A couple of months back, the BBC released a list of the top 100 American films ever made, in which 98% of the titles were directed solely by men. This glaring omission of female filmmakers didn’t register as much of a surprise, because women’s contributions to cinema are so often undervalued, their names and films absent from lists like the BBC’s. So it’s with hungry hearts and minds that we greet the October 2015 issue of film mag Sight & Sound which shines a spotlight on women directors who have been unjustly relegated to the margins of film history with “The Female Gaze” special, a celebration 100 overlooked and underseen films directed by women.
The issue, described as “born of the desire to show the diverse range of great films made by women through history,” features contributions by iconic female filmmakers Agnès Varda, Claire Denis and Jane Campion, as well as Women and Hollywood’s founder and editor Melissa Silverstein (who writes on Allison Anders’ “Gas, Food Lodging”).
“The Female Gaze” issue’s special coverage includes an amazing collection of photographs of women behind the camera, a web exclusive on the British Film Institute’s site. As the feature notes, images of women directing movies are scarce — “not the stuff of legend or the immediate response of image searches.” Amazing photos of trailblazing directors such as France’s Alice Guy-Blaché and Chinese-American Esther Eng have been amassed in an effort to “expand our associations with the word ‘director’ [and] to spur the emergence of images like these online.”
Head over to the BFI’s site to see incredible action shots of Barbara Kopple, Jessie Maple, Sofia Coppola, Ava DuVernay and more.
You can buy the October issue of Sight & Sound, which aims to “write women back into film history” now.