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The Importance of Female Directors

Feronia Ding

As we are lucky enough to attend a school that emphasises the importance of women and their potential, we sometimes forget about how male-dominated many careers and areas of life can be. A prime example is the film industry - on the top 100 grossing films of 2019, women represented only 10.7% of directors. This shocking statistic truly reveals the few opportunities women in film are given, even though our society claims to be supportive of women in different fields such as the Film Industry. To inspire some Loreto girls, I have written about a few of my favourite female directors and what unique insights they are able to bring to film. As always, it’s important to check ratings before watching any of these films, to ensure they are appropriate for your age group.

1. Julia Ducournau

A rising director in female-led horror, Ducournau’s debut film ‘Raw’ was released in 2016 and won various awards at Cannes and other film festivals. Her newest film, ‘Titane’ embodies many of the themes in her films: subversions of gender, body horror and monstrosity. The plot of the film is difficult to explain to anyone who hasn’t yet seen it but the best synopsis I have found is this: ‘Following a series of unexplained crimes, a former firefighter is reunited with his son who has been missing for 10 years’ (Letterboxd). Overall, her films reflect much of humanity’s repressed desires and Ducournau is able to bring new insight to horror through her unique lens.

2. Phoebe Waller-Bridge (technically tv)

Although Phoebe Waller-Bridge has yet to direct a film, she has certainly made a valuable impact on TV. Based off of her play of the same name, comedy series ‘Fleabag’ follows a woman attempting to deal with grief as she navigates family and love. Waller-Bridge truly captures the complex emotions that come with everyday life and manages to express so many universal ideas intelligently. I would also really recommend ‘Killing Eve’, another fantastic tv series that Waller-Bridge has worked on.

3. Cheryl Dunye

Dunye made history with her film ‘The Watermelon Woman’ (1996) as the first narrative feature to be released by an ‘out’ Black lesbian filmmaker. The film centers on a young woman who works in a video store attempting to make a film about a mysterious black actress from the 1930s who was billed as the ‘Watermelon Woman’. Dunye has also directed several other short films which follow a similar style of filmmaking known as ‘Dunyementary’, due to her creation of this genre. Her films explore the intersection of race and sexuality extremely well and I think her films are a must watch for anyone interested in film.


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