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Cronopio

Films Directed by Women

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Some (but by no means all) suggestions of canon-worthy films directed by women:

 

The Hitchhiker by Ida Lupino

 

Cleo from 5 to 7 by Agnes Varda

 

An Angel at My Table or The Piano by Jane Campion

 

Beau Travail or 35 Shots of rum by Claire Denis

 

Mi Vida Loca by Alison Anders

 

Salaam Bombay by Mira Nair

 

Lost In Translation by Sofia Coppola

 

The Headless Woman by Lucrecia Martel

 

The Babadook by Jennifer Kent

 

Fat Girl by Catherine Breillat

 

American Psycho by Mary Harron

 

And since we like 80's genre so much: Blue Steel or Near Dark by Katherine Bigelow

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I would love to see Cleo from 5 to 7 and Beau Travail considered for the Canon. As for other films directed by women, I think it would be great to hear them talk about Wendy & Lucy. Also, I think both Daisies and Meshes of the Afternoon could definitely be considered Canon-worthy.

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I think both Daisies and Meshes of the Afternoon could definitely be considered Canon-worthy.

 

Definitely - I forgot about Daisies!

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Bigelow was already put up, with The Hurt Locker, but didn't make it in.

 

Most of the films you've listed, I've never seen. Including American Psycho, which I have heard so much about over the years (for all the talk of satire, it still feels so toxic, I'm certain I'd hate it), but not until now did I hear it was directed by a woman!

 

!!! <----- Seriously!

 

The only one I have seen is Lost in Translation. Which, given its crazy popularity among people of a very Canon age (including me, for once, I wasn't too old or too young to miss the boat on this one, I was the perfect age!), as well as all the controversies that have, if anything, gotten more pointed over the years, I do feel it would make for a fantastic episode. Even if, I guess, it would be the "mainstream" pick of all the titles you've provided.

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Bigelow was already put up, with The Hurt Locker, but didn't make it in.

 

Yeah, it didn't make it in, then again it isn't the kind of overlooked 1980's cult genre movie The Canon loves, is it?

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Most of the films you've listed, I've never seen. Including American Psycho, which I have heard so much about over the years (for all the talk of satire, it still feels so toxic, I'm certain I'd hate it), but not until now did I hear it was directed by a woman!

It's SO good.

 

Speaking of Kathryn Bigelow (K-Bigs), not 100% sure it's The Canon but I've always thought Strange Days was underappreciated. But it's not 80's, so...

 

Another solid one from the 90's forgotten by time is Eve's Bayou by Kasi Lemmon (so again, not sure if it's Canon fodder since it had such little impact, but a great film).

 

A few other suggestions -

 

Clueless by Amy Heckerling

 

A Dry White Season or Sugar Cane Alley by Euzhan Palcy

 

(in the "probably too soon" category):

 

Winter's Bone by Debra Granik

 

Me and You and Everyone You Know by Miranda July

 

Wadjda by Haifaa al-Mansour

 

Fish Tank by Andrea Arnold

 

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night by Ana Lily Amirpour

 

I'm tempted to also suggest others like Wayne's World by Penelope Spheeris or Appropriate Behavior by Desiree Akhavan but I'm likely straying into "films I really like, but not necessarily Canon"-territory, if I haven't already.

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Cronopio -- those are terrific picks. All of them. I like three in particular.

 

Catherine Breillat is usually described/dismissed as "controversial" or "divisive", in the same manner Lars Von Trier is. Like her artistic contemporary, Breillat's concern is sexuality, especially femininity; but where Von Trier sees the second sex as incomprehensible, even monstrous, Breillat explores the discovery of sex, self, and gender in a way that is visceral and vulnerable. It's a female perspective that feels grounded in lived-in experience, for all the honest ugliness and beauty, in a way that is almost completely absent in modern film. Fat Girl is a wonderful film; her early work A Very Young Girl is worth considering, too.

 

I listed Beau Travail as my pick in the indulgence thread. Claire Denis is a fascinating and inventive filmmaker, one of my favorites. Any single work of hers would be worth considering but Beau Travail is maybe one of her less "difficult" films and features Denis Levant, whom Americans have finally come around to via Leos Carax. I don't think she's made a bad film, and nearly all of them are great: White Material, 35 Shots of Rum (on many critics top ten in that BBC Culture list), I Can't Sleep, and I even think Trouble Every Day is a misunderstood masterpiece. She is a genius artist.

 

Maya Deren's entire body of work is notable and important, not just as a woman but for being an experimenter in the medium who was and is a seminal influence on surrealists then and filmmakers today. This is someone who should have a Criterion release, who should be seen by every serious lover of film -- should definitely be in the canon. Deren is an interesting figure also for being (at the time) in the shadow of her second husband, Alex Hammid, a filmmaker and collaborator who won an Oscar in 1964. There's interesting parallels with Kathryn Bigelow there.

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Others:

 

Sally Potter -- Orlando

 

Julie Taymor -- Titus, Frida

 

Liliana Cavani -- The Night Porter

 

Allison Anders -- Things Behind The Sun, Grace of My Heart, and Gas, Food, Lodging

 

Tamara Jenkins -- Savages, Slums of Beverly Hills

 

Lone Scherfig -- An Education, Italian for Beginners

 

Randa Haines -- Children of a Lesser God

 

Susanne Bier -- After the Wedding, Brothers, Things We Lost in the Fire

 

Doris Wishman -- influential and prolific sexploitation director, invented the "nudie cutie" genre, had to use a man's name or give credit to men on her early films to get distribution. I realize this is a stretch -- Nude on the Moon is not high art -- but I still think she's important.

 

Virginie Despentes -- Baise Moi (okay, this one is a joke)

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Bigelow was already put up, with The Hurt Locker, but didn't make it in.

