10 of My Favourite Underrated Female Directed Films

Excited to be writing my first film related post on this blog! I used to write film reviews, but I never continued because I find them really difficult to write. I also don’t enjoy reading reviews usually, so writing them wasn’t ideal.

September 7-17 is TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) and it has gotten me in such a movie mood. I considered doing a youtube video on this post but my channel is suffering so I’m just gonna write this as a blog post haha. I will be writing a TIFF themed post after the festival ends so look out for that sometime around the end of September!

Because school has started and I’ve been at TIFF almost every day, I haven’t had as much time to read as usual, so I thought that instead of not posting on here for a bit, I’d write a film post!

All these films listed are films that I have seen, enjoyed, and are female directed. They are not in any specific order.

  • Buster’s Mal Heart directed by Sarah Adina Smith

Buster’s Mal Heart was the first film I saw at TIFF in 2016 where I had the pleasure to meet the director. Sarah Adina Smith created one of my new favourite movies of all time for reasons I can’t really explain. This film is a lot of fun, in a mysterious sort of way. It is different, incredibly acted, and amazingly well directed. I was first interested in this because the main actor in it is Rami Malek, who is my favourite actor, but I ended up loving the complex, psychological thriller type story! Please Please watch this film, I really think this is INCREDIBLY underrated, and I can’t wait to see future films from Smith.

  • Mustang directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven

Deniz Gamze Ergüven is a French-Turkish director who is really making a name for herself recently. Mustang, which was released in 2015, won the ‘César Award for Best First Feature Film’ as well as being nominated for the foreign language film Academy Award. This film centres around the bond of sisters as they are suddenly beginning to be arranged into marriages. Ergüven’s newest feature, Kings, premiered at TIFF this year.

  • The Edge of Seventeen directed by Kelly Fremon Craig

Another film I saw at TIFF in 2016 was The Edge of Seventeen, where I was very pleasantly surprised with how great it was. This film is truly underrated. It is a great reflection of accurate teen life while remaining honest, funny, and creative. The acting is great by all the actors and the comedy is hilarious. If you are a teen looking for a movie about teen life that feels like it was made by teens for teens, this is for you.

  • 13th directed by Ava Duvernay

This documentary by Ava Duvernay about the American prison system and how “it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality” (x) is something everybody needs to watch. The format, directing, writing and information in it is perfectly aligned with the narration and images. Ava Duvernay is one of the leading female directors currently and she continues to tell incredible and important stories. 13th is easily available through Netflix and incredibly eye-opening.

  • Casting Jon Benet directed by Kitty Green

Another documentary, Casting Jon Benet is the most clever and creative documentary format I have seen. People interested in true crime and unsolved crimes would be aware of the story of Jon Benet, and this documentary tells the story of the case through the lens of casting the actors to play the characters in a movie. I was blown away with how interesting the format of this documentary was and it was a great way to hear the opinions of the case from a variety of people.

  • Girlhood directed by Céline Sciamma

Admittedly, I watched this a very long time ago and remember very little of the actual story, but I do remember loving it. Girlhood is a French film that follows a girl who ends up joining a gang. The acting by Karidja Touré, who plays the main, blew me away. I hopefully will find the time to rewatch this sometime soon!

  • Unicorn Store directed by Brie Larson

Wasn’t planning to include this as I watched this literally 4 hours ago at TIFF, but I have to now. Brie Larson’s directorial debut left me crying glitter. I really really enjoyed this one. Despite some not so great reviews I’ve been seeing here and there, I think this light-hearted film about growing up without losing your sense of creativity was exactly the kind of film I needed to see right now. Also, you can’t ignore the strength in Larson’s talent as a director, there were so many great shots that I truly can’t wait to see what she has in store for more possible films.

  • The Second Mother directed by Anna Muylaert

Not my favourite on the list, but definitely a strong movie. The beginning and middle drags a bit but the end really makes the whole movie. At the root, a beautiful story of family and unconventional families.

  • Obvious Child directed by Gillian Robespierre

A short comedy starring Jenny Slate, and is a favourite among Letterboxd users (and myself). This story follows a young woman whose unplanned pregnancy forces her to reflect on life and being a woman. Originally I was interested in this because of Jenny Slate (who I love) but really enjoyed this light, comical, yet very real story.

  • Possibly in Michigan(short) directed by Cecelia Condit

Gonna be honest here, I don’t know why I feel such an intense desire to include this VERY strange 1983 short film on this list. Look, I had to. If you watch this I really hope you love it. I don’t really know why I like it because I am not a fan of horror, and this is kind of horror. It’s more creepy and strange than scary, but there is something so amazing about this short that makes me rewatch all the time. I honestly recommend watching this if you are open to how weird movies can get. Want a little taste of it? Heres the IMDB description: “Two women are chased through a shopping mall by a cannibal.” But, it is so so so much more than that. There are some incredibly strange musical aspects and I really can’t even begin to explain this. Here’s the link, if this seems like your kind of thing: https://vimeo.com/38639965 (another fav of letterboxd users)

EDIT (9/17/2017)

Bonus: 

  • Lady Bird directed by Greta Gerwig

I watched this film last night and it is one of my new all time favourite films. It’s a beautiful story about high school life and the complicated mother-daughter relationship. The actors in it are incredible and I want to watch this a million times, I can’t wait until its release so I can do just that.

If you want to see me talk about film more, you can follow me over on Letterboxd! (Letterboxd is basically Goodreads but for movies, except the website is 100x better than Goodreads hahah)

Hopefully you guys will enjoy one of these film related posts every once in a while, let me know!

-wren

 

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