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10 movies to watch for International Women's Day


Saoirse Ronan earned an Oscar nomination for Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird

Saoirse Ronan earned an Oscar nomination for Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird

Saoirse Ronan earned an Oscar nomination for Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird

If you're a woman in Hollywood, things are looking up for all kinds of reasons. In 2018, research conducted via the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative revealed that only 4.5pc of the top 100 movies of 2018 boasted a female director. A year later, things had changed significantly, 10.6pc of directors working on the Top 100 movies of the year were women.

In honour of International Women's Day this weekend, we took a trawl through the celluloid canon to make a definitive list of must-see movies by women directors.

1. Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig, 2017)

When Greta Gerwig was missing from this year's Best Director's list for her sophomore effort Little Women, there was outcry. The former actress and writer burst out of the traps in 2017 with this astonishingly assured coming-of-age film. Slick, authentic and charming, Lady Bird also saw our own Saoirse Ronan shine as a frustrated high-school student trying to find her place in the world.

2. The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow, 2008)

This tense wartime thriller became the first film with a female director at the helm that won a Best Picture Oscar. The film, staring Ralph Fiennes and Jeremy Renner, scored five other Oscars that year, including for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. The famously exacting critic Roger Ebert called it the second best film of the Noughties.

3. Sleepless in Seattle (Nora Ephron, 1993)

Swearing by the mantra 'Everything Is Copy', journalist-turned-filmmaker Nora Ephron mined her own experiences - divorce, infidelity, ageing, parenthood - and spun them into cinematic gold. Audiences loved Ephron's whimsical and humorous script anyway.

4. Clueless (Amy Heckerling, 1995)

Amy Heckerling had scored a few minor hits in Hollywood before 1995 (including the Look Who's Talking trilogy), but Clueless set her apart as an industry heavyweight. Her script, featuring a cluster of privileged young Los Angelenos, was based lightly on the Jane Austen novel Emma. Paramount recently announced a remake is in the works.

5. Winter's Bone (Debra Granik, 2010)

Long before she became Katniss Everdeen, Jennifer Lawrence beguiled cinephiles in this atmospheric mystery drama. Lawrence played a teenager who sets out to locate her missing father after being threatened with eviction. Four Oscar nominations and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize later, The New Yorker's David Denby called it "one of the great feminist works in film".

6. Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold, 2009)

Kerry native Michael Fassbender was outstanding in this indie Brit flick, starring as a man who has an affair with his girlfriend's teenage daughter. Arnold had already caught attention with her 2006 film Red Road, but Fish Tank won the British director the Jury Prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.

7. Lost In Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)

By turns stylish, sexy and exotic, this classic helmed by Francis Ford Coppola's daughter put paid to any accusations of Hollywood nepotism. Sofia's script about a faded Hollywood star having an existential crisis in a Tokyo Hotel was assured, resulting in an instant classic.

8. The Piano (Jane Campion, 1993)

Another big winner at that year's Oscars, Holly Hunter starred as a psychologically mute woman sent to New Zealand for an arranged marriage during the mid-19th century. In 1993, the film bagged the Palme D'Or at Cannes, making Campion the only female director to ever receive the award.

9. Big (Penny Marshall, 1988)

Amid the glut of high-concept Hollywood blockbusters of the 80s, Big deserves special recognition. Tom Hanks was adorable as the 12-year-old Josh Baskin trapped inside the body of a grown man. Big became the first film directed by a woman to gross over $100m at the US Box Office.

10. The Breadwinner (Nora Twomey, 2017)

Nora Twomey's affecting feature-length movie is a genuine triumph. Angelina Jolie stepped on board to executive produce the film about an 11-year-old girl living in Kabul under Taliban rule. Twomey managed to make a difficult subject matter into a beautiful and unforgettable film.

Irish Independent