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.
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.
So January was officially my first month in A Year With Women and boy was it a great start to the year! For the first time in the longest time I pretty much loved everything I watched. I got to a bunch of films I had been meaning to watch for ages and saw some things I probably would never has sought out ordinarily. You can watch my video reviews of everything I watched in January here on YouTube. As always, after the cut is a full list of what I watched in January and a little bit on my five favorite films from the month.