Films By Women

Suturing Selfhood: ‘American Mary’ and the Unconventional Feminine Repossession of Self

American Mary

This violence through language establishes a paradigm that persists throughout the film in which female expression, female control over their anatomy/body and others’ is aggressively and oppressively impugned upon and violated by male domination. Mary’s passion and talent — and thus selfhood — exists imperiled and impeached by the overtures of men.

‘The Lure’ Fills the Mermaid Shaped Hole in My Heart

The Lure

Closer to sirens than friendly flounders these creatures lure men to their deaths and feast on their flesh. … Deadly mermaids, Eastern European pop music, and crushing dreams may not initially seem like a wonderful combination, but The Lure mixes these elements together beautifully.

‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ ‘Prevenge,’ and the Evils of the Trump Administration

Prevenge

Alice Lowe’s ‘Prevenge’ is in some ways a modernized version of ‘Rosemary’s Baby.’ … Throughout the course of history, and especially in Trump’s America, baby always comes first. Our government cares more about fetuses than it does about living, breathing women. This chills me to the core more than a scary movie ever could.

All the Rage: Women-Led and Women-Centric Horror Film Festivals

Women horror film fests

“They just assume I’m an actress. They would never assume that I directed it or made the film myself.” That’s the assumption that women-centric horror film festivals intend to quash. They’re also, as Women in Horror Film Festival (WIHFF) co-director and filmmaker Samantha Kolesnik said, a growing platform for “equal representation” in all aspects of film production.

‘Raw’ and Coming of Age via Cannibalism

Raw

What writer/director Julia Ducournau does with ‘Raw’ is use the traditional tropes of body horror to tell the story of one young woman’s awakening. … It’s frightening and disturbing, as coming of age often is. … By filtering this all-too-common struggle through the extreme lens of cannibalism, Ducournau highlights the absurdity inherent in how women’s bodies and desires are policed.

‘Queerama’: A Tapestry of Queer British History

Queerama

An unexpected gem directed by Daisy Asquith, the documentary outlines the milestones, setbacks, stigma, and celebrations of the LGBTQ movement in the UK from 1919 to the present. It incorporates electro beats, limited dialogue, and some steamy scenes, cut with cards detailing important milestones for the LGBTQ community. … Though much as the majority of queer history is persecution, oppression, and erasure, ‘Queerama’ is a strangely joyful monument to it all.

Kelly Reichardt’s ‘Meek’s Cutoff’: The Camera’s Relationship to Characters and Power

Meeks Cutoff

In reclaiming the era, Kelly Reichardt created a representation that centers the experiences of those not served by the traditional Western. A view of the life of women divorced from the patriarchal lens, a view of the treatment of Native Americans divorced from the lens of white supremacy.

How a ‘Little Evil Bookshop’ Helped Me Find My Role in Hollywood

Little Evil Bookshop poster

It isn’t that I am or was passive in my acting career, it is that acting is a long game and it can be difficult to see where the road might lead. That is something I have accepted; sometimes it’s terrifying and other times it excites me. But for this achiever, perfectionist, and feminist, there is something unbelievably validating about the immediacy of payoff in this new venture called producing. They call it “producing” for a reason! At the end, you have made something, paved your own road.

Women-Directed and Women-Centric Films at 2017 Bushwick Film Festival

Whose Streets

Held in New York City, the Bushwick Film Festival is “hailed as one of Brooklyn’s most influential cinematic events for its contribution to the borough’s artistic, cultural, and economic growth.” The festival “proudly shines a spotlight on diverse filmmakers.” … Now in its tenth year, BFF will run from October 12th-15th. Here are the women-directed and women-centric narrative films, short films, and web series featured at the festival.

Amma Asante Shows that Period Films Can (and Should) Center Black People

A United Kingom

Actress Thandie Newton argues that “historical dramas ‘limit UK Black actors’.” Churning out endless projects about the royal family and the so-called “good old days” isn’t doing Black actors any favors. …”Historical/period drama” is one of the worst genres for inclusion of Black characters, with a whopping 80% of such films having no named roles for Black actors whatsoever. …Period dramas and Black stories aren’t mutually exclusive, as Amma Asante shows us in ‘Belle’ and her latest film, ‘A United Kingdom.’

“You Are Who You Eat”: Digging in to Antonia Bird’s ‘Ravenous’

Ravenous

In ‘Ravenous,’ the primary meat and potatoes of the terror the audience feels isn’t provided by novel sights on the screen. While the visuals are gorgeous, its true potency comes from its sense of self-confidence. … Director Antonia Bird is unafraid of long silences; she trusts her skills to communicate plot and character visually without the need for exposition. … It makes for a moody, evocative, distinctive, and extremely memorable personal style.

Amy Heckerling: A Retrospective on Her Filmmaking Career and Her Perspectives on Women in Hollywood

Clueless

It’s easy to accept that Heckerling’s lack of recognition is typical of the treatment of female directors, and her challenges have included obstacles unknown to many male directors, such as taking time off for children and caring for elderly parents. However, her work in less prestigious mid-budget comedies and teen films, and therefore with new and lesser known actors, has often been by choice. Her great accomplishments as a feminist director come not from breaking into the prestigious and male-dominated genres, but in how she has presented female characters and female sexuality in her films.