Women with a Movie Camera
Great films incite, others vex, a few elate. From pre-war to the present day, these remarkable works by international women directors do all that and more.
The place of female filmmakers in cinema history demands correction, and the future looks bright. Keep up with this dedicated collection.
You Were Never Really Here
Thriller201790 minsDirector: Lynne Ramsay
Lynne Ramsay journeys with Joaquin Phoenix into the mind of an ex-soldier gun-for-hire whose own demons are as brutal as the actions of his adversaries.
Thriller2017108 minsDirector: Coralie Fargeat
Coralie Fargeat's gloriously bloody tale of one woman's retribution; a razor-sharp feminist subversion of the revenge-thriller.
Drama2016102 minsDirector: Jenny Lu
A Taiwanese graduate begins work at a massage parlour, in this illuminating and authentic depiction of the migrant experience at London's margins.
Drama201689 minsDirector: Clio Barnard
Clio Barnard follows The Selfish Giant and The Arbor with this searing and eloquent Yorkshire-set drama exploring the fragility of familial relationships.
The Rape of Recy Taylor
Documentary201791 minsDirector: Nancy Buirski
Nancy Buirski's vital documentary revisits an unjustly forgotten chapter of American history; the story of an immensely brave woman who refused to be silenced.
Documentary2018106 minsDirector: Lauren Greenfield
Acclaimed filmmaker Lauren Greenfield examines modern greed amid the world of the 1%. Travelling through America and beyond, she meets the international elite and families overwhelmed by debt, yet determined to live the ‘luxury lifestyle.
Comedy201791 minsDirector: Trudie Styler
Alex Lawther is outstanding as a teenage rebel in this tale of an unrepentant high-school outsider, directed by Trudie Styler.
The Boy Downstairs
Comedy201791 minsDirector: Sophie Brooks
The captivating Zosia Mamet (Girls) takes centre-stage in this smart and sassy Manhattan-set relationship drama which channels the spirit of Nora Ephron.
Drama2017115 minsDirector: Lucrecia Martel
Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel returns with a fine adaptation of Antonio Di Benedetto’s existential novel. In her first feature since 2008’s The Headless Woman, Martel creates a richly layered exploration of personal malaise.
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami
Documentary2017115 minsDirector: Sophie Fiennes
Grace Jones is laid bare in this intimate and electrifying insight into the fascinating world of a pop-cultural phenomenon.
Never Steady, Never Still
Drama2017112 minsDirector: Kathleen Hepburn
Shirley Henderson's sensitive performance as a woman with Parkinson's disease grounds this spartan family drama set in the Canadian wilderness.
Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story
Documentary201789 minsDirector: Alexandra Dean
Fascinating documentary about the glamorous Hollywood star who was also a genius inventor of military technology.
I Am Not a Witch
Drama201793 minsDirector: Rungano Nyoni
Welsh-raised, Zambian-born Rungano Nyoni delivers a dazzling debut with this dark satirical fairy tale about a little girl accused of being a witch.
Comedy2015105 minsDirector: Athina Rachel Tsangari
Athina Rachel Tsangari's biting and hilarious dissection of the male ego was awarded Best Film at the 2015 BFI London Film Festival.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Drama2015102 minsDirector: Marielle Heller
The US indie hit tells the bold, bawdy and hilarious story of a teenager's sexual awakening after she sleeps with her mother’s boyfriend.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Horror2014101 minsDirector: Ana Lily Amirpour
If you only see one Iranian vampire western this year, make sure it’s this one. A female vampire stalks a ghost town in Ana Lily Amirpour’s arresting debut.
Comedy201586 minsDirector: Desiree Akhavan
Desiree Akhavan directs and stars in this witty, razor-sharp and fearless comedy following the sexual misadventures of a bisexual Brooklynite.
The Edge of Seventeen
Comedy2016104 minsDirector: Kelly Fremon
Kelly Fremon Craig’s coming-of-age comedy eschews quirkiness for genuine warmth, while boasting a hilarious supporting turn from Woody Harrelson.
Drama201798 minsDirector: Eliza Hittman
Gripping account of repressed sexual desire in a hyper-masculine environment, with British newcomer Harris Dickinson as a virulently macho Brooklyn teen.
Drama2013105 minsDirector: Joanna Hogg
Joanna Hogg's sleek and minimalist comedy about a pair of artists and their emotional attachment to their ultra-modernist apartment.
Adult Life Skills
Comedy201596 minsDirector: Rachel Tunnard
Anna (Jodie Whittaker) is an emotionally stunted 30-year-old living in her mum’s shed, learning to confront adult reality, in Rachel Tunnard’s quirky debut.
Comedy201685 minsDirector: Mercedes Grower
Breakups have never been funnier, as Mercedes Grower's all-star, ensemble comedy charts the end of various affairs. With Julian Barratt, Steve Oram, Julia Davis and Noel Fielding.
Drama2016103 minsDirector: Maysaloun Hamoud
Three strong, independent Israeli-Palestinian women try to square their liberated, hedonistic lifestyles with the stultifying restrictions of conservative family life, in Maysaloun Hamoud's charming and vital drama.
I Can't Think Straight
Drama200879 minsDirector: Shamim Sarif
The story of an affair between a Palestinian woman and her British Indian friend, from the same team behind The World Unseen.
The World Unseen
Drama200890 minsDirector: Shamim Sarif
Sweeping romantic drama about two Indian women who fall for each other in the hostile environment of apartheid South Africa.
The Hurt Locker
War2008131 minsDirector: Kathryn Bigelow
Kathryn Bigelow won the Best Director Academy Award in 2010 for this visceral, thrilling story of an American maverick bomb disarmer in Iraq.
Zero Dark Thirty
Action and Adventure2012157 minsDirector: Kathryn Bigelow
Kathryn Bigelow's masterful, meticulous account of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden is a thrilling account of contemporary history.
Drama2017143 minsDirector: Kathryn Bigelow
John Boyega excels as the security guard caught up in a violent conflagration during the riots of 1967, in Kathryn Bigelow's blistering thriller.
Bride & Prejudice
Musical2004107 minsDirector: Gurinder Chadha
Gurinder Chadha’s Bollywood retelling of Austen’s classic romance is an all-round joy, adding colour and song to Austen’s evergreen wit.
Bhaji on the Beach
Comedy1993101 minsDirector: Gurinder Chadha
Gurinder Chadha's charming and critically acclaimed comedy about a group of British Asian women from Birmingham who bond during a day-trip to Blackpool.
Drama2016106 minsDirector: Gurinder Chadha
Gurinder Chadha channels David Lean for this sweeping romance set during the last days of the Raj, with Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson as Lord and Lady Mountbatten.
Drama201572 minsDirector: Anna Rose Holmer
Toni, an eleven year-old tomboy, finds a new purpose when an epidemic of seizures strikes her dance class, in this riveting and psychological character portrait from filmmaker Anna Rose Holmer.
Drama2013100 minsDