Lately I’ve become more and more frustrated with the various “best ever” lists that have been released because they rarely feature films by women, or if they do it’s usually one or two films. I think this is more a reflection of those who are polled for these kinds of lists, as well as a compounding of history on itself. For so long films by men have made up the bulk of the film canon and I think people are afraid to add new films to these revered lists. I also think many people haven’t seen very many films by women, or if they have it’s always the same handful of films. In an attempt to create a better, more inclusive list of great films by women, I polled over 500 critics, filmmakers, bloggers, historians, professors and casual film viewers, asking them to tell me what films directed (or co-directed) by women are essential viewing. Some people only responded with as little as five votes, others submitted hundreds of films. In the end, I received over 7,000 votes for 1,100+ different films. After tallying up this data, with ties factored in, I then had a list of 103 essential films directed by women.
Although I was gone for almost a whole week for San Diego Comic-Con (my third year in a row for work!), I managed to watch more new-to-me films in July than I have any other month this year. Most of those films, however, were short films (I will always go to bat for short films). I watched the films in the Twilight Storytellers competition (several of them were better than the films in the actual Twilight Saga film series), as well as all the films in Miu Miu’s Women’s Tales series. Both are available to watch for free online and both are well worth your time! That said, I also watched several films that have had a very large impact on cinema’s history, so I think the month balanced out. As always, the full list of what I watched is after the cut, as well as a few favorites.
I’ve been watching my way through Joan Crawford’s filmography (I’m at 57 I think now!) and finally was able to watch this gem from, at the time, the only female director in Hollywood: Dorothy Arzner. The one review I could find of the film from its initial release is not too generous, but I have to say I absolutely loved this film.