberly Peirce- Boys Don't Cry are my two favorites <3 <3

  • Matt Mazur | August 7, 2012 7:14 PMReply

    #1 - Dorothy Arzner - Dance, Girl, Dance

    #2 - Jane Campion- The Piano

    #3 - Kasi Lemmons- Eve's Bayou (underrated on every level, I think)

    #4 - Barbara Loden - Wanda

    #5 - Agnes Varda - Vagabond

    Runners Up: Debra Granik - Winter's Bone, Courtney Hunt - Frozen River, Sally Potter - Orlando, Lina Wertmuller - Seven Beauties

  • Kristina | August 7, 2012 6:00 PMReply

    Jane Campion- The Piano, Lisa Cholodenko - The Kids Are All Right, Mary Harron - American Psycho, Kathryn Bigelow- Near Dark, Nikki Caro- Whale Rider,

    and one of my favourite ever films, that was forgotten, the incredible film starring Samantha Morton: Lynne Ramsay - Morven Callar

  • Alexandra | August 7, 2012 5:58 PMReply

    How could Nora Ephron not be here!! She should be on the list for Julie and Julia! love that movie, she both co-wrote and directed it

  • Meaghan | August 7, 2012 4:05 PMReply

    "Priest", "Lost in Translation", "Winter's Bone", "Frida", and "Clueless" are some of my favorite films of all time, so I have to vote for them.

  • Morgane | August 7, 2012 3:57 PMReply

    Nadine Labaki, Et maintenant on va où?
    Nadine Labaki, Caramel

  • Lsnoes | August 7, 2012 3:33 PMReply

    "Bastard Out of Carolina" Anjelica Houston

  • BANTA | August 6, 2012 10:48 PMReply

    "Sugar Cane Alley," Euzhan Palcy - Kasi Lemmons, "Eve's Bayou" - Ava Duvernay, 'Middle of Nowhere" - Victoria Mahoney, "Yelling to the Sky and that fact that Julie Dash's seminal 'Daughters of the Dust" isn't here is unbelievable.

  • Erin | August 6, 2012 9:15 PMReply

    I'd also like to see these films on this list: "Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi, "Pariah" by Dee Rees, & "Sita Sings the Blues" by Nina Paley.

  • Carrie | August 6, 2012 8:53 PMReply

    I'd kinda like to see Nora Ephron on this list for Sleepless in Seattle!

  • Grace Rutledge | August 6, 2012 8:25 PMReply

    "Sugar Cane Alley," Euzhan Palcy
    "The Trouble With Angels," Ida Lupino
    "A Dry White Season," Euzhan Palcy
    "The Hurt Locker," Katherine Bigelow
    "Lost in Translation," Sofia Coppola

  • Grace Rutledge | August 6, 2012 8:18 PMReply

    "Sweetie," Jane Campion
    "Eve's Bayou," Kasi Lemmon
    "Swept Away," Lina Wertmuller
    "Boys Don't Cry," Kimberly Peirce
    "Frida," Julie Taymor

  • Vanessa | August 6, 2012 6:56 PMReply

    Sadly this list is limited by not only design but access really. Aside, greatest films is far too relative. Whale Rider, Piano, Fast Times are among some of my all time favorites. Sad not to see other Campion/Metha/Nair /Cholodenko options, also Julie Delpy's 2 Days in Paris is perfection and Dee Rees' Paraiah is a revelation. Also limited is the preservation of early films directed by the first woman inducted into the Director's Guild, Dorthy Arzner of the 30's. Did you know Ida Lupino directed during her career? A great link to paruse more women directors! :)

  • Rachel Rose | August 6, 2012 5:36 PMReply

    A great film that is not on the list: Diane Kurys' (1983) "Coup de foudre" [American title "Entre Nous"] - starring Isabelle Huppert and Miou-Miou. I loved it.

  • Nathan Wardinski | August 6, 2012 3:31 PMReply

    Lists of the great movies (and I mean ‘Citizen Kane’ or ‘Vertigo’ levels of greatness) don’t usually feature films directed by women because very few women have made pictures of that caliber. That is a direct result of so few women in directing jobs. If you want more gender equity in these lists, women have to make great movies, and that starts by getting more women into the director’s chair.

    Picks from your list:
    Jane Campion - The Piano
    Kimberly Peirce - Boys Don't Cry
    Julie Taymor - Frida

    Other picks:
    Lizzie Borden - Born in Flames
    Leni Riefenstahl - Olympia

  • audiodramatist | August 6, 2012 11:54 AMReply

    I'm sure i just ran through the list really fast and missed Euzhan Palcy's Sugar Cane Alley.
    No other explanation is possible for the First Black Woman to...etc...etc...and so forth, and so on...

