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.
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.
Eli Peazant: What’re we supposed to remember, Nana? How, at one time, were we able to protect those we loved? How, in Africa world, we were kings and queens and built great big cities?
Nana Peazant: Eli, I’m trying to learn you how to touch your own spirit. I’m fighting for my life and I’m fighting for your’n. Look in my face! I’m trying to give you something to take North with you, along with all your great big dreams! Count on those old Africans, Eli, they come to you when you least expect ’em. They hug you up quick and soft as the warm sweet wind. Let them old souls come into you, hardy-like. Let them touch you with the hand of time, let them feed your head with wisdom that came from this day in time. Cuz when you leave this island, Eli Peazant, you ain’t goin’ to no land of milk and honey.