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52 Films by Women: September

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With some London Film Festival additions, here are your #52FilmsByWomen films for September,  which were either written or directed (or both) by women.

FIRST-TIMERS

Let Me Go (Cinema, UKJFF), written and directed by Polly Steele

Emotional and thought-provoking, this is the true story of a woman who faces up to the mother she hasn’t seen in decades, who also happened to be a Nazi in the Second World War.

See also: it’s far lighter in tone than Let Me Go, but Gurinder Chadha’s Bend it Like Beckham is another film about family loyalties. The film also has Let Me Go actress, Juliet Stevenson.

 

Beauty and the Dogs (Cinema, London Film Festival), written and co-directed by Kaouther Ben Hania

Mariam Al Ferjani shows immense talent as a raped woman trying to be heard by a society who sees her as an inconvenience, especially given the performance needed for such a role. She is even more impressive when you note that each of the nine sections of the film are single-take sequences, never lulling and consistently packed full of raw emotional drama and intensity.

Beauty and the Dogs is not an easy watch, by any stretch, but it is an essential one, flawless and harrowing and so, so important. This is bold and daring work from both Ben Hania and Al Ferjani about a topic that is relevant throughout the world.

For the full review, click here.

See also: Harrowing and shocking, Kimberly Peirce’s Boys Don’t Cry is an unsettling but incredible watch – and based on a true story about a trans man who was raped when his secret was discovered.

 

Let the Corpses Tan (Cinema, London Film Festival), co-written and directed by Hélène Cattet

This insane mix of violence, nudity and intense close-ups feels like a strange mix of Ben Wheatley and Quentin Tarantino-style film-making but if the Eurotrash team had free reign over the production – and not in a good way.

See also: If you enjoyed Let the Corpses Tan (which I clearly did not) then do look up the many other films by Hélène Cattet. Alternatively, if you’re just a fan of a good shoot-’em-up film then try Free Fire (co-written by Amy Jump) or Lexi Alexander’s Punisher: War Zone.

 

Bobbi Jene (London Film Festival), directed by Elvira Lind

This dance/romance documentary which, whilst interesting, doesn’t come close to the moving heights of last year’s LFF highlight Dancer. It’s moving in parts and an intriguing insight into following your dreams vs following your heart but it also feels a lot like an ad for the talented contemporary artist. She doesn’t really engage with director Elvira Lind very often which leaves it feeling more voyeuristic and less like you are invested in the story.

See also: Anne Fletcher’s dance film Step Up is cheesy as hell but so much fun. The film is also co-written by Melissa Rosenberg.

 

Loving Vincent (Cinema, London Film Festival), co-directed by Dorota Kobiela

From the quiet and intimate indoor settings, to the sweeping landscapes and that gorgeous night sky, Loving Vincent is more than just a film. The world’s first fully painted film – in the style of Van Gogh’s art – is an immersive experience made to awaken the senses. This is cinema at its most ambitious: moving, impressive and utterly magnificent.

For the full review, click here.

See also: Beasts of the Southern Wild is co-written by Lucy Alibar and uses magical realism to provide a film that is absolutely breathtaking to watch.

 

Ava (London Film Festival), directed and co-written by Léa Mysius

The story is about a 13-year-old girl who goes off the rails somewhat when she learns that her sight is fading fast. She tries to find ways to cope without her sight, before actually losing it, whilst also dealing with the everyday worries and curiosities that come with being a teenage girl.

It’s a coming-of-age tale but with a very French, and an unashamedly female, touch.

See also: For another coming-of-age tale, though this time with a far more British touch, check out Lone Scherfig’s An Education, based on the memoir of Lynn Barber.

 

REWATCHES

Mrs Doubtfire (TV), written by Randi Mayem Singer and Leslie Dixon

It’s Robin Williams at his funny/heartbreaking best. I will never tire of this incredible film. It’s sweet, touching, hilarious and so much fun. And watching it as an adult when you’ve already seen it as a kid just shifts who you identify with and makes you appreciate its subtleties even more.

See also: Delve into the writing of Leslie Dixon with Freaky Friday (2003), Pay it Forward, Overboard or Hairspray (2007).

 

Charlies Angels: Full Throttle (DVD), co-written by Marianne Wibberley

Not quite living up to the brilliance of the first film, this sequel still provides some over-the-top fun thanks to the great trio of ladies running the show: Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore. It’s far-fetched and silly but it’s also delightful escapism revolving around a strong trio of friends who know they’d be lost without each other.

See also: Drew Barrymore has worked on some great films and TV shows – in front of and behind the camera. Check out Whip It, which she directed and acted in.

 

What films written or directed by women have you been watching this month? Join the discussion and tweet me at @filmvsbook.

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