So since I missed two weeks (I’m the worst) I thought instead of choosing one film I’d talk about the ones I saw in March that were directed by women and where you can find them. Some of these films I have already spoken about and one I’ll be posting a review for in the upcoming weeks, but most importantly all are worth your time.
Run & Jump (2013) Directed By Steph Green
This was one of the films I’ve already spoken about but it bears repeating just how beautifully strong Maxine Peak’s character is. Also, the cinematography is gorgeous, embracing color in a way few films feel ambitious enough to do.
Beyond the Lights (2014) Dir By: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Again, I’ve already spoken about this film but I adored it. It’s one of my favorite “new to me” films that I’ve watched so far in 2015 and the performance Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a star-making one. It’s powerful, vulnerable, warm, and it only enhances a film that deserved more credit than it got.
Whale Rider (2002) Directed By: Niki Caro
I had never seen Whale Rider until this past month, and boy do I wish I’d seen it growing up. It came out in 2002 and as an 11 year old I would have been thrilled to see a little girl character that was tough as nails but also impossibly human. The way it is shot romanticizes the coastal town where it’s people love and respect the earth and its inhabitants. It’s shot so that it’s a story that transcends it’s demographic while still instilling enough charm and emotion for a younger audience. It’s genuinely moving and Paikea is the kind of leading lady that little girls deserve to see onscreen.
Unrelated (2007) Directed By: Joanna Hogg
I’ve seen two Joanna Hogg films and they have two things in common: they’re intimate dramas focusing on familial relationships and they both star a fresh faced Tom Hiddleston. Unrelated is purposefully slow moving, treading water for the majority of the film rather than going full force. It allows women to grieve, it’s shot with a female gaze in mind and it allows it’s leading character to express herself in ways that for film are unconventional but true to life. Women too can be a little messy sometimes and a little rash and to see it portrayed onscreen in such a low key method is appreciated.
The Road Within Directed By: Gren Wells
I’ll have my review for this up in a week or two and while I didn’t love it there were a few storylines and character arcs that were treated with a tremendous amount of care, unlike many films I’ve seen. Mental illness such as tourettes and OCD are seen as exhausting but not entirely debilitating, showing that life goes on even if it takes more steps to get through it. The film also deals with eating disorders in a beautiful and inspired way. It felt real. People with eating disorders aren’t doing it for attention, they’re doing it because something in their chemical makeup is telling them to, telling them that they’re not right but they could be. The friendship between the three characters is intimate and the film is shot in away that embraces the natural beauty of it’s surroundings.
May in the Summer Directed By: Cherien Dabis
There wasn’t much going on in this film but I loved how the dynamic between the sisters was portrayed. Cherien Dabis and Alia Shawkat, in particular, get how sisters react around one another and even though Dabis’s character is going through engagement troubles, it’s the bond between the sisters and mother that is the real selling point of the film. Religion, womanhood, and family ties all play integral roles in this film.
All six of these filmmakers should be getting more opportunities.Wells and Green both display an eye for natural beauty and scene location. Dabis is tackling typical stories set in unconventional settings.Hogg is telling the stories that interest her with her own brand stamped on them and Bythewood and Caro have told stories that are lasting and soulful and begging for discussion. I didn’t love all of these films, but I loved the perspectives and what they allowed me to watch and how they allowed me to watch. Women directors get the small moments and the bonds that form between people in similar situations. Support their films! I saw The Road Within on Itunes since it will never play anywhere near Boston but if it’s playing near you make sure to go and support! Whale Rider is on the Hulu Plus, you can rent Beyond the Lights and the rest are all on Netflix. Check them out!