Women’s History Month: Female filmmakers offer range of diverse protagonists 

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the all-female team of film critics at FF2 Media were assigned to write about their favorite female artists – and where to watch their work.

When you are stuck inside the house during social distancing and isolation, one thing you can do is watch films made by women. That way you will support female directors and have fun at the same time. These three films (listed below) are from three culturally diverse female directors and with three culturally diverse protagonists, all of whom overcome adversity and individual challenges.

These incredible films are worth seeing (and available to stream). Click on the film title for our full reviews and/or interviews with the filmmaker.

Everything, Everything

By Stella Meghie (USA) 

Maddy (Amandla Stenberg) is a smart and beautiful 18-year-old who is unable to leave the protection of the sealed environment within her house and her mother because of an incurable illness due to immune deficiency. Olly (Nick Robinson) is the boy across her house who falls in love with her despite the circumstances. Gazing through windows and talking only through texts, they form a deep bond that leads them to risk everything to be together, even if it means dying to be together. This film is available to stream on Amazon Prime and other streaming platforms.  

One thing we all appreciate and need in life, now more than ever, is love. This film might be the perfect one to watch during social distancing. It shows how even in social isolation you can still find love. We still have phones and the internet, and sometimes that is all it takes to start bonding. I loved the romance aspect of the film and the way the director followed Maddy’s journey of falling in love. 

Go Back to China

Written and Directed by Emily Ting (Taiwan) 

The film follows spoiled rich girl Sasha Li (Anna Akana), who, after blowing through most of her trust fund, is forced by her father (Richard Ng) to go back to China and work for the family toy business. What begins simply as a way to regain financial support soon develops into a life altering journey of self discovery, as Sasha discovers her passion for toy designing and learns to reconnect with her estranged family. A bittersweet portrait of a fractured family, the film also offers an honest look at the human cost of things that are made in China. The film is available on demand.

Laughter is the best medicine and what I loved most about the film is the lighthearted humor. Even though the subject of the film is very relevant today, especially about the Chinese immigrants, it is also done in a very humorous way. You will appreciate the hard work of the Chinese immigrants and get to live a day inside their lives. The acting and directing is superb and Anna Kanana does a wonderful job playing the main character. It is wonderful to see other women supporting one another. My favourite part of the film was when Sasha takes on a job she doesn’t know anything about and turns it around. I have a much bigger appreciation for Chinese culture after seeing the film. 

The Other Lamb

Małgorzata Szumowska (Poland)

For her entire life, the cult she was born into has been all that teenage Selah (Raffey Cassidy) has known. Along with a band of similarly cloistered young women she lives seemingly unstuck in time, cut off from modern society in a remote forest commune presided over by a man called Shepherd (Michiel Huisman), a controlling, messiah-like figure with a frightening dark side. But when her insular world is rocked by a series of nightmarish visions and disturbing revelations, Selah begins to question everything about her existence—including her allegiance to the increasingly dangerous Shepherd. Awash in images of primal, dreamlike dread, this provocative fable is a haunting vision of adolescent awakening and revolt. The film will be available on demand April 3.

What I loved most about this film is the picturesque cinematography. If you are looking for  a beautiful film to watch that reminds you that you are in a museum, looking at beautiful paintings of nature, this is your film. It also shows the strength of women living in a cult and the rebellious nature of one who changes the course of their cult forever. In these times of uncertainty and fear, what we need is courage. When we see this film we remember that as women we are already strong and we can overcome anything. The film uses less words and more pictures to show us that sometimes less is more. We can appreciate the strength of these women more now that we are inside our homes trying to find the courage to survive and fight. 

What these three female directors show us is that as women we can overcome anything in any situation. Let’s follow their example and support their films by watching them. 

© Nikoleta Morales (3/28/20) FF2 Media

Photos: Everything Everything (Credit: Alloy Entertainment); Go Back to China (Credit: Unbound Feet Productions); The Other Lamb (IFC Films)

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