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Stream and mountains

Leading Female Directors of our Generation

By Feronia Ding

1. Sofia Coppola

Born into a family of directors, Coppola made her film debut as an infant in her father's acclaimed crime-drama film, The Godfather (1972). Her films often have reoccurring themes of alienation, fame, fashion and the agony of adolescence, often illustrating stories centred around characters longing for a sense of acceptance and need for emotional stability. Coppola frequently utilizes shots of characters gazing out of car windows and contemplating their internal conflicts. These can be seen in Somewhere (2010), Marie Antoinette (2006), Lost in Translation (2003) and her short film Lick the Star (1998).

2. Greta Gerwig

Although Gerwig has only made her solo directorial debut as recently as 2017 (with her critically acclaimed comedy-drama film Ladybird), she has been acting since 2006. Her films are about and for women, asking us to consider why male violence is a common theme within the books, films and stories we believe to be ‘important’, whether it’s explicit or implicit. Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird (2017) is a coming-of-age story that focuses on the tumultuous relationship between a high school student and her mother, illustrating the pain of growing up and the difficulty of expressing complex feelings.

3. Céline Sciamma

Recently awarded the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Screenplay for her film Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019), it’s clear Sciamma is skilful writer, with her films often exploring the themes of the fluidity of gender and sexual identity among girls and women. Her directorial debut Water Lilies (2007) explores adolescent love and the journey to discovering it, with the complexities that come along with it. Her work is rare in a male-dominated space; Sciamma’s films depict the female experience through the female gaze.


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