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The Greatest Films of All Time … Directed by Women

Melissa Silverstein has put together a list of films directed by women to counteract the BFI’s top 50 best of all time. It’s a man’s man world, baby. Only real men link to her piece, as Roger Ebert did on Twitter. The others? Nada. Zip. No one is covering this story except the few shriekers out there who remain unafraid. You see, griping about racism and sexism comes at a price. You aren’t as cool as the peeps who prefer to blend in.  I know this because I was once someone who wanted to blend in. Now, I still hang with the boys on Twitter and Hollywood-Elsewhere, and still gripe about inequality just for the plain fuck of it. As Stephen King once wrote, “sometimes being a bitch is all a woman has to hold onto.”

Here is the list compiled by Silverstein and others who do give a damn. If you had to pick ten, which ones would you choose? I have bolded my favorites (but I haven’t seen all of them).

Chantal Ackerman- Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

Allison Anders – Gas, Food, Lodging

Gillian Armstrong – My Brilliant Career

Gillian Armstrong – High Tide

Andrea Arnold- Fish Tank

Dorothy Arzner – Dance, Girl, Dance

Susanne Bier – After the Wedding

Kathryn Bigelow- The Hurt Locker

Antonia Bird – Priest

Catherine Breillat – Fat Girl

Jane Campion- The Piano

Jane Campion- Sweetie

Nike Caro- Whale Rider

Lisa Cholodenko – The Kids Are All Right

Sofia Coppola – Lost in Translation

Claire Denis – 35 Shots of Rum

Marleen Gorris – Antonia’s Line

Debra Granik- Winter’s Bone

Randa Haines – Children of a Lesser God

Mary Harron – American Psycho

Amy Heckerling – Clueless

Amy Heckerling – Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Agnieszka Holland – Europa, Europa

Nicole Holofcener – Walking and Talking

Courtney Hunt – Frozen River

Annamarie Jacir – Salt of the Sea

Patty Jenkins – Monster

Miranda July – Me and You an Everyone We Know

Kasi Lemmons- Eve’s Bayou

Barbara Loden – Wanda

Ida Lupino – The Trouble with Angels

Lucretia Martel – The Holy Girl

Elaine May – The Heartbreak Kid

Deepa Mehta – Water

Mira Nair- Monsoon Wedding

Kimberly Peirce- Boys Don’t Cry

Sarah Polley – Away From Her

Sally Potter – Orlando

Lynne Ramsay – We Need to Talk About Kevin

Kelly Reichardt- Meek’s Cutoff

Celine Sciamma – Tomboy

Joan Micklin Silver – Hester Street

Barbra Streisand – Yentl

Julie Taymor – Frida

Agnes Varda – Cleo from 5 to 7

Agnes Varda – Vagabond

Lina Wertmuller – Seven Beauties

Lina Wertmuller- Swept Away

It crushes me that we still live in a time when most of the celebrated films are all by men. White men, usually.  At least in the world of lit there is Jane Austen and Flannery O’Connor, and Harper Lee continually shaking things up. And Emily Dickinson trounces every other male poet who ever lived, in my opinion.  But the snooty film crowd seems to be mostly made up of males. When did this happen? How did this happen? Why does it continue? Is it because women make “women’s movies” and don’t make universal enough films? We all know what “universal” means, don’t we? Films about African Americans are “black films,” films about women are “women’s films.” Books about women are “chick lit.” It’s 2012 and this shit STILL goes on. Kim Kardashian isn’t helping matters.

But there’s hope on the horizon – with writers like Melissa Silverstein, Thelma Adams, Alyssa Rosenberg on the case maybe we can start to turn this ship around.