It was Philadelphia Inquirer critic Carrie Rickey’s idea. After realizing that the American Film Insititute’s nomination ballot for last year’s list of 100 best American movies comprised 400 titles, of which 4.5 were directed by women, she suggested that the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is one of 27 members, vote for their own list of best 100 movies of all time. The AWFJ sent in lists of films to create a ballot of their own, and voted for 100. (As a member, I voted too.) The top 100 list will be announced June 25. I have been leaked five, none of which were on the AFI’s list of 400 nominees:
Appropriately for a women’s list, two of the films are French (the AFI’s list is American):
Francois Truffaut’s Jules and Jim
Julie Taymor’s Frida
Martin Ritt’s Norma Rae
Maya Deren’s Meshes in the Afternoon
Max Ophuls’ the Earrings of Madame De..
All five are visually rich dramatic movies that had a significant impact on film culture. Jules and Jim holds up as one of the great romantic triangles, with the unforgettable Jeanne Moreau at its center. Frida rests on the performances of Salma Hayek and Alfred Molina and Taymor’s sophisticated painter’s pallette. Sally Field won an Oscar for her role as a working woman who rises up against her bosses. A mesmerizing avant-garde surrealist tone poem shot in Los Angeles in 1943, Meshes in the Afternoon is still sharp and modern. And The Earrings of Madame De…is one of the most fun, erotic, glorious black-and-white romantic movies you’ll ever see.
UPDATE: The news release is on the jump.
ALLIANCE OF WOMEN FILM JOURNALISTS announces TOP 100 FILMS LIST
As AFI releases its Tenth Anniversary 100 Greatest Films List, the ALLIANCE OF WOMEN FILM JOURNALISTS launches its first-ever Top 100 Films list on June 25, 2007. Why another list? Consider this: AFI’s list began with 400 nominated titles, of which 4.5 were directed women. Even allowing for the reality that film production‚Äôs been dominated by men for most of the 20th century, that’s a miniscule percentage. And, women like Dorothy Arzner have been directing movies since there were movies to direct.
Is the perspective of women film journalists different from that of a mixed group of film-industry voters? You
be the judge. When AWFJ’s members were asked to nominate films, with no mandate or directive beyond choosing films they felt were works for the ages, the group honored a significantly greater number of films made by and/or about women. AWFJ members annotate the list, indicating why each film was selected. For example, Maitland McDonagh applauds “Clueless,” that trendy teen spin off of Jane Austen’s “Emma,” as a “nimble comedy of manners that has brains and heart to match its bubbly good looks,” while Carrie Rickey calls Ingrid Bergman’s performance in “Notorious” her “most sensual ever” and Eleanor Ringel Gillespie praises Fernanda Montenego in “Central Station” as ‚Äúa world-class study of bitterness dissuaded, scorn swept away, possibility and optimism stumbled upon after too long an absence.‚Äù And, find out which film Susan Wloszczyna says makes “The Devil Wears Prada” look like a knock off.”
The launch of AWFJ‚Äôs Top 100 Films List is sponsored by The Women’s Media Center, New York. Presenters at
the invitation-only luncheon include WMC Director Carol Jenkins and AWFJ member Carrie Rickey, who
initiated the project.
AWFJ, Inc. is a non-profit nationwide organization of 27 professional female movie critics, reporters and
feature writers, working in print, broadcast and online media, who’ve come together to support work by and
about women, in front of and behind the camera. AWFJ conducts outreach programs, intra-group promotional
activities and presents the annual EDA Awards, in recognition of outstanding accomplishments (both the best
and the worst) by and about women in film.
For further information about the AWFJ Top 100 List, please contact:
Jennifer Merin, AWFJ President
P.O. Box 80, New York, New York 10024
For details about the Women’s Media Center, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Originally appeared on Variety.com]