A single mother who works as a seamstress struggles to support her children while she drowns in work. When she meets a man who challenges her to be a little more selfish, she finds herself reevaluating her entire life. Krane’s Confectionery (1951) demonstrates the ways in which men and women alike participate in the patriarchy while exploring a society’s refusal to acknowledge the basic need for self-care.(RMM: 4/5)
Larisa Shepitko directed and co-wrote The Ascent. The film is a haunting drama set during the Great Patriotic War in World War II, with its story based on Vasil Bykaŭ’s novel, Sotnikov. Boris Plotnikov and Vladimir Gostyukhin star as two partisans who fight for survival physically and emotionally amidst the brutal winter in 1942. (KIZJ: 4.5/5)
XXY is about wielding love over fear, about parents realizing that “wanting the best” for their children sometimes means something unexpected.
Antonia’s Line is a female-focused fairytale from the mid-1990s that transports viewers to a quaint Dutch village where Antonia builds a multi-generational eclectic family.
Hungarian director and screenwriter Márta Mészáros’s best-known film from 1975, Adoption, stars Katalin Berek as a middle-aged single woman who has realized that she wants a child. Through her own observations and friendships with neglected children, she becomes more and more convinced that it is the right choice for her at this point in her life. (KIZJ: 4/5)
A single mother in Dartford, England struggles emotionally and financially to support three young girls and a baby boy as she reconnects with an old flame from high school. Andrea Arnold’s Oscar-winning short film Wasp (2003) is an at-times charming and all-around painfully honest portrayal of a family strained by circumstance yet strongly bonded in love. (RMM: 5/5)
Director Mira Nair directed and co-wrote the feature film Salaam! Bombay in 1988. Starring Shafiq Syed, Nair creates a documentary-like fiction piece that is a heart-wrenching depiction of the lives of children in the slums of Bombay. KIZJ: (4/5)
Mikey and Nicky is Oscar-nominee Elaine May’s third feature from 1976. The film is a dark mystery laced with comedy and social commentary—all dressed up in a gangster setting. Starring John Cassavetes and Peter Falk, May’s piece is an intimate observation of a wavering friendship between two men over a long, long night in Philadelphia. (KIZJ: 4.5/5)
Directed by Byambasuren Davaa, The Cave of the Yellow Dog is about a young girl who travels across Mongolia with her herding family. When she finds a dog and wants to keep it, it places her at odds with her father’s safety concerns. The Cave of the Yellow Dog is a tender, sweet and cinematographically […]
TW: Suicide, Suicidal ideation Based on the novel by Jeffrey Eugenides and written and directed by Sophia Coppola, The Virgin Suicides is told from the perspective of a group of men looking back on their youth. They reflect on a tragedy they have never quite recovered from: the suicides of all five Lisbon sisters, formerly the […]
Kathleen Collins wrote and directed Losing Ground (1982)—a film about a middle-class Black couple whose marriage is shaken by the lovers’ diverging paths towards self-discovery. This refreshing film explores the human condition of what makes us feel ecstasy in life. (KIZJ: 4.5/5)
Director Elsa Kremser forces us to rethink our relationships to the animals around us by putting us in their perspective. Following street dogs around Moscow and following space dogs through their Soviet training, Space Dogs is an unforgiving movie about how we treat our so-called best friends. (GPG: 4/5). Review by Contributing Editor Giorgi Plys-Garzotto […]
An incredibly relatable coming of age story, Sophie Jones puts director and actress Jessie Barr on the map. As a debut and simply as a film, Sophie Jones brings many elements of adolescence into a complex narrative of exploration and loss. (GPG: 4/5) Review by Contributing Editor Giorgi Plys-Garzotto Anyone who was a theater kid […]
Mai Zetterling directed and co-wrote her debut feature Loving Couples (1964)—a Swedish drama based on one of Agnes von Krusenstjerna’s seven-part Swedish feminism literary series, The Misses von Pahlen. Zetterling focuses on three women and their romantic relationships, their connection to motherhood, and the solidarity of their gender. (KIZJ: 3.5/5)
It’s remarkable to have a film with no men present that is entirely focused on women simply existing together. But more importantly, the way that it deals with aging and mortality is unique.
