Signed up in January for Women In Film’s pledge to watch at least one film helmed by a female director per week. You can do so here if you want to take part. 52 Films By Women
I am going to try and see a new film by a female director every week, but I will occasionally revisit films I haven’t seen in a while, or personal favourites. This month’s films are all first time watches.
9) Jane. B (1987, Agnès Varda)
Varda’s inventive and unconventional biography of 60s’ icon Jane Birkin. Though there is documentary footage and interviews with Birkin talking about her life and career most of the film involves them inventing scenarios they would like to see on film. Birkin dressed up as Stan Laurel, or on a picnic with French New Wave poster boy Jean-Pierre Léaud. It’s more of a collaboration than a director/subject relationship with both women inspiring each other creatively.
10) Wildflowers (1999, Melissa Painters)
Affecting small-town coming-of-age story set in the 1980’s and starring Clea Duvall as a teenager who befriends the older woman (Daryl Hannah) she believes is the mother who abandoned her when she was a baby. Hannah is a hippyish free-spirit who once ran with a counter-culture group in the 60s’ and still refuses to settle down. Eric Roberts in one of his more restrained performances turns up as the ex-lover she left to rot in a prison when things went awry. It’s dreamy and impressionistic in that late 90s’ early 00s’ Indie film way, but it has a feel for lost summers and the intensity of youth.
11) Middle of Nowhere (2012, Ava DuVernay)
Thoughtful drama from Selma director Ava DuVernay about promising young med student Ruby (Emayatzy Corinealdi) putting her life on hold while her husband is in jail. Personally I’m with the mother (Lorraine Toussaint) who scolds her for wasting time on a deadbeat, but she remains loyal to him and DuVenray’s film is about the strength needed to make that decision however misguided it may be. Especially if David Oyelowo is hanging around waiting in the background.
12) Leaning Towards Solace (2012, Flora Sigismondi)
Wonderful short film developed by the band Sigur Ros and directed by Floria Sigismondi who made the rock biopic The Runaways (2010). John Hawkes wanders through a dead-end town, drinks a little too much, and delivers a voice-over about the daughter (Elle Fanning) he feels he has somehow failed, while she follows after him performing ballet in an outfit topped off with angel wings. Monologues about parenthood, ethereal music, walking through a barren landscape, religiosity, Leaning Towards Solace does everything a late period Terrence Malick movie does but in 12 minutes.