Happy International Women’s Day everybody! I thought it would be topical to post a Quick Reviews on some films directed by women. This year I have taken on the ‘52 Films by Women’ challenge that will see me watch one film directed by a woman for every week of the year. I am currently up to date and have seen ten films directed by women so far this year with even more lined up and ready to go. This challenge is a great one to try out as women have mainly been marginalised by the film industry so much so that many of us could barely list ten female directors if asked. And although things are very slowly changing it is nowhere near as equal as it should be yet. The idea of this challenge is to broaden your film knowledge and understanding of women in film as well as finding some hidden gems that you may not have sought out before. I’ve had a lot of fun doing this challenge and have already seen some brilliant and interesting films and today I’m sharing with you five of my favourites from the challenge so far, I’m not going to rate them this time, I’m just going to present them to you and let you know now that you should check out every single one these films, not because they're directed by women but because they are just great stories.
This film is a well-made piece of Turkish cinema about five orphan girls who whilst discovering themselves in the world are also being confined with arranged marriages by their conservative guardians. I loved the way this film followed the joyfulness of sisterhood and youth before slowly unravelling its dark and terrifying reality. The film is a completely different beast at the end from what it is at the beginning.
This film is about a teenager struggling with her conflicting identities and sexual expression, which begins to risk her family and friendships. It’s kind of like the second act of Moonlight in a 90-minute film. It's an excellent slice of life story that will take you on quite an emotional journey. It’s not a perfect film but it’s a story that needs to be told about a demographic that is still underrepresented in cinema.
Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl
This a harrowing film about a character that truly loses herself in an effort to get back to her family and to end the reality that she has been living in; the cultural revolution of China in the 1970’s. Like Mustang this film experiences quite a tonal shift from the first half of the film into the second which was inspiring as a filmmaker but heart-breaking as a viewer.
American Honey follows Star as she joins a magazine sales crew and gets caught up in a whirlwind of hard partying, law bending and young love. This is one of the most beautiful ugly films I have ever seen. I wish it amounted to more but at the same time I loved just spending time in this world. The acting is perfection; every cast member feels so real and natural that at times if felt like a documentary. This is one of those films that stays with you for days after watching it.
This is a documentary film that draws on the footage that filmmaker Kirsten Johnson has shot over her career and re-frames it in ways that illuminate moments that have personally affected her, and it is one of the most interesting documentaries I have ever seen. It contains a lot of small visual bites of footage that felt very raw and human. It’s a film that reminds us that wherever you are, whoever you are, we are all human. We kind of need this film right now.
If you want to see the rest of the films I’ve seen as part of the challenge or want to follow along as I add more then you can do so here: https://letterboxd.com/superalexman/list/52filmsbywomen-2017/
If this is something you have enjoyed and maybe later in the year want me to repeat again then please let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!