100 Great Films Directed or Written by Women


I have put together a collection of what I consider to be noteworthy films directed or written by women. There is no particular order to the list (I do not know if I could accurately rank so many films because I am that indecisive). These spectacular women moved me with their insight and perspective, the depth of their passion for their art, and for the ability to draw me to strong, raw emotion. Being a young woman who has just started working in the film industry, I feel so empowered seeing the brilliant work of female filmmakers from Agnès Varda to Maya Deren to Dee Rees to Greta Gerwig and more. Female voices and stories are extraordinarily important, and it is essential that we continue to support these amazing women as well as women who are just beginning to tell their stories.

Novitiate (2017)

Directed and written by Margaret Betts

In the early 1960s, during the Vatican II era, a young woman training to become a nun struggles with issues of faith, sexuality and the changing church.

The Love Witch (2016)

Directed, written and edited by Anna Biller (honestly she did everything)

Elaine, a beautiful young witch, is determined to find a man to love her. In her gothic Victorian apartment, she makes spells and potions and then picks up men and seduces them. However, her spells work too well, and she ends up with a string of hapless victims. When she finally meets the man of her dreams, her desperation to be loved will drive her to the brink of insanity and murder.

The Matrix (1999)

Directed and written by Lana and Lilly Wachowski

Set in the 22nd century, The Matrix tells the story of a computer hacker who joins a group of underground insurgents fighting the vast and powerful computers who now rule the earth.

Mudbound (2017)

Directed and written by Dee Rees with cinematography by Rachel Morrison

In the post–World War II South, two families are pitted against a barbaric social hierarchy and an unrelenting landscape as they simultaneously fight the battle at home and the battle abroad.

Mustang (2015)

Directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven and written by Ergüven and Alice Winocour

In a Turkish village, five orphaned sisters live under strict rule while members of their family prepare their arranged marriages.

Whale Rider (2002)

Directed and co-written by Niki Caro

On the east coast of New Zealand, the Whangara people believe their presence there dates back a thousand years or more to a single ancestor, Paikea, who escaped death when his canoe capsized by riding to shore on the back of a whale. From then on, Whangara chiefs, always the first-born, always male, have been considered Paikea’s direct descendants. Pai, an 11-year-old girl in a patriarchal New Zealand tribe, believes she is destined to be the new chief. But her grandfather Koro is bound by tradition to pick a male leader. Pai loves Koro more than anyone in the world, but she must fight him and a thousand years of tradition to fulfill her destiny.

The Beguiled (2017)

Directed and co-written by Sofia Coppola

During the Civil War, at a Southern girls’ boarding school, young women take in an injured enemy soldier. As they provide refuge and tend to his wounds, the house is taken over with sexual tension and dangerous rivalries, and taboos are broken in an unexpected turn of events.

Brave (2012)

Co-directed and co-written by Brenda Chapman

Brave is set in the mystical Scottish Highlands, where Mérida is the princess of a kingdom ruled by King Fergus and Queen Elinor. An unruly daughter and an accomplished archer, Mérida one day defies a sacred custom of the land and inadvertently brings turmoil to the kingdom. In an attempt to set things right, Mérida seeks out an eccentric old Wise Woman and is granted an ill-fated wish. Also figuring into Mérida’s quest—and serving as comic relief—are the kingdom’s three lords: the enormous Lord MacGuffin, the surly Lord Macintosh, and the disagreeable Lord Dingwall.

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6 in May, 2011.

Beach Rats (2017)

Directed and written by Eliza Hittman

An aimless teenager on the outer edges of Brooklyn struggles to escape his bleak home life and navigate questions of self-identity, as he balances his time between his delinquent friends, a potential new girlfriend, and older men he meets online.

Lady Bird (2017)

Directed and written by Greta Gerwig

A California high school student plans to escape from her family and small town by going to college in New York.

Loving Vincent (2017)

Co-directed, co-written and co-edited by Dorota Kobiela

The film brings the paintings of Vincent van Gogh to life to tell his remarkable story. Every one of the 65,000 frames of the film is an oil-painting hand-painted by 125 professional oil-painters who traveled from all across the world to the Loving Vincent studios in Poland and Greece to be a part of the production. As remarkable as Vincent’s brilliant paintings are his passionate and ill-fated life and mysterious death.

