You’ve probably heard of the likes of Patty Jenkins and Ava DuVernay. You’ve almost certainly heard of Kathryn Bigelow and Lynne Ramsay. But what other female directors come to mind when asked whose work you enjoy? Many brilliant women are out there making great films but few have become the huge recognisable names they deserve to be.
It’s time to delve a little deeper and have a look at (just some of) the very talented women making great work behind the camera.
Winter’s Bone might be known as the film that launched Jennifer Lawrence’s career, but the subtlety and dark undertones of the film are a credit to director Debra Granik’s skills – skills which are plain to see again in her latest offering, the stunning Leave No Trace. She gets to the very core of people and explores their humanity and traumas with such a delicate power that is riveting, beautiful and utterly gut-wrenching.
Leave No Trace is out on DVD & Blu-ray right now. Read our glowing review.
Krishnan’s new Camden-based musical, Been So Long, is a big and bold romance currently showing on Netflix UK. There are a number of large musical numbers mixed in with smaller, more intimate numbers and the film has a great mixture of humour and emotion.
This is Krishnan’s second feature film, after some work in TV and with short films, and she brings with it just the kind of new voice we need to see more of in British cinema.
Having both written and directed the superb The Kindergarten Teacher (which stars Maggie Gyllenhaal), Colangelo is fast becoming one to watch behind the camera. The film deftly explores a very complex story about a teacher who crosses many lines in the name of looking out for one of her pupils – and Colangelo seems entirely happy making herself comfortable in that grey area from which many directors might shy away.
She is a subtle and quiet director and her film is all the more powerful and thoughtful for it.
That Kusama isn’t a bigger name in film is utterly absurd. She’s been making films for years but many come and go with a whimper at the cinema and later gain a dedicated cult following on home cinema release (see Jennifer’s Body, in particular).
Her latest film, Destroyer, which stars Nicole Kidman in the lead role, is a moody, tortured and very clever crime story with an old-school noir feel. It’s beautifully shot and layered with complexity and tension.
Burn, Burn, Burn is another superb film that came and went with little fanfare. Funny and moving, this delightful story of friendship and loss is one of the finest British films of recent years – and Button’s debut feature after working only on a few short films. It shows just how skilled she is as a director, switching seamlessly from utter hilarity to gut-wrenching emotion, without lessening the impact of either.
Her second feature film, Vita and Virginia, is the story of Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf and stars Elizabeth Debicki and Gemma Arterton. Frustrating then, to see that there is no UK release arranged for the film as yet.
Asante has been making superb films for a while now. Yet somehow she still isn’t the huge name she should be. The director of Belle and A United Kingdom (both fantastic) returned to the festival circuit this year with wartime drama Where Hands Touch, a film which – you guessed it – still doesn’t have a UK release.
Hynes may already be a recognisable face in front of the camera but her directorial debut, The Fight which played earlier this year at the London Film Festival, proves that her talents exist outside of just her brilliant performances.
The Fight is a moving family drama that looks at the cycle of abuse from generation to generation. It has a raw, honest feel to it and is incredibly thought-provoking stuff.
Not yet a known name in the world of cinema, having worked largely in TV to date, Mahoney has now been given an incredible kick into the big time and we are sure to be seeing a lot more of her in the future. Having been suggested by Ava DuVernay to JJ Abrams, Mahoney is now second unit director for the new Star Wars film.
The force is strong with this one.