February 27, 2019

Who and What Made It to IndieWire's List of 100 Best Films Directed by Women?

Today, IndieWire released their 100 All-Time Greatest Films Directed by Women list, and it's a rich resource for film fans wanting to expand their knowledge on the history of female filmmaking.

According to The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film's latest "Celluloid Ceiling" report on the 2018 film industry, women made up only 20 percent of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films last year. In addition, the number of working female directors actually went down in 2018. Women comprised just 8 percent of all directors of top-grossing films -- that number was 11 percent in 2017.

These are extremely low numbers, and the percentage of women in other below-the-line filmmaking roles is also depressingly small, from cinematographers and editors to composers and sound designers. Hollywood can only continue to strive toward gender parity.

In the meantime, filmmakers of all backgrounds can seek inspiration from the diverse list of female-directed films released today on IndieWire.

The list is fairly comprehensive and does a good job including festival darlings, international film and queer cinema. Most of the more recent films have been relegated toward the higher end of the list.

I would argue that Marielle Heller's Can You Ever Forgive Me? should be higher than #64. And I don't love that Lynne Ramsey's You Were Never Really Here sits at a middling #55 (I personally prefer the thriller over her higher-ranked film We Need to Talk About Kevin). I also would have bumped cult hit American Psycho, which director Mary Harron adapted with Guinevere Turner, way, waaaay up the list. Here, it's left in the cold at #100.

The higher end of the rankings focuses more on older arthouse classics, including avant-garde Czech director Věra Chytilová. The list definitely did something right by placing Chloé Zhao's The Rider almost in the top 10. It's an amazing slice-of-life movie that more should have seen. IndieWire also ranked one of my personal favorites, A League of Their Own, in their top five.

Check out the full list here.

Are there any directors or rankings in the list you disagree with? Who was missed that you would you have put on the list?     

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