10 Movies Directed by Women You Should Watch
I’m addicted to TED Talks. It’s a ritual; every morning I watch at least one. I watched this talk with Naomi McDougall Jones, an award-winning writer, actress, producer, and women-in-film activist based in New York.
“What we see in movies matters: it affects our hobbies, our career choices, our emotions and even our identities. Right now, we don’t see enough women on the screen or behind the camera — but waiting for Hollywood to grow a conscience isn’t going to fix the problem”, says Naomi McDougall Jones.
In case you’re wondering how this post relates to product management, I’d ask how is anything here not related! The PM role is about managing people and making sure that they’re doing their best. What we believe, watch and do has everything to do with who we are. If you believe that you as a PM should remove impediments and also bias, you should also watch, read, and speak with different people who have different points of view.
During the talk, Naomi McDougall explains how difficult is to be a woman in the movie industry — especially if you don’t want to play the “female character.” Naomi encourages everyone to watch more movies made by women.
[FEMALE] No dialogue. The character only needs to stand on a balcony, look forlorn, and walk back inside the house. Only partial nudity.
[SARAH] Brian’s love interest. Attractive, cute, and flirty. She is the ‘ideal girl’ and Brian’s prize through the entire film.
[MOM] A proper southern belle, who is making peace with the fact that her only purpose in life is to tend to her husband.
[ABBY] … Must be okay with a tastefully shot gang rape along with performing 19th century dance.
She talks about how the advertising and movie industries influence our lives. Naomi explains that women graduate from film school at the same rate as men (50%), but 95% of American movies are directed by men. Look at even the lowest-budget movies; women direct only 18% of them. You must be thinking, how about the independent movies? Voilá: women directed only 12% of those. At the studio level, women directed only 5% of all films. Weird, huh!?
I naturally look for movies directed by women, and I decided to share my favorites with you! If you’re interested in a list of female filmmakers, you can find them here. If you sign up for FilmStruck like me, you can also check those out here!
1 — Elena — by Petra Costa
Directed by Petra Costa. With Li An, Elena Andrade, Petra Costa. Elena, a young Brazilian woman, travels to New York…
Definitively a strong movie. I aim to watch it over and over again for quite some time. This movie is about a young Brazilian woman, Elena, who travels to NY with a dream to become a movie actress. Her sister, Petra, decides to come back to NY and follow her sister’s path and dreams. The movie takes place in the past and also the present, and quite often the sisters’ paths are similar and confusing.
2 — Abuse of weakness — by Catherine Breillat
Abuse of Weakness (2013)
Directed by Catherine Breillat. With Isabelle Huppert, Kool Shen, Laurence Ursino, Christophe Sermet. A…
I am obsessed with Catherine Breillat movies. Abuse of weakness is based on her own experiences with a debilitating stroke and an infamous man who took advantage of her condition. In the movie, a filmmaker, Maud Schoenberg, who suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, meets Vilko Piran and she asks him to be the star of her next film. The conman Vilko Piran agrees to be in her movie only if he gets to know her better.
3 — The heart of a dog — by Laurie Anderson
Heart of a Dog (2015)
Directed by Laurie Anderson. With Laurie Anderson, Archie, Jason Berg, Heung-Heung Chin. Multimedia artist Laurie…
It’s Laurie Anderson’s first movie in 30 years! I didn’t know her work and after this movie, I automatically became her fan. Heart of a Dog is an artistic movie that was made in a poem tone about life, death, Buddhism and her dog. I was really impressed by Lolabelle, Anderson’s artistic rat terrier who plays piano, paints and make sculptures. Unbelievable, huh!? Laurie Anderson did a concert for dogs in NY, you should check this out!
4 — An angel at my table — by Jane Campion
An Angel at My Table (1990)
Directed by Jane Campion. With Kerry Fox, Alexia Keogh, Karen Fergusson, Iris Churn. In 1920s and 1930s New Zealand…
Wow! Wow! Jane Campion is an Academy Award-winning filmmaker. An Angel at my Table is a true-life story movie of Janet Frame, New Zealand’s most distinguished author. Janet had a difficult childhood in poverty. She started to dream about becoming a writer after a poem exercise in school. Janet was diagnosticated with schizophrenia and received electroshocks during a long period of her life, but it never stopped her to dream about publishing books!
5 — Fat girl — by Catherine Breillat
Fat Girl (2001)
Directed by Catherine Breillat. With Anaïs Reboux, Roxane Mesquida, Libero De Rienzo, Arsinée Khanjian. Two sisters…
The movie is about Anaïs, a 12-year-old girl who struggles to gain confidence and accept herself as she is. She watches her older sister, Elena, and she tries to get her approval all the time. Her sister is 15-years-old and a role model for Anaïs. While Elena discovers her sexuality, she also doesn’t understand how she’s being manipulated by older men. What they both couldn’t imagine is the tragedy that will happen.
6 — Lady Bird — by Greta Gerwig
Lady Bird (2017)
Directed by Greta Gerwig. With Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges. In 2002, an artistically…
I think it is still in some movie theaters even today. This movie is about a teenager, Lady Bird, who has a turbulent relationship with her mother during her senior year in high school. They have an intense bond where Lady Bird fights against her mom all the time, but she doesn’t realize how exactly like her bold, opinionated and strong mom she is.
Currently in my watch list:
Olmo & the Seagull — by Lea Glob and Petra Costa
Olmo & the Seagull (2015)
Directed by Petra Costa, Lea Glob. With Olivia Corsini, Serge Nicolai, Pancho Garcia Aguirre, Shaghayegh Beheshti…
Imagine I’m Beautiful — by Meredith Edwards
Imagine I’m Beautiful (2014)
Directed by Meredith Edwards. With Naomi McDougall Jones, Katie Morrison, Jan Kutrzeba, Lucas Salvagno. After her…
Cleo from 5 to 7 — by Agnès Varda
Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Directed by Agnès Varda. With Corinne Marchand, Antoine Bourseiller, Dominique Davray, Dorothée Blanck. Cleo, a singer…
Je, tu, il elle — by Chantal Akerman
Je Tu Il Elle (1974)
For more than a month, eating only powered sugar, a woman tries to deal with a breakup: she paints her room twice…
Lost in Translation — by Sofia Coppola
Lost in Translation (2003) - IMDb
Won 1 Oscar. Another 97 wins & 128 nominations. See more awards " Cast overview, first billed only: Middle-aged…
Mississippi Masala — by Mira Nair
Mississippi Masala (1991) - IMDb
Directed by Mira Nair. With Denzel Washington, Sarita Choudhury, Roshan Seth, Sharmila Tagore. An Indian family is…
Boys Don’t Cry — by Kimberly Peirce
Boys Don't Cry (1999) - IMDb
Won 1 Oscar. Another 47 wins & 38 nominations. See more awards " Cast overview, first billed only: Based on actual…
Enough Said — by Nicole Holofcener
Enough Said (2013) - IMDb
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 8 wins & 37 nominations. See more awards " Cast overview, first billed only: A…
Girlhood — by Céline Sciamma
Girlhood (2014) - IMDb
Directed by Céline Sciamma. With Karidja Touré, Assa Sylla, Lindsay Karamoh, Mariétou Touré. A girl with few real…
How about you? Share your favorite movie direct by women with me!
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