May was a great month for cinema. It started with the New Beverly Cinema showcasing almost exclusively films directed by women. I guested on their podcast discussing the calendar (you can listen to it here) and went as often as I could (though I have been fighting off a bad cold and that impeding me seeing as much as I wanted). May was also filled with some great new rom-coms and I hope we keep seeing more! As always, you can see what I watched as well as some favorites after the cut.
Apologies for the tardiness of this post. I moved into a new apartment (yay!) right before the beginning of the month, but didn’t have internet for a week (boo!). At long last I have the internet again! You will notice perhaps a wider variety than usual for April. This was due to a few factors: I had cable so I watched a bunch of films I had pointedly skipped in theaters, the TCM Classic Film Festival was a few weeks ago, and I am back in LA so I have access to so many movies! April was a very exhausting month between moving and starting a new job, but I saw quite a few gems and I’m excited to keep seeing great stuff back here in LA.
March was a pretty crazy month for me. As you may have seen on Twitter, I announced that I left my job at TCM to take a job at Netflix. This meant closing down my apartment in Atlanta and getting set up in LA. It also meant I had a lot of time in my apartment – which led to an increased amount of viewing in March over February’s pitiful number. There were some new releases I had hoped to catch before the month ended that I did not make it to, but there’s always April! As always, after the cut you can see all the films I watched in March, as well as a handful of favorites.
When this movie came out in 2016 it was the final film directed by a woman who was going to receive a wide release. It opened opposite Fantastic Beasts, and as you can imagine it did not do all that well. It didn’t do poorly – grossing $18mil on a $9mil budget is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s also not great for a movie that opened in over 2000 theaters. It was originally scheduled for a September release, but was moved to November (possibly to help its awards chances), which I think hurt its chance to become a sleeper hit (we have so few of those these days). I had a twitter chain about the film go viral, which led to me guesting on the Filmspotting podcast, where I talked about the film, as well as my ever-growing list of films about teenager girls directed by women. (There’s a larger conversation to be had about how the conversation around Ladybird was all on how few films about teenage girls are about women when a) this film had literally been released a year earlier and b) my list is over 200 films as of writing this). I was a big fan of Hailee Steinfeld from her turn in True Grit, so I was really excited that she was finally going to get a big launch film (if only it had pushed her into the stratosphere like Easy A did for Emma Stone!)
Female Filmmaker Friday: Få meg på, for faen! (Turn Me On, Dammit!), 2011 (dir. Jannicke Systad Jacobsen)
I remember when this film was first released in the U.S. It was when I worked at a few art house theaters in San Francisco while I was in grad school. I thought the trailer was charming, but somehow missed the film while it was in theaters. Last year I finally caught up with it thanks to the help of Videodrome here in Atlanta. It did not disappoint.
Last December on TCM Underground we showed two films by “The Queen of Underground Film,” Sarah Jacobson: her 27 minute b&w short film I Was a Teenage Serial Killer and her only feature film, 1998’s Mary Jane’s Not a Virgin Anymore. Both films totally blew my mind. The American Genre Film Archive, aka AGFA, recently put out a new 2K restoration of the films. Right now they are only available as DCP/Blu-ray for theatrical display, but I have been informed a home video release is coming in August.
Laura Terruso’s Fits and Starts was one of my favorite films out of the 2017 SXSW film festival. Unfortunately I don’t believe the film ever got a proper theatrical release, but thankfully if you have Amazon Prime you can stream it with your subscription. It’s a delightful romantic comedy that looks at both the struggles of creativity, balances in relationships, and how sometimes success is all about how your present yourself to others.
Valentine’s Day is coming up and thus many of us are in the mood for something romantic. I combed through Netflix and Amazon Prime to come up with a list of 14 romantic films directed by women that you can enjoy this holiday.
This is another film I first discovered during A Year With Women. It was recommended by several people and at the time was available on Netflix (it’s not streaming there anymore, but it is for rent on Amazon, Google Play, and more online video rental services). Later that year TCM aired it during its inaugural Trailblazing Women In Film celebration. It was scheduled to be added to Spotlight: Women Directors on FilmStruck with an introduction by Alicia Malone, however the service was closed before it got added. Last year, which was the 25th anniversary of its theatrical release (it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 1992), the film made the rounds of repertory theaters in the United States and the U.K. I’m hoping it’ll get a nice Blu-ray release sometime in the near future.