Full of conversations from the center of action at organizers’ meetings and on picket lines, the documentary gives a vivid picture of the mineworkers’ lives and dreams. (AEL: 4.5/5)
TCM will feature films from 12 decades—and representing 44 countries—totaling 100 classic and current titles all created by women. Read more about this here! Director and writer Nicole Holofcener’s movie Lovely and Amazing (2001) explores essential topics circulating in the media today––the never-ending fight for equality. From racial stereotypes to gender expectations, this film poignantly expresses […]
TCM will feature films from 12 decades—and representing 44 countries—totaling 100 classic and current titles all created by women. Read more about this here! Ana Mariscal’s El Camino is a historical document for anyone who wishes to study Franco era Spain, though the production values are admittedly not amazing. The film’s significance both to history and […]
The Watermelon Woman focuses on a queer black novice filmmaker’s quest for clarity on the life of a fictitious Black actress of the 30s and 40s who was known for her roles as the archetypical “mammy”. Director Cheryl Dunye deftly yet subtly comments on racism in its stealthiest forms in this funny and conversation-sparking film. (RMM: 4/5)
Written and directed by and starring Barbara Loden, Wanda is a thoughtful, empathetic, and harshly realistic character study. It follows Wanda, a mid-thirties divorcee trying to find her way without a home or a job and alone in the middle of Pennsylvania. (JRL: 4.5/5)
Maria João Ganga directs Hollow City (2002), a narrative feature set in Luanda during the Angolan civil war in 1991. Originally titled Na Cidade Vazia, (translated as In the Empty City), this film portrays the effects of a civil war on its people through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy. KIZJ (3.5/5)
In 1926, German director Lotte Reiniger completed her 65-minute long silhouette animation feature The Adventures of Prince Achmed. The film was influenced by author Hanna Diyab’s tales “The Story of Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Perī-Bānū” and “Aladdin” from the collection of literature in One Thousand and One Nights first published in 1775. After three years of work with a small team of animators, Reiniger brought these ancient stories back to life for new audiences to see the magical journey of Prince Achmed on the theatrical screen. KIZJ (4.5/5)
In 1931, Leontine Sagan directed the feature-length German film Mädchen in Uniform (Maidens in Uniform). The German-language cult classic follows “Manuela von Meinhardis” (Hertha Thiele), a young girl who is enrolled at a boarding school for girls, as she adjusts to life in a strict, all-female environment. (KIZJ: 4/5)
A modern classic, Chantal Ackerman’s debut Je Tu Il Elle is both an ambiguous and precise film that deals with the cycles of desire, deprivation, and gratification that come with living in the modern world. (FEA: 5/5).
Expertly directed by Lina Wertmüller, the film is full of stunning visuals, even if it’s a difficult watch for a modern audience.
Based on the novel by Mia Couto and written and directed by Teresa Prata, Sleepwalking Land is about a young boy, lost amidst a war-torn Mozambique, looking for his family and his home. It is a timeless story of strength, perseverance, and the power of family love—both genetic and chosen. (JRL: 3.5/5)
A much-needed phenomenon occurs in films made by women that feature strong female leads, and that is the faithful portrayal of issues that women often have to face when breaking away from traditional roles. By FF2 Associate Farah Elattar This concept is brilliantly portrayed in Radioactive (Dir. Marjane Satrapi, 2019), and The Dancer (Dir. Stephanie […]
In a town ruled by ignorance and public stonings, a married couple works to bring their locally successful puppet show to the big stage. When the husband’s blinding ambition leads to tragedy, the wife seeks vengeance. Horror, comedy, and satire prove an interesting and entertaining – though not always compelling – mix in Mirrah Foulkes’ […]
A film by Marjane Satrapi, Radioactive presents itself as a biopic with a twist. On top of capturing the complicated life of Marie Curie, it successfully examines the hardships that come with being a female scientist in early 1900s France. (FEA 4/5) Review by FF2 associate Farah Elattar Satrapi sets the scene by portraying “Maria […]
Based on a novel written by Amy Tan, the 1993 film The Joy Luck Club follows women of four Chinese immigrant families who share their stories about life and hardship. Things don’t come easily to them. (SYJ: 4/5)