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.
Kiran Bingley: Darcy’s a great reader. In fact, I think a love of books is on his list for his ideal woman.
Will Darcy: I think you’ve had one too many Sea Breezes.
Kiran Bingley: I remember a very drunken night in Oxford when you recited the list. She has to be smart, speak several languages…
Will Darcy: All right, Kiran, drop it.
Kiran Bingley: No, I recall, she had to be athletic, voluptuous, of course, graceful, witty, confident…
Lalita Bakshi: I’m not surprised Mr. Darcy hasn’t found his ideal woman with a list like that. Does this mean you’re an ideal man?
Will Darcy: I guess you’d be a better judge of that than me.
Lalita Bakshi: As far as I can tell, most men have faults.
This movie did not come to my hometown theater and I was dyyyyying to see it. I think it finally was available to rent after Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl came out in theaters. Of course, my hometown rental store mostly had “full frame” VHS tapes and a few “full frame” DVDs at that time, so odds are I saw a really shitty version. But I do remember distinctly watching it with my best friend Sadie (we were both in track and field at the time) and we both loved it so much. I think this kind of movie is really important for the development of the self-esteem of young girls. We need more positive, complex movies like this.
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