Pariah (2011)

Directed and written by Dee Rees

A Brooklyn teenager juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship, heartbreak, and family in a desperate search for sexual expression.

Sunshine Cleaning (2008)

Directed by Christine Jeffs and written by Megan Holly

A single mother and her slacker sister find an unexpected way to turn their lives around in this off-beat dramatic comedy. To raise the tuition to send her young son to private school, the mom starts an unusual business—a biohazard removal/crime scene clean-up service.

Fish Tank (2009)

Directed and written by Andrea Arnold

Everything changes for 15-year-old Mia when her mum brings home a new boyfriend.

Monster (2003)

Directed and written by Patty Jenkins

An emotionally scarred highway hooker shoots a sadistic trick who rapes her and ultimately becomes America’s first female serial killer.

Belle (2013)

Directed by Amma Asante

Belle is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield and his wife, Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.

The Breadwinner (2017)

Directed by Nora Twomey and written by Deborah Ellis and Anita Doron

A headstrong young girl in Afghanistan, ruled by the Taliban, disguises herself as a boy to provide for her family.

Blackfish (2013)

Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Notorious killer whale Tilikum is responsible for the deaths of three individuals, including a top killer whale trainer. Blackfish shows the sometimes devastating consequences of keeping such intelligent and sentient creatures in captivity.

American Honey (2016)

Directed and written by Andrea Arnold

A teenage girl with nothing to lose joins a traveling magazine sales crew and gets caught up in a whirlwind of hard partying, law-bending and young love as she crisscrosses the Midwest with a band of misfits.

Raw (2016)

Directed and written by Julia Ducournau

In Justine’s family, everyone is a vet and a vegetarian. At 16, she’s a gifted teen ready to take on her first year in vet school, where her older sister also studies. There, she gets no time to settle: hazing starts right away. Justine is forced to eat raw meat for the first time in her life. Unexpected consequences emerge as her true self begins to form.

Certain Women (2016)

Directed and written by Kelly Reichardt

The lives of four women intersect in small-town America, where each is imperfectly blazing a trail.

Winter’s Bone (2010)

Directed by Debra Granik and co-written by Granik and Anne Rosellini

Seventeen year-old Ree Dolly sets out to track down her father, who put their house up for his bail bond and then disappeared. If she fails, Ree and her family will be turned out into the Ozark woods. Challenging her outlaw kin’s code of silence and risking her life, Ree hacks through the lies, evasions and threats offered up by her relatives and begins to piece together the truth.

Wonder Woman (2017)

Directed by Patty Jenkins

An Amazon princess comes to the world of Man in the grips of the First World War to confront the forces of evil and bring an end to human conflict.

By The Sea (2015)

Directed and written by Angelina Jolie

Set in France during the mid-1970s, Vanessa, a former dancer, and her husband, Roland, an American writer, travel the country together. They seem to be growing apart, but when they linger in one quiet, seaside town they begin to draw close to some of its more vibrant inhabitants, such as a local bar/café-keeper and a hotel owner.

The Mourning Forest (2007)

Directed by Naomi Kawase

A caregiver at a small retirement home takes one of her patients for a drive to the country, but the two wind up stranded in a forest where they embark on an exhausting and enlightening two-day journey.

How Far She Went (2017)

Directed by Ugla Hauksdottir and written by Chloe Lenihan

Adapted from the Flannery O’Connor Award-winning short story by Mary Hood, How Far She Went takes an unflinching look at family, personal sacrifice, and the lengths we will go for those we love.

Obvious Child (2014)

Directed by Gillian Robespierre and written by Robespierre, Karen Maine, and Elisabeth Holm

An immature, newly unemployed comic must navigate the murky waters of adulthood after her fling with a graduate student results in an unplanned pregnancy.

Tomboy (2011)

Directed and written by Céline Sciamma

A French family with two daughters, 10-year-old Laure and 6-year-old Jeanne, moves to a new neighborhood during the summer holidays. With her tomboy ways, Laure is immediately mistaken for a boy by the local kids and passes herself off as Mickaël.

