Welcome to the Weekly Movie Thread! Talk about films you’d recommend, get recommendations from fellow commenters, and chat about movies you’ve seen recently.
March is Women’s History Month. Yesterday was International Women’s Day. I was struggling for an appropriate prompt. I googled to see recommended films by female directors. To my great shame, I didn’t see many of them.
In fact, I was actually quite surprised to find Turbo Kid, a retro 80’s movie I quite like, was co-directed by Anouk Whissell (with Francois Simard and Yoann-Karl Whissell). It set itself apart from other films of its ilk by its commitment to the gruesome and handmade special effects of that decade. It’s what kept it from feeling like yet another tired nostalgia retread, despite being released in 2015 and being relatively late to the 80’s craze. In an interview with Syfy, Whissell revealed that the director trio splits the responsibilities. Her part is to work with the technical teams and the department heads. So the period accurate special effects… that’s her. She’s only a part of the equation. but I’d like to believe that even that percentage allows the film to gain a rounded perspective.
That’s part of the problem, I think. Unless it’s a big name like Patty Jenkins or Katheryn Bigelow, we tend to assume that all directors are male.
The percentages did improve somewhat in 2020. Among the films directed by women: Emma, Birds of Prey, Mulan, Wonder Woman 1984, and First Cow. We still have a long way to go.
Chloé Zhao winning Best Director at the 2021 Golden Globes for Nomadland is an encouraging sign. The film is a sympathetic look at domestic itinerant workers and stars Frances MacDormand and real life nomadic workers who you’d be surprised were not actors. We’ll see if the Academy follows suit when the nominees are announced next week. Zhao, incidentally, is facing backlash for Chinese nationalists because of comments she made in 2013. What should have been a proud Golden Globe win got almost immediately mired in controversy. Yet another reminder on how hard it is to be a female director.
So in order to rectify my ignorance, here’s today’s prompt: what film directed or co-directed by a woman do you wish more people knew about?
Next week: guilty pleasures