  • Roberta Hoekstra | August 6, 2012 11:06 AMReply

    My nominees for top female director:
    Julie Taymor
    Mira Nair
    Jane Campion
    Andrea Arnold
    Lina Wertmueller,

  • Melissa M. Wilson | August 6, 2012 7:16 AMReply

    Please add Rachel Ward's "Beautiful Kate" a gem of a film.

  • Ana | August 6, 2012 3:22 AMReply

    Sofia Coppola - Lost in Translation
    Mary Harron - American Psycho
    Celine Sciamma - Tomboy
    Lucretia Martel - The Holy Girl
    Miranda July - Me and You an Everyone We Know

  • Carla Zoogman | August 5, 2012 4:45 AMReply

    Another great one: MOSTLY MARTHA directed by Sandra Nettelbeck and starring Martina Gedeck (of The Lives of Others fame) and Sergio Castellito

  • Mara Lesemann | August 7, 2012 10:28 PM

    I love Mostly Martha

  • D. Lee | August 4, 2012 9:20 PMReply

    1. Andrea Arnold - Fish Tank
    2. Sofia Coppola - Lost in Translation, Somewhere, Marie Antoinette
    3. Debra Granik - Winter's Bone
    4. Kathryn Bigelow - Hurt Locker
    5. Lisa Cholodenko - The Kids Are All Right

  • C. K. Kelly Martin | August 4, 2012 9:04 PMReply

    My Brilliant Career (Gillian Armstrong)
    Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola)
    Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Amy Heckerling)
    Water (Deepa Mehta)
    Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold)

  • Matthew Cheney | August 4, 2012 8:11 PMReply

    Any such list really ought to have Larisa Shepitko's The Ascent. An absolute masterpiece by just about any criteria.

  • KES | August 4, 2012 5:58 PMReply

    To add to the list of films directed by women that are worth watching (in no particular order), I'd add to others' suggestions:

    Cauleen Smith's _Drylongso_, Isobel Coixet's _My Life Without Me_, Ruba Nadda's _Sabah_, Nancy Meckler's _Sister, My Sister_, Darnell Martin's _I Like it Like That_, Leslie Harris' _Just Another Girl on the IRT_, Marina de Van's _In My Skin_, Holofcener's _Lovely and Amazing_, Adrienne Shelley's _Waitress_, Rose Troche's _Go Fish_, Keren Yedaya's _Or, My Treasure_, Raja Amara's _Satin Rouge_, Patricia Cardosa's _Real Women Have Curves_, Jae-eun Jong's _Take Care of My Cat_, Lupino's _Not Wanted_ (she's usually not credited as the director, but it's an open secret that she took over from Elmer Clifton), Lone Scherfig's _An Education_, Savoca's _Dogfight_, Anne-Sophie Birot's _Girls Can't Swim_, So-Yun Kim's _Treeless Mountain_, Karyn Kusama's _Girlfight_, and Sandra Goldbacher's _The Governess_, in all its melodramatic glory. And, as much as I love _Dance, Girl, Dance_, I am also fond of _Christopher Strong_ with Katherine Hepburn as an aviatrix in a gold lamé moth costume.

    Whew! thanks for the list.

  • loquaciousmuse | August 4, 2012 3:16 PMReply

    Clueless, eves bayou, the kids are all right, we need to talk about Kevin, monsoon wedding

  • KJC | August 4, 2012 3:06 PMReply

    1. Lost In Translation - Sofia Coppola
    2. Winter's Bone- Debra Granik
    3. Clueless- Amy Heckerling
    4. Monster- Patty Jenkins
    5. American Psycho- Mary Harron

  • Guest | August 4, 2012 2:04 PMReply

    Angelina Jolie's "In the Land of Blood and Honey" should be up there. That film is fantastic and doesn't pull a single punch.

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  • Destri | August 4, 2012 12:47 PMReply

    It's so hard to choose! And, sadly, I haven't seen all of them, so I'd like to add a new favorite of mine: Claudia Weill's Girlfriends (1978). And don't forget Lizzie Borden's Working Girls (1986). Both are important films of their time about women's lives that still hold up. On a related note, I've been tracking (mostly current) women feature directors on my Pinterest board http://bit.ly/QBBqnd because I'm tired of hearing that there aren't that many women interested in directing. I'm up to 210 and have many, many more to add!

