Watch Your Women’s History
Let’s appreciate the varied feminisms of seven amazing female directors.
Daughters of Dust (Directed by Julie Dash)
Daughters of the Dust is told from the point of view of an unborn child, and draws in female family lines, displacement and the history of slavery in the United States and its effect on black women. Daughters is one of those canonical feminist/black diaspora films that any feminist minded gal or guy needs to see. Think film studies students not watching Citizen Kane–it’s just not done.
Antonia’s Line (Directed by Marleen Gorris)
This is the quintessential feminist film. It’s egalitarian, woman centered, matriarchal, and there’s a lesbian sex scene not from a male’s perspective! I get excited just thinking about it!
Eve’s Bayou (Directed by Kasi Lemmons)
Directed by Kasi Lemmons, Eve’s Bayou is about an affluent black southern family, the relationships within that unit and how the history of the family line, slavery and geography all intermingle. Watching this film along with Daughters of the Dust is also a political act. By using our renting/purchasing power in favor of these movies, we show our cultural institutions, whether they be the library, Netflix, or even Hollywood, that we support black female directors.
Fire (Directed by Deepa Mehta)
I was told recently that some people believe that Mehta makes Indian films for an American audience, and because of this her films are not taken seriously by Indian audiences. Being an American gal, I can only speak from my point of view and will argue any day of the week that there is good stuff here. Forbidden love between two women, arranged marriage, Indian food, and hope amongst all odds–all good stuff. Maybe this film is geared towards Americans, but if it motivates more Americans to watch films directed by Indian women, then so be it.
Cleo from 5 to 7 (Directed by Agnes Varda)
This French flick details two hours in a Parisian woman’s life as she awaits what could be terminal results from her doctor. We follow her as she walks the streets of France and with her we contemplate life, worry, and possibilities, and further, it shines a light on what we have in front of us.
Swept Away (Directed by Lina Wertmuller)
This is a true “exploring feminisms” film because of its divisive nature. You could either love this film about a man and woman getting shipwrecked where sodomy, lust and coconuts ensue, or you can hate it. What cannot be argued is it’s provocative depiction of how class affects men and women dissimilarity and will spark some great discussion.
Marie Antoinette (Directed by Sofia Coppola)
Still considered by many to be an Indie director despite her famous director father and family, Coppola is one of my favorite contemporary female directors because she directs with the heart. She also dabbles with a delicate touch that is so affective and yet has such an assertive voice. Marie Antoinette is fun, whimsical and is so subversive for a period piece that you can’t help but become absorbed in the frosting and bubble gum that is this movie. Celebrate Women’s History Month with one tough queen!