 

Most of the films you've listed, I've never seen. Including American Psycho, which I have heard so much about over the years (for all the talk of satire, it still feels so toxic, I'm certain I'd hate it), but not until now did I hear it was directed by a woman!

 

!!! <----- Seriously!

.

 

American Psycho is a masterpiece. It could have been a sleazy, toxic film, but it's not. I remember watching it very much against my will, being blown away by it, and then discovering it had been directed by a woman - and that made all sense.

 

The Winter's Bone is also brilliant. A tough movie, in which it is for the women to keep things going, by hook or by crook. The violence, when it comes, feels very naturalistic. It's the real anti-revenge film.

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How about Big, directed by Penny Marshall? You could also make a case for Awakenings or (stretching a little) A League of their Own. After that, it's all garbage.

 

Speaking of Bigelow, I will lose my mind if Strange Days makes it in ahead of the Hurt Locker.

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There are definite traces of the American Psycho performance in Nolan's Batman films. That trilogy seems to pit Bruce against the spirit, mind, and body elements respectively as the trilogy concludes, at last leaving Batman behind and reaching a sort of Nirvana state.

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Strange Days is my favorite Bigelow film so I'm totally okay with it having an episode. I also really love American Psycho and think its a misunderstood film that could highly benefit from more intelligent discussions outside of the usual "I like when Bateman dances and murders people."

 

Other picks:

 

Born in Flames (I'd die if they did an episode on this)

 

We Need to Talk About Kevin

 

The Matrix

 

Wings (1966)

 

City of God (co-directed)

 

Persepolis

 

Grey Gardens (co-directed)

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Julia Loktev's Day Night Day Night is very much worthy of the Canon in my opinion, though it's wildly underseen.

 

Gina Prince-Bythewood has both Love & Basketball and Beyond the Lights

 

The Wachowski Sisters have Bound, The Matrix, Cloud Atlas, and Speed Racer, strong arguments for all of them.

 

Julie Dash has Daughters of Dust, a seminal moment in black film - could be a Vs against Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep

 

A Vs episode comparing two iconic documentaries: Barbara Koppel's Harlan County USA vs Jennie Livingston's Paris Is Burning

 

Nicole Holofcener has a couple movies that are worthy, though I'd put forth Lovely & Amazing as her best.

 

Larisa Shepitko's The Ascent might be Canon-worthy, I'm a bit iffy on it though.

 

The best comic book movie ever might be Shari Spring Berman and Robert Pulcini's American Splendor.

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I'd easily go for anything directed by Larisa Sheptiko, Agnes Varda, or Chantal Akerman. I'd also like to throw out there that the entire Slumber Party Massacre series was directed by women. Don't know if anyone would vote any of them in (other than me), but I do think that the fact that those all came from women could make an interesting discussion.

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Near Dark & Titus are cool looking movies I'd recommend people check out, but don't seem to belong. And since I was just recently discussing Manhunter, Day Night Day Night is the film that rivals it for my most watched. It would be an interesting world in which enough people watched that film for it to be canonical, but we don't live in that world. On the other hand, while I wasn't a big fan of The Piano (I was stupidly annoyed that Michael Nyman's score had so much piano in it!), that could actually qualify. Persepolis is another interesting possibility, we did already let in one non-fiction animated film about the Middle East but this one is sufficiently different.

 

Lots of people are recommending movies they like, but may be a bit too niche. Maybe something from Nora Ephron? She basically became THE representative of a sub-genre very popular with audiences if not self-described cinephiles. Admittedly, some of her most beloved work was writing rather than directing.

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Girlfriends and Shiela Levine Is Dead and Living In New York are better than any of the films mentioned and are completely canon-worthy due to their influence on GIRLS

 

Freakin Stanley Kubrick was a fan of Girlfriends

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Girlfriends and Shiela Levine Is Dead and Living In New York are better than any of the films mentioned and are completely canon-worthy due to their influence on GIRLS

 

Freakin Stanley Kubrick was a fan of Girlfriends

I just saw this for the first time on TCM a couple weeks ago. It was so good! I can't believe I'd never heard of it before.

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Would doing another Kathrine Bigelow be the first time a filmmaker gets repeated? (EDIT NOOOOOOOOOO) I ask because she actually seems like a great place to break the seal on that, since her early career is so different from her more recent stuff but both eras have high quality, influential films to talk about, as well as the difference between someone like her growing and changing as an artist while making similar kinds of movies Vs. someone like Spielberg, who has always made a lot of different kinds movies. (Bigelow being more analogues to Reservoir Dogs/Pulp Fiction/Jackie Brown Tarantino becoming Kill Bill/Inglorious Bastards/Dijango Unchained Tarantino...although, in reverse now that I've typed it out...)

 

Persepolis also sounds great since Devin and Amy were just talking about how they needed more female coming of age stories, and even ignoring all of the politics surrounding it (which I don't advocate but bear with me) it's fascinating as one of the most direct film adaptations ever. It's the comic, but it moves and has sound. What other film adaptations even come close? Is it an impressive feat or a waste of the form?

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Would doing another Kathrine Bigelow be the first time a filmmaker gets repeated?

 

Oh, certainly not. Off the top of my head, Spielberg's been up three/four/five? times (Temple of Doom, E.T/Close Encounters, Jurassic Park twice), Ridley Scott twice (Alien, Blade Runner), and Billy Wilder (EDIT: thrice!) (Double Indemnity, Some Like it Hot, The Lost Weekend).

 

EDIT: Also De Palma twice (Mission: Impossible and Blow Out) Coppola twice (Godfather Trilogy, Apocalypse Now), Tim Burton twice (Batman, Ed Wood), and John Carpenter twice (The Thing, They Live). Oh, and Scorsese twice (Goodfellas, Last Temptation of Christ).

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