Miss Julie (2014)

Directed by Liv Ullmann

Over the course of a midsummer night in Fermanagh in 1890, an unsettled daughter of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy encourages her father’s valet to seduce her.

La Cienaga (2001)

Directed by Lucrecia Martel

Chekhov in contemporary Argentina. Mecha and Gregorio are at their rundown country place near La Ciénaga with their teen children. It’s hot. The adults drink constantly; Mecha cuts herself, engendering a trip to the hospital and a visit from her son José. A cousin, Tali, brings her children. The kids are on their own, sunbathing by the filthy pool, dancing in town, running in the hills with shotguns, driving cars without licenses. One of the teen girls loves Isabel, a family servant constantly accused of stealing. Mother and son, son and sisters, teen and Isabel are in each other’s beds and bathrooms with a creepy intimacy. With no adults paying attention, who’s at risk?

Ginger & Rosa (2012)

Directed and written by Sally Potter

A look at the lives of two teenage girls—inseparable friends Ginger and Rosa—growing up in 1960s London as the Cuban Missile Crisis looms, and the pivotal event comes to redefine their relationship.

The Loneliest Planet (2011)

Directed and written by Julia Loktev

A local guide takes a young couple through a twisted backpacking trip across the Georgian wilderness.

Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)

Directed by Agnès Varda

Varda eloquently captures Paris in the sixties with this real-time portrait of a singer set adrift in the city as she awaits test results of a biopsy. A chronicle of the minutes of one woman’s life, Cléo from 5 to 7 is a spirited mix of vivid vérité and melodrama, featuring a score by Michel Legrand and cameos by Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina.

Julie & Julia (2009)

Directed by Nora Ephron

Julia Child and Julie Powell—both of whom wrote memoirs—find their lives intertwined. Though separated by time and space, both women are at loose ends… until they discover that with the right combination of passion, fearlessness and butter, anything is possible.

Water Lilies (2007)

Directed by Céline Sciamma

Set during a sultry summer in a French suburb, Marie is desperate to join the local pool’s synchronized swimming team, but is her interest solely for the sake of sport or for a chance to get close to Floriane, the bad girl of the team? Sciamma and the two leads capture the uncertainty of teenage sexuality with a sympathetic eye in this delicate drama of the angst of coming-of-age.

Lovesong (2016)

Directed by So Yong Kim

Neglected by her husband, Sarah embarks on an impromptu road trip with her young daughter and her best friend, Mindy. Along the way, the dynamic between the two friends intensifies before circumstances force them apart. Years later, Sarah attempts to rebuild their intimate connection in the days before Mindy’s wedding.

Things To Come (2016)

Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve

Nathalie teaches philosophy at a high school in Paris. She is passionate about her job and particularly enjoys passing on the pleasure of thinking. Married with two children, she divides her time between her family, former students and her very possessive mother. One day, Nathalie’s husband announces he is leaving her for another woman. With freedom thrust upon her, Nathalie must reinvent her life.

Battle of the Sexes (2017)

Co-directed by Valerie Faris

The true story of the 1973 tennis match between world number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs.

The Fits (2015)

Directed by Anna Rose Holmer and co-written by Holmer, Saela Davis, Lisa Kjerulff

Toni, a tomboyish boxer, lands a spot on an after-school drill team in the West End community of Cincinnati. She eagerly absorbs routines, masters drills, and even pierces her own ears to fit in. It’s the joy of her first friendships and her discovery of dance. Shortly after Toni joins the team, most of the girls on the team suffer from episodes of fainting, swooning, and shaking in a seemingly uncontrollable catharsis. Nobody can explain the mysterious outbreak. These fits soon transform into a rite of passage as the trauma draws the other girls closer together. Caught between her need for control and her desire for acceptance, Toni must decide how far she will go to embody her new ideals.

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Co-directed by Valerie Faris

A family loaded with quirky, colorful characters piles into an old van and road trips to California for little Olive to compete in a beauty pageant.

Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)

Co-directed and written by Maya Deren

A woman returning home falls asleep and has vivid dreams that may or may not be happening in reality. Through repetitive images and complete mismatching of the objective view of time and space, her dark inner desires play out on-screen.

