To help people with their 52 Films By Women challenge this year I thought I’d put together a list of some of my favorite films directed by women that are easily accessible on Netflix and Amazon Prime. Keep in mind that this is in no way all of the films directed by women available on these services, but rather a selection of films I have seen and enjoy. There are also many more films available to rent on Amazon Video as well. Think of this as a jumping off point! Also if you have not taken the 52 Films By Women pledge yet you can do so here.
The Female Filmmaker Friday podcast is back! If you missed it, you can listen to the inaugural episode on Jane Campion here. This week Lady P. from Flixwise joins me to talk about the one and only Ida Lupino!
I’m excited to announce that the Female Filmmaker Friday podcast has joined the Battleship Pretension fleet of podcasts. Check out the others here. Also don’t forget you can subscribe (and rate!) in iTunes.
I’ll be traveling for the next few weeks, so look for Episode 3 sometime in October, when I’ll be joined by Monica Castillo to talk about Cuban filmmaker Sara Gómez.
Jim: The old Padre must have been quite a guy. To build a string of these things you had to believe in what you were doing.
Agnes: It was easier in then.
Agnes: Well, they didn’t have the problems we have now.
Agnes: The machine age and everything.
Jim: Uh-huh. What makes you think the machine age is our real problem today?
Agnes: It is.
Jim: No. No, our real problem today is the same one they had then: people.
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.
I read about this film in a book that traced the history of Los Angeles’s Bunker Hill in the movies (mostly focusing on film noir) and this film was mentioned because Lupino filmed several scenes in that neighborhood. After I saw the synopsis and the cast (Edmond O’Brien, Joan Fontaine and Ida herself), I just had to watch it. It’s a great drama (with film noir elements; I think you could definitely make the case that it is noir) about a man who finds himself married to two women.
Julia: A man named Jacob Waltz has just arrive in town. I want to meet him.
Julia: He’s discovered gold.
Pete: What do you want to meet him for? I’ve got a right to know!
Julia: Really? Well, I have a right to some things too! Like being sick and tired of running a bakery.
Pete: Now, wait a minute, Julia!
Julia: You’ve had four years to do something about getting me out of here, Pete.
Pete: I’ve had bad luck! I’m doing the best I can.
Julia: Yes, you’ve done very well. Have you been able to keep a job? Have you replaced our savings you so cleverly invested in grazing lands no animal could live on? Have you, Pete?
Pete: That wasn’t my fault! I got swindled!
Julia: No, I got swindled! So now you’re going to bring that man here.
Pete: Oh no, I won’t, Julia!
Julia: Yes, you will. There’s still that unsolved murder in Milwaukee.
Julia: Good. Of course, he’s not to know I’m married to you.