  • mickche | August 4, 2012 11:15 AMReply

    1. Water
    2. Cleo from 5 to 7
    3. Monsoon Wedding
    4. My Brilliant Career
    5. The Piano
    HM: Orlando

  • Ana Tiwary | August 4, 2012 10:38 AMReply

    1) The Piano - Jane Campion
    2) Boys don't Cry - Kimberly Peirce
    3) Rudaali - Kalpana Lajmi
    4) Earth - Deepa Mehta
    5) Bend it Like Beckham - Gurinder Chaddha
    5)

  • Bebe | August 4, 2012 10:36 AMReply

    Gosh, so many. I think many of the films on your list are brilliant and overdue for praise, such as Monster, Winter's Bone, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Fast Times, Hurt Locker, The Piano, etc. Here are a few more that should be up there Near Dark (Kathryn Bigelow), Strange Days (Bigelow again), An Angel at my Table (Jane Campion), American Psycho (Mary Harron), The Secret Garden (Agnieska Holland), Ravenous (Antonia Bird), A League of Their Own (Penny Marshall), In the Land of Blood and Honey (Angelina Jolie), Clueless (Amy Heckerling).

  • Carla Zoogman | August 4, 2012 9:52 AMReply

    Tops for me are NOWHERE IN AFRICA by Caroline Link and THE NAMESAKE by Mira Nair. Bravo for AFTER THE WEDDING by Susanne Bier.

  • Stephanie | August 4, 2012 6:59 AMReply

    Without a doubt - HIGH TIDE by Gillian Armstrong.

  • Stephanie | August 4, 2012 7:04 AM

    Sorry comment sent before I could finish. 2) Winter's Bone 3)Eve's Bayou, 4) Away From Her and 5) Frozen River.

  • ralch | August 4, 2012 6:11 AMReply

    Well, my top 20 would be something like this:
    The House Is Black (Farrokhzad), La cienaga & The Headless Woman (Martel), Les Rendez-vous d'Anna & Jeanne Dielman (Akerman), Araya (Benacerraf), The Piano & An Angel at My Table (Campion), Jakub (Sevciková), Household Saints (Savoca), Paris Is Burning (Livingston), Thank You and Good Night (Oxenberg), The Intruder (Denis), Jacquot de Nantes (Varda), Meshes of the Afternoon & Ritual in Transfigured Time (Deren), Sugar Cane Alley (Palcy), The Milk of Sorrow (Llosa), Song of the Exile (Hui), The Invisible Frame (Beatt)

  • ralch | August 4, 2012 7:17 AM

    Oh, top 5! Well... 1. The House Is Black, 2. La cienaga, 3. Les Rendez-vous d'Anna, 4. Jakub, 5. Ritual in Transfigured Time. This is brutal.

  • anon | August 4, 2012 5:53 AMReply

    I am going to be bookmarking this page as a list of movies I need to watch - thanks! Wish I had watched more before picking out my 5.

    Orlando, Winter's Bone, The Piano, Frida, Yentl.

  • tony paley | August 4, 2012 4:52 AMReply

    So glad you have Barbara Loden's Wanda in there which had a screening at last year's London Film Festiva; http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2011/oct/17/london-film-festival-wanda-loden

  • Andrew Bemis | August 4, 2012 3:39 AMReply

    American Psycho, Lost in Translation, The Piano, Boys Don't Cry and The Kids Are All Right. Alternate movies by directors listed here that would fill out my top ten: Near Dark; Je, tu, il, elle; Titus; Romance; Ravenous.

  • Karyl Miller | August 3, 2012 11:38 PMReply

    Great list! I can't argue with any of the choices.

  • Catherine | August 3, 2012 11:20 PMReply

    Don't forget the films of Vera Chytilova and Leni Riefenstahl

  • Alexis | August 3, 2012 10:16 PMReply

    Penny Marshall A Leauge of their Own!

  • delirious | August 3, 2012 8:35 PMReply

    Harland County USA, Barbara Kopple

  • Susie | August 3, 2012 8:30 PMReply

    1. Ida Lupino - The Trouble with Angels
    2. Elaine May - The Heartbreak Kid
    3. Agnieszka Holland - Europa, Europa
    4. Debra Granik- Winter's Bone
    5. Jane Campion- The Piano

  • Charles | August 3, 2012 7:13 PMReply

    I haven't seen most of the movies above so my vote is skewed but here it is: 1. Dance, Girl, Dance 2. Fast Times at Ridgemont High 3. Lost in Translation 4. American Psycho 5. Cleo from 5 to 7

    I'd like to echo the mentions of Alice Guy-Blache's Falling Leaves and Leni Riefenstah (Olympia) and here are a few other remarkable films from women for your consideration.

    Half Baked - Tamra Davis
    Stephanie Daley - Stephanie Brougher
    the Dead Girl - Karen Moncrief
    I prefer High Art to the Kids Are All Right from Lisa Cholodenko
    Harland County, USA - Barbara Kopple
    and the 2007 Oscar winner for best animated short film the Danish Poet - Torill Kove

  • SOAN | August 3, 2012 5:25 PMReply

    My choices are for the most part chosen from the things I have seen, with the only films that were excluded from the list being Vagabond (barely), American Psycho and Whale Rider.