The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

Directed and written by Kelly Fremon Craig

Two high school girls are best friends until one dates the other’s older brother, who is totally his sister’s nemesis.

Submarine (2016)

Directed by Mounia Akl and written by Akl and Clara Roquet

Under the imminent threat of Lebanon’s garbage crisis, Hala, a wild child inside of a woman, is the only one to refuse evacuation, clinging to whatever remains of home.

The Bad Batch (2016)

Directed and written by Ana Lily Amirpour

In a desert wasteland in Texas, a muscled cannibal breaks one important rule: don’t play with your food.

The Virgin Suicides (1999)

Directed and co-written by Sofia Coppola

A group of male friends become obsessed with five mysterious sisters who are sheltered by their strict, religious parents.

Frida (2002)

Directed by Julia Taymor

Frida chronicles the life Frida Kahlo shared unflinchingly and openly with Diego Rivera, as the young couple took the art world by storm. From her complex and enduring relationship with her mentor and husband to her illicit and controversial affair with Leon Trotsky, to her provocative and romantic entanglements with women, Kahlo lived a bold and uncompromising life as a political, artistic, and sexual revolutionary.

Strangerland (2015)

Directed by Kim Farrant and co-written by Fiona Seres

Newly arrived to a remote desert town, Catherine and Matthew are tormented by a suspicion when their two teenage children mysteriously vanish.

Red (2017)

Directed and written by Del Kathryn Burton

A savage tale of female power, inspired by the mating rituals of the female Australian Red Back Spider.

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Directed by Karyn Kusama

A newly possessed cheerleader turns into a killer who specializes in offing her male classmates. Can her best friend put an end to the horror?

Girlhood (2014)

Directed and written by Céline Sciamma

Oppressed by her family setting, dead-end school prospects and the boys’ law in the neighborhood, Marieme starts a new life after meeting a group of three free-spirited girls. She changes her name, her dress code, and quits school to be accepted in the gang, hoping that this will be a way to freedom.

The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017)

Directed by Niki Caro and written by Angela Workman

The account of keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, Jan and Antonina Zabinski, who helped save hundreds of people and animals during the Nazi invasion of Poland.

Lost In Translation (2003)

Directed and written by Sofia Coppola

Two lost souls visiting Tokyo—the young, neglected wife of a photographer and a washed-up movie star shooting a TV commercial—find an odd solace and pensive freedom to be real in each other’s company, away from their lives in America.

First They Killed My Father (2017)

Directed by Angelina Jolie and written by Jolie and Loung Ung

A five-year-old girl embarks on a harrowing quest for survival amid the sudden rise and terrifying reign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

13th (2016)

Directed and co-written by Ava Duvernay

An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality.

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017)

Directed and written by Angela Robinson

The unconventional life of Dr. William Marston, the Harvard psychologist and inventor who helped invent the modern lie detector test and created Wonder Woman in 1941.

Palo Alto (2013)

Directed and written by Gia Coppola

Palo Alto weaves together three stories of teenage lust, boredom, and self-destruction: shy, sensitive April, torn between an illicit flirtation with her soccer coach and an unrequited crush on sweet stoner Teddy; Emily, who offers sexual favors to any boy to crosses her path; and the increasingly dangerous exploits of Teddy and his best friend Fred, whose behavior may or may not be sociopathic.

Faces Places (2017)

Co-directed by Agnès Varda

Varda and photographer/muralist JR journey through rural France and form an unlikely friendship.

Paris Can Wait (2016)

Directed by Eleanor Coppola

A woman at a crossroads traveling to Cannes along with her successful film producer husband finds herself on a two-day road trip with his business associate. What follows is a carefree journey replete with diversions involving picturesque sites, fine food and wine, humor, wisdom and romance—reawakening Anne’s senses and a new lust for life.

The Bling Ring (2013)

Directed and written by Sofia Coppola

Inspired by actual events, a group of fame-obsessed teenagers use the Internet to track celebrities’ whereabouts to rob their homes.

Black Beauty (1994) 

Directed by Carolina Thompson

The fates of horses, and the people who own and command them, are revealed as Black Beauty narrates the circle of his life.

