I’m writing in the field today to discuss our March prompt — reporting from lively Salt Lake City, Utah.
This month we are going to focus on a personal blind spot of mine, films by female directors. Along with this month and going forward I’m going to make a strong effort to focus on films directed by women. I recently purchased Alicia Malone’s “The Female Gaze,” which I plan to use as reference material for upcoming watches. It is ridiculous how few female-directed films I’ve seen.
I don’t have any excuse. With all this information at our fingertips, it’s inexplicable that I haven’t made an effort to tap into these resources until now. The only female director’s career I’ve actually followed has been Sofia Coppola. Penny Marshall, Nora Ephron and Kathryn Bigelow have also made a mark. Besides the Shame, what really pushed me to find female-directed films were some statistics Brian Saur (@bobfreelander) mentioned on Pure Cinema Podcast discussing Film Debuts with director Sean Baker. Brian discussed Elaine May’s A New Leaf. Between 1966 and 1971 no studio produced a female-directed film. In 1979, the Directors Guild of America created the Women’s Steering Committee, which released a study that showed between 1949 to 1979, 7,332 films were distributed through the major studios, of those only 14 films were directed by women and three of them were directed by Elaine May. Those are some shocking statistics, I don’t know the current stats but I assume the improvement has been negligible.
For the month of March, I’m planning to watch these films for the first time:
Ava DuVernay’s Selma
Elaine May’s A New Leaf
Elaine May’s Mikey and Nicky (a pick-up from Criterion’s recent flash sale)
Penny Marshall’s Awakenings
Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women (second pick-up from Criterion’s flash sale)
So for the month of March, let us know the female–directed films you plan to watch. You can reach us on twitter (@CinemaShame) or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. I am looking forward to the discussion and all the discovery.
@007hertzrumble has created a Cinema Shame Shop on Amazon with treasure trove of suggestions for female-directed films you need to watch.
Remember to share your Shame!