6 Movies from Badass Female Directors


Without cheating by Googling it, how many female directors can you name on two hands? Honestly, if you manage to get past ten I'm impress, and likelihood is you're a bit of a film buff! Sadly, it seems that only those true movie nerds among us really have a grasp on the awesome female directors of the world. Mainstream audiences just do not have a clue about female directors, which is obviously a terrible travesty because a lot of their work is fucking incredible! Loads of the films I really identified with growing up now make so much more sense as I realise they were directed by ladies. So I thought I'd share some of my favourites with you as well as my top film to-do list from these talented women.


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Based on a true story, The Bling Ring follows a group of fame obsessed teens whose obsession eventually leads to them breaking into and burgling the homes of their favourite celebrities. Director Sophia Coppola is a master at capturing the essence and interests of the teenage girl and The Bling Ring is probably the first film of note to focus on the modern day phenomena of the world of social media and the preoccupation with celebrity. Although extreme in its narrative and the dramatic lengths our characters go to to literally have everything their idols have, the film is a great commentary on the dangers of social media culture and the emulation of celebrity deities.

Watch if: you're a lover of reality TV and celebrity lifestyle


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A kind of coming-of-age gone wrong, Thirteen depicts the wild teenage rebellion of Tracy as she rejects every essence of her childhood in the most extreme ways possible. Director Catherine Hardwicke does an excellent turn portraying another phenomenon of the 21st century - that of the girl-woman: the female teenager in a rush to embrace her new found adulthood before yet having the experience to properly deal with the vices of the adult world. From sexualisation of minors to drug abuse to petty crime, Thirteen explores the destructive nature of adolescent defiance through its effects female relationships, both with family and friends. A powerful and sometimes unsettling look at the way the modern world deals with teenage girls.

Watch if: you ever went through a rebellious phase


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Red Road is a gritty look through a British social-realistic lens at the resilience of the matriarch and the lengths she will go to for closure and revenge. Director Andrea Arnolds uses incredibly subtle and suggestive hints throughout, building up to a shattering crescendo when the pieces finally fall into place. Red Road explores the use of female sexuality as a weapon and plays with themes of innocence, justice and forgiveness. A powerfully underrated movie that epitomises the phrase "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned".

Watch if: you've ever fantasised about the ultimate revenge plan 

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Now infamous for her borderline pornographic and incredibly frank depictions of sex in her films, director Catherine Breillat tackles the issue of sibling rivalry in her signature style. Following two young girls on vacation, À Ma Soeur! utilises the catalyst of the teenage holiday romance to highlight the blunt reality of sisterhood in gory, often unflinching detail. What is truly captivating about Breillat in a world usually populated with male estimations of what it's like growing up as teenage sisters is how accurate a film renowned for being extreme actually is in its portrayal. À Ma Soeur! is grippingly realistic, often harsh but never shys away from truth.

Watch if: you grew up as a teenager with sister

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Subverting the expectations of what it is to be a mother, We Need To Talk About Kevin takes a stark look at one woman's struggle to fulfil her role as loving matriarch when faced with the fact that her son is a psychopath. Director Lynne Ramsay places tragic mother Eva Katchadourian as the key focus of our attention in this frustrating depiction of a woman's endeavour to satisfy her most primal role. It is infuriating to see protagonist Eva exhausted by her son's psychopathic playing off of her against her husband and her attempts to not only become the 'good mum' that society expects her to be but also her battle to bring to light the truth of the situation she is dealing with. A truly unique take on the role and expectations of the matriarch in modern day Western society.

Watch if: you have children of your own


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A documentary taking an in-depth look at the emerging drag scene in 1980s New York City. Unlike many documentaries on subculture, director Jennie Livingstone manages to provide a periscope look into the outlandish and extravagant world of drag without a hint of judgement or objectification. Although the film does tackle some of the hard truths about being gay in 1980s New York, the overall tone of the film is one of celebration and joy and I guarantee you will emerge from this movie feeling jubilant and empowered. You'll also come away with an air of clarification about the origins of oh so many pop culture tropes, including Voguing! 

Watch if: you're a fan of RuPaul's Drag Race or drag subculture in general

That should be a good bunch to start you off on the road to being fluent in fantastic female filmmakers! And I'm not innocent in this game, so I've given  myself some homework too. Check it out:

Waitress (Adrienne Shelly, 2007)
The Decline of Western Civilisation (Penelope Spheeris, 1981)
Monsoon Wedding (Mira Nair, 2002)
Whale Rider (Niki Caro, 2003)
Belle (Amma Asante, 2014)
But I'm A Cheerleader (Jamie Babbit, 1999)
Tomboy (Céline Sciamma, 2011)

That's it for now. So get watching, take to Twitter and scream (ie, write in caps) about how awesome female directors are!

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