Summer 1993 (2017)

Directed and written by Carla Simón

After her mother’s death, six-year-old Frida is sent to her uncle’s family to live with them in the countryside. But Frida finds it hard to forget her mother and adapt to her new life.

Clueless (1995)

Directed and written by Amy Heckerling

Shallow, rich and socially successful Cher is at the top of her Beverly Hills high school’s pecking scale. Seeing herself as a matchmaker, Cher first coaxes two teachers into dating each other. Emboldened by her success, she decides to give hopelessly klutzy new student Tai a makeover. When Tai becomes more popular than she is, Cher realizes that her disapproving ex-stepbrother was right about how misguided she was—and falls for him.

Selma (2014)

Directed and co-written by Ava Duvernay

Selma, as in Alabama, the place where segregation in the South was at its worst, leading to a march that ended in violence, forcing a famous statement by President Lyndon B. Johnson, which ultimately led to the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

What Will People Say (2017)

Directed and written by Iram Haq

Sixteen-year-old Nisha lives a double life. At home with her family she is the perfect Pakistani daughter, but when out with her friends, she is a normal Norwegian teenager. When her father catches her in bed with her boyfriend, Nisha’s two worlds brutally collide. To set an example, Nisha’s parents decide to kidnap her and place her with relatives in Pakistan. Here, in a country she has never been to before, Nisha is forced to adapt to her parents’ culture.

The Tale (2018)

Directed and written by Jennifer Fox

An investigation into one woman’s memory as she‘s forced to re-examine her first sexual relationship, and the stories we tell ourselves to survive.

Strange Weather (2016)

Directed and written by Katherin Dieckmann

Years after her son’s suicide, a woman longs to confront both the past and a friend of his who took his business idea.

The Proposal (2009)

Directed by Anne Fletcher

When she learns she’s in danger of losing her visa status and being deported, overbearing book editor Margaret Tate forces her put-upon assistant, Andrew Paxton, to marry her.

You Were Never Really Here (2017)

Directed and co-written by Lynne Ramsay

A traumatised veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe’s nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered, leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening.

The Piano (1993)

Directed and written by Jane Campion

After a long voyage from Scotland, pianist Ada McGrath and her young daughter, Flora, are left with all their belongings, including a piano, on a New Zealand beach. Ada, who has been mute since childhood, has been sold into marriage to a local man named Alisdair Stewart. Making little attempt to warm up to Alisdair, Ada soon becomes intrigued by his Maori-friendly acquaintance, George Baines, leading to tense, life-altering conflicts.

Tallulah (2016)

Directed and written by Sian Heder

Desperate to be rid of her toddler, a dissatisfied Beverly Hills housewife hires a stranger to babysit and ends up getting much more than she bargained for.

Bridget Jones’ Baby (2016)

Directed by Sharon Maguire

Breaking up with Mark Darcy leaves Bridget Jones over 40 and single again. Feeling she has everything under control, Jones decides to focus on her career as a top news producer. Suddenly, her love life comes back from the dead when she meets a dashing and handsome American named Jack. Things couldn’t be better, until Bridget discovers she is pregnant. Now, the befuddled mom-to-be must figure out if the proud papa is Mark or Jack.

Queen of Katwe (2016)

Directed by Mira Nair

A young girl overcomes her disadvantaged upbringing in the slums of Uganda to become a Chess master.

Ratcatcher (1999)

Directed and written by Lynne Ramsay

James Gillespie is twelve years old. The world he knows is changing. Haunted by a secret, he has become a stranger in his own family. He is drawn to the canal where he creates a world of his own. He finds an awkward tenderness with Margaret Anne, a vulnerable fourteen year old expressing a need for love in all the wrong ways, and befriends Kenny, who possesses an unusual innocence in spite of the harsh surroundings.

2 Days in Paris (2007)

Directed, written and edited by Julie Deply

Adam Goldberg delivers “an uproarious study in transatlantic culture panic” as Jack, an anxious, hypochondriac-prone New Yorker vacationing throughout Europe with his breezy, free-spirited Parisian girlfriend, Marion. But when they make a two-day stop in Marion’s hometown, the couple’s romantic trip takes a turn as Jack is exposed to Marion’s sexually perverse and emotionally unstable family.

