Women Take Over Sight & Sound

On Film / Short Takes — Sep 8, 2015
Larisa Shepitko Directing Wings

Get ready to take notes: the centerpiece of Sight & Sound’s October issue is an annotated list of 100 overlooked films by women. In an article titled The Female Gaze, the magazine’s editors write, “We aim to challenge official film history by writing female directors back into it.” The list—which is available only in print or as an online PDF accessible to subscribers—is a treasure trove of movies the impact of which has been obscured by male-dominated film culture. Spanning more than a century of cinema, from 1910 to 2012, it includes work by such important international figures as Dorothy Arzner, Catherine Breillat, Liliana Cavani, Ida Lupino, Barbara Loden, Euzhan Palcy, and Margarethe von Trotta, as well as some by less well-known directors like Kathleen Collins, Esther Eng, Safi Faye, Marva Nabili, Claudia Weil, and many others. What’s more, the magazine got quite an illustrious roster of film figures to nominate titles and contribute annotations, among them Allison Anders, Claire Denis, Sarah Gavron, Greta Gerwig, Isabelle Huppert, Imogen Sara Smith, Tilda Swinton, Agnès Varda and Ginette Vincendeau (along with a handful of men). Needless to say, it’s well worth picking up.

Two Criterion titles are included: Soviet wunderkind Larisa Shepitko’s miraculous debut Wings (pictured above) and Jane Campion’s intimate epic An Angel at My Table. Both are beyond worthy, and the list as a whole inspired us to think of more female-directed movies in the collection we’d love to see get their due—for example, Chantal Akerman’s News from Home, Lucrecia Martel’s La ciénaga, and Varda’s Documenteur.