    1. Fish Tank - Andrea Arnold
    2. Lost in Translation - Sofia Coppola
    3. Cleo from 5 to 7 - Agnes Varda
    4. The Hurt Locker - Kathyrn Bigelow
    5. Winter's Bone - Debra Granik

    I would have liked to see Lena Dunham's "Tiny Furniture" here (but I understand this list is already packed with a ton of contemporary films). And a concession to Leni Riefenstahl (not her propaganda, of course) would have given a more historically thorough list, but I understand why one would omit her.

  • jo mack | August 3, 2012 4:28 PMReply

    1/"Somersault" Cate Shortland (It's not on the list but it really should be!)
    1/"A Brand New Life": Ounie Lecomte (Another masterpeice that isnt there..?)
    2/"Ratcatcher"
    3/ "Whalerider"
    4/ "Fishtank"
    5/ "Open Hearts" s.bier

    others i think deserve to be on the list
    "sherrybaby" Laurie Collyer
    "north country" n.caro
    "polisse" maiween
    "desperatly seeking susan" S. Seidelman

  • Kristen | August 3, 2012 4:19 PMReply

    You've left off some of the great silent movies directed by women, including:
    Alice Guy-Blache (Falling Leaves, 1912)
    Lois Weber (Hypocrites, 1915; Where Are My Children, 1916; The Blot, 1921)
    Germaine Dulac (The Smiling Madame Beudet, 1923; The Seashell and the Clergyman, 1928)
    Elvira Notari (A Piedigotta, 1920; 'Nfama, 1924)
    Mabel Normand (Mabel's Strange Predicament, 1914; Caught in a Cabaret, 1914)
    Nell Shipman (The Girl From God's Country, 1921; Back to God's Country, 1919)

  • Ted | August 3, 2012 4:10 PMReply

    Of those nominees listed, my answers would be, in no particular order and no duplicate directors: Jeanne Dielman (Akerman), Vagabond (Varda), Fish Tank (Arnold), My Brilliant Career (Armstrong), 35 Shots of Rum (Denis). "Fat Girl" or "Winter's Bone" could easily substitute for "Fish Tank." If I were making this list with my all films directed by women, it would probably be: Jeanne Dielman (Akerman), Vagabond (Varda), Daisies (Chytilova), White Material (Denis), Sink or Swim (Friedrich).

  • Aly | August 3, 2012 4:08 PMReply

    Antonia's Line, for sure!

  • Abigail Tarttelin | August 3, 2012 3:47 PMReply

    In alphabetical order:

    Debra Granik- Winter's Bone
    Amy Heckerling - Clueless
    Celine Sciamma - Tomboy

    So glad to see Tomboy in there.

  • Janet | August 3, 2012 3:39 PMReply

    Big, penny marshalll

  • Lenny | August 3, 2012 3:22 PMReply

    Please add Nora Ephron's When Harry Met Sally.

  • G Breen | August 3, 2012 5:17 PM

    Nora Ephron didnt director When Harry Met Sally! Rob Riener did..

  • Luis | August 3, 2012 2:34 PMReply

    1. Lost in Translation
    2. La Cienaga
    3. Cleo From 5 To 7
    4. Ratcatcher
    5. Beau Travail

  • Julian | August 3, 2012 2:22 PMReply

    American Psycho

  • Bondo | August 3, 2012 2:22 PMReply

    My Top 5: The Woodsman, Fish Tank, Innocence (2004), A Time For Burning, Bend It Like Beckham

  • Heather McLendon | August 3, 2012 1:55 PMReply

    1. Fish Tank 2. Lost in Translation 3. Winter's Bone 4. The Kids Are All Right 5. Orlando

  • Emma Farley | August 3, 2012 1:25 PMReply

    In no particular order: Away From Her, Boys Don't Cry, Winter's Bone, The Hurt Locker and The Virgin Suicides

  • Devin McCullen | August 3, 2012 1:14 PMReply

    I feel a bit guilty for choosing mostly recent ones, but those are what I've seen.

    Boys Don't Cry
    The Hurt Locker
    Winter's Bone
    Fish Tank
    Misseu Hongdangmu (Crush & Blush) by Kyoung-mi Lee http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1173949/

  • Forrest Cardamenis | August 3, 2012 1:13 PMReply

    I think The Gleaners And I, one of the finest documentaries of all time, man or woman, should be there. And I think many would argue that Meek's Cutoff is Reichardt's second best film, to Wendy and Lucy.

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