Beyond the Lights (2014)

Directed and written by Gina Prince-Bythewood

Noni Jean is a hot new rising star. But not all is what it seems, and the pressure causes Noni to nearly fall apart—until she meets Kaz Nicol, a promising young cop and aspiring politician who’s been assigned to her detail. Can Kaz’s love give Noni the courage to find her own voice and break free to become the artist she was meant to be?

To The Bone (2017)

Directed and written by Marti Noxon

A young woman dealing with anorexia meets an unconventional doctor who challenges her to face her condition and embrace life.

Sticky Notes (2016)

Directed and written by Amanda Harlib

The story of an emotionally detached backup dancer named Athena, who must return home to Florida to help care for her estranged father, Jack, after he gets diagnosed with cancer. There she must contend with Jack’s irresponsible lifestyle while looking after six-year-old Honey Bunny who is only beginning to grasp the err in Jack’s ways.

Maggie’s Plan (2015)

Directed by Rebecca Miller and written by Miller and Karen Rinaldi

Maggie ’s plan to have a baby on her own is derailed when she falls in love with John, a married man, destroying his volatile marriage to the brilliant and impossible Georgette. But one daughter and three years later, Maggie is out of love and in a quandary: what do you do when you suspect your man and his ex-wife are actually perfect for each other?

Helen (2009)

Directed and written by Sandra Nettelbeck

On the outside, Helen has it all—a loving family and a successful career—but when her suppressed mental illness resurfaces, the world crumbles around her. Crippled by depression, Helen finds solace through her friendship with Mathilda, a kindred spirit struggling with bipolar disorder.

La Pointe-Courte (1955)

Directed and written by Agnès Varda

The troubled relationship of a married couple on vacation brushes beside the ongoing conflict between fishing families and the authorities in La Pointe-Courte, Séte.

The Kids Are All Right (2010)

Directed and co-written by Lisa Cholodenko

Two women, Nic and Jules, brought a son and daughter into the world through artificial insemination. When one of their children reaches age, both kids go behind their mothers’ backs to meet with the donor. Life becomes so much more interesting when the father, two mothers and children start to become attached to each other.

Miss Representation (2011)

Directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom and written by Newsom, Jessica Congdon, Claire Dietrich, and Jenny Raskin

The film exposes how American youth are being sold the concept that women and girls’ value lies in their youth, beauty and sexuality. Explores the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America, and challenges the media’s limited portrayal of what it means to be a powerful woman. It’s time to break that cycle of mis-truths.

The Second Mother (2015)

Directed and written by Anna Muylaert

After leaving her daughter Jessica in a small town in Pernambuco to be raised by relatives, Val spends the next thirteen years working as a nanny to Fabinho in São Paulo. She has financial stability but has to live with the guilt of having not raised Jessica herself. As Fabinho’s university entrance exams approach, Jessica reappears in her life and seems to want to give her mother a second chance. However, Jessica has not been raised to be a servant and her very existence will turn Val’s routine on its head. With precision and humour, Muylaert turns her eye on the subtle and powerful forces that keep rigid class structures in place and how the youth may just be the ones to shake it all up.

And the Whole Sky Fit in the Dead Cow’s Eye (2016)

Directed and written by Francisca Alegría

Emeteria is visited by a ghost she believes has come to take her to the afterlife. But he has more devastating news.

The Secret Garden (1993)

Directed by Agnieszka Holland and written by Frances Hodgson Burnett and Caroline Thompson

A young British girl born and reared in India loses her neglectful parents in an earthquake. She is returned to England to live at her uncle’s castle. Her uncle is very distant due to the loss of his wife ten years before. Neglected once again, she begins exploring the estate and discovers a garden that has been locked and neglected. Aided by one of the servants’ boys, she begins restoring the garden, and eventually discovers some other secrets of the manor.

The Dressmaker (2015)

Directed and written by Jocelyn Moorhouse

In 1950s Australia, beautiful, talented dressmaker Tilly returns to her tiny hometown to right wrongs from her past. As she tries to reconcile with her mother, she starts to fall in love while transforming the fashion of the town.

Across the Universe (2007)

Directed by Julia Taymor

When young dockworker Jude leaves Liverpool to find his estranged father in America, he is swept up by the waves of change re-shaping the nation. Jude falls in love with Lucy, a rich but sheltered American girl who joins the growing anti-war movement in New York’s Greenwich Village. As the body count in Vietnam rises, political tensions at home spiral out of control and the star-crossed lovers find themselves in a psychedelic world gone mad.

Wuthering Heights (2011)

Directed by Andrea Arnold and adapted by Olivia Hetreed from the novel by Emily Brontë

A poor boy of unknown origins is rescued from poverty and taken in by the Earnshaw family where he develops an intense relationship with his young foster sister, Cathy. Based on the classic novel by Emily Bronte.

Mamma Mia! (2008)

Directed by Phyllida Lloyd and written by Catherine Johnson

An independent, single mother who owns a small hotel on a Greek island is about to marry off the spirited young daughter she’s raised alone. But, the daughter has secretly invited three of her mother’s ex-lovers in the hopes of finding her biological father.

Cameraperson (2016)

Directed by Kirsten Johnson and written by Lisa Freedman and Doris Baizley

As a visually radical memoir, Cameraperson draws on the remarkable footage filmmaker Kirsten Johnson has shot and reframes it in ways that illuminate moments and situations that have personally affected her. What emerges is an elegant meditation on the relationship between truth and the camera frame, as Johnson transforms scenes that have been presented on Festival screens as one kind of truth into another kind of story—one about personal journey, craft, and direct human connection

Wild (2016)

Directed and written by Nicolette Krebitz

An anarchist young woman breaks the tacit contract with civilization and fearlessly decides on a life without hypocrisy or an obligatory safety net.

A Tale of Love and Darkness (2015)

Directed and co-written by Natalie Portman

A story about the childhood of Oz in Jerusalem and his youth in the Kibbutz during the British Mandate and the first days of the state of Israel. The plot describes the relationship between young Oz to his mother and his first steps as a writer.

Wadjda (2012)

Directed and written by Haifaa Al-Mansour

Wadjda is a ten-year-old girl living in a suburb of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Although she lives in a conservative world, Wadjda is fun loving, entrepreneurial and always pushing the boundaries of what she can get away with. After a fight with her friend Abdullah, a neighborhood boy she shouldn’t be playing with, Wadjda sees a beautiful green bicycle for sale. She wants the bicycle desperately so she can beat Abdullah in a race. But Wadjda’s mother won’t allow it, fearing repercussions from a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl’s virtue. So Wadjda decides to try and raise the money herself…

Morvern Callar (2002)

Directed and co-written by Lynne Ramsay

Morvern Callar wakes on Christmas morning to discover her troubled boyfriend has committed suicide, leaving behind the unpublished manuscript to his first novel and a sum of money intended to pay for his burial. Instead, Morvern attempts to use both to reinvent her life.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)

Directed and written by Lorene Scafaria

As an asteroid nears Earth, a man finds himself alone after his wife leaves in a panic. He decides to take a road trip to reunite with his high school sweetheart. Accompanying him is a neighbor who inadvertently puts a wrench in his plan.

The Intern (2015)

Directed and written by Nancy Meyers

Seventy-year-old widower Ben Whittaker has discovered retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin.

Ida (2013)

Directed by Paweł Pawlikowski and written by Pawlikowski and Rebecca Lenkiewicz

Anna, a young novitiate in 1960s Poland, is on the verge of taking her vows when she discovers a family secret dating back to the years of the German occupation.

The Lure (2015)

Directed by Agnieszka Smoczynska

Two mermaid sisters, who end up performing at a nightclub, face cruel and bloody choices when one of them falls in love with a beautiful young man.

Toni Erdmann (2016)

Directed and written by Maren Ade

Without warning a father comes to visit his daughter abroad. He believes she lost her humor and therefore surprises her with a rampage of jokes.

Film descriptions via Letterboxd/IMDb

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Jenna Kalishman

BA in English and film studies. Early English literature as well as fantasy and sci-fi fanatic. Bylines include Lithium Magazine, Hey Alma, and Flip Screened. @jenkalish on socials.

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