International Women-Directed Films at the 2017 London Feminist Film Festival

Talk Back Out Loud

The London Feminist Film Festival is all about “celebrating international feminist films past and present.” It “will provide a safe space to explore, celebrate, organise, and inspire.” Now in its fifth year, the festival will run from August 17-20.

Stanley Tucci’s ‘Final Portrait’: What about the Women?

Final Portrait

‘Final Portrait’ is entertaining, fun in parts, silly, and a bit melancholy. It is also deeply, inescapably misogynist, so lost in being impressed with male genius that it forgets that women are even human. Giacometti, it is suggested, hates women. And yet, by never properly addressing his hatred and his fear, so, it seems, does this film.

‘Queen of Katwe’ Is a Gorgeous, Inspiring Look at a Young Black Life Fully Realized

Queen of Katwe

But at its core lies a story of redemption, cultural pride, feminism, and economics — elements of a young life contending with extraordinary challenges. … ‘Queen of Katwe’ is a mesmerizing story of a life fully realized, a life that’s often overlooked and not given a chance. Its young cast, led by Nalwanga’s nuanced performance, help illuminate layers of humanity resting deep in the “slums” of Uganda, exhibiting talent well beyond their years.

Alienated Women: The Terror in Mica Levi’s Scores for ‘Under the Skin’ and ‘Jackie’

Under the Skin and Jackie

Jackie’s deeply emotional outbursts may stand in stark contrast to the alien’s lack of empathy, but both women share a troubling alienation from the people around them. Mica Levi’s scores make this alienation audible, the grim discomfort of her music allowing the audience to feel, even for 90 minutes, the terror of such a solitude.

The Unvoiced Indigenous Feminism of ‘Frida’


Frida Kahlo’s sense of kyriarchy, in which the tension between Indigenous culture and European imperialism is a core aspect of her multi-faceted narratives of oppression and resistance, is simplified in Julie Taymor’s film ‘Frida’ towards a more Euro-American feminism, focused on Kahlo’s struggle for artistic recognition and romantic fulfillment as a woman, to the exclusion of her ethnic struggle.

10 Women-Directed Films for Halloween

10 Women-Directed Films for Halloween

Are spine-chilling films always in demand because they help us dialogue with and about death? … In the past year, I’ve been focused on seeing films directed by women because I participated in the “52 Films by Women” initiative.

Bisexuality in ‘Kissing Jessica Stein’ and ‘I Love You Phillip Morris’

I Love You Phillip Morris and Kissing Jessica Stein

Both films, then, arguably fit a wider cultural pattern of bi erasure, suggesting that bisexual characters must “resolve” themselves as either gay or straight. I would argue, however, that what marks ‘I Love You Phillip Morris’ and ‘Kissing Jessica Stein’ as something more nuanced and interesting than another tale of “inauthentic” bisexuality, is the subtlety with which they examine all sexual orientations as limited by our internalized need to socially perform.

The Women Men Rescue (or Choose Not To): ‘The Witness’ and ‘Disorder’

The Witness and Disorder

Saving a beautiful woman from danger is such a pervasive male fantasy that right now, no matter where you are you could probably see an example of this trope by randomly flipping through channels or wandering into a multiplex. But what if the man was never able to save the woman? Or what if he has problems of his own that keep him from being a stereotypical hero?

‘Gorillas In the Mist’, Dian Fossey, and Female Ambition in the Wild

Gorillas in the Mist

Dian Fossey, a zoologist, primatologist, and anthropologist, was a controversial figure because she approached her work with primates in their natural habitat in a radical and unconventional way. … Just by doing work that she loved and believed in, Fossey made a statement about women’s value in the world.

Sofia Coppola as Auteur: Historical Femininity and Agency in ‘Marie Antoinette’

Marie Antoinette

Sofia Coppola’s film conveys, to me, a range of feminist concerns through history. Concerns of how much agency, even in a culture of affluence, women can wield given that so much of women’s lives are dictated by the structures of patriarchy.

No Apologies: The Ambition of Gillian Armstrong and ‘My Brilliant Career’

My Brilliant Career

However, Armstrong also doesn’t mock Sybylla’s ambition or treat it as a joke. In Armstrong’s world, the fact that Sybylla has desires and wants outside of marriage and men is treated seriously because Sybylla takes it seriously. She never needs to prove herself worthy enough for her desires.

The Anti-Celebrity Cinema of Mary Harron: ‘I Shot Andy Warhol,’ ‘The Notorious Bettie Page,’ and ‘The Anna Nicole Story’

Valarie just can't fit into Andy Warhol's world

I’ve always thought Mary Harron’s work was the perfect example of why we need female directors. I think the films she produces provide a perspective we would never see in a world unilaterally controlled by male filmmakers. Harron appears to specialize in off-beat character studies of the types of people a male director may not gravitate towards, nor treat with appropriate gravitas. She treats us to humanizing takes on sex workers and sex symbols, angry lesbians and radical feminism and makes them hard to turn away from.