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  • Paul Mayers

TOP 10 Female Directed Films


"Congratulations to those men."


That was the single most memorable moment from the Oscar nominations announcement. Spoken boldly by Issa Rae, as once again for the 87th time in the Oscars' 92 years, no female is present in the 'Best Director' category. So let's celebrate female directors of all backgrounds and walk through the highest rated feature films directed by women on Letterboxd!


NUMBER 10 | The Meetings of Anna (Les Rendez-vous d'Anna)

1978 - Directed by Chantal Akerman


Anna is a film director whose job takes her all over western Europe. In each place she either already has some intimate connection, or readily makes one. People seem drawn to her, but inevitably insist on sharing their inmost secrets and discontents with her, despite her obvious and profound lack of interest in these revelations. This does not deter Anna from continuing to meet people, and she genuinely connects with them occasionally, as when she sees her mother briefly in Brussels.


NUMBER 9 | The Turin Horse (A torinói ló)

2011 - Directed by Ágnes Hranitzky


A monumental windstorm and an abused horse’s refusal to work or eat signals the beginning of the end for a poor farmer and his daughter.


NUMBER 8 | The Farewell

2019 - Directed by Lulu Wang


BASED ON AN ACTUAL LIE.


A headstrong Chinese-American woman returns to China when her beloved grandmother is given a terminal diagnosis. Billi struggles with her family’s decision to keep grandma in the dark about her own illness as they all stage an impromptu wedding to see grandma one last time.


NUMBER 7 | Out 1 (Out 1, noli me tangere)

1971 - Directed by Suzanne Schiffman


While two dueling theater groups rehearse plays by Aeschylus, two solitary individuals wander the Parisian streets hustling the populace for cash and unravel a conspiracy.


NUMBER 6 | Cléo from 5 to 7 (Cléo de cinq à sept)

1962 - Directed by Agnès Varda


Agnès Varda eloquently captures Paris in the sixties with this real-time portrait of a singer set adrift in the city as she awaits test results of a biopsy. A chronicle of the minutes of one woman’s life, Cléo from 5 to 7 is a spirited mix of vivid vérité and melodrama, featuring a score by Michel Legrand and cameos by Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina.


NUMBER 5 | The Second Mother (Que Horas Ela Volta?)

2015 - Directed by Anna Muylaert


After leaving her daughter Jessica in a small town in Pernambuco to be raised by relatives, Val spends the next 13 years working as a nanny to Fabinho in São Paulo. She has financial stability but has to live with the guilt of having not raised Jessica herself. As Fabinho’s university entrance exams approach, Jessica reappears in her life and seems to want to give her mother a second chance. However Jessica has not been raised to be a servant and her very existence will turn Val’s routine on its head. With precision and humour, Anna Muylaert turns her eye on the subtle and powerful forces that keep rigid class structures in place and how the youth may just be the ones to shake it all up.


NUMBER 4 | The Ascent (Восхождение)

1977 - Directed by Larisa Shepitko


Two Soviet partisans leave their starving band to get supplies from a nearby farm. The Germans have reached the farm first, so the pair must go on a journey deep into occupied territory, a voyage that will also take them deep into their souls.


NUMBER 3 | Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles

1975 - Directed by Chantal Akerman


A lonely widowed housewife does her daily chores, takes care of her apartment where she lives with her teenage son, and turns the occasional trick to make ends meet. Slowly, her ritualized daily routines begin to fall apart.


NUMBER 2 | Little Women

2019 - Directed by Greta Gerwig


OWN YOUR STORY


Four sisters come of age in America in the aftermath of the Civil War.


NUMBER 1 | Portrait of a Lady on Fire

(Portrait de la jeune fille en feu)

2019 - Directed by Céline Sciamma


DON’T REGRET. REMEMBER.


On an isolated island in Brittany at the end of the eighteenth century, a female painter is obliged to paint a wedding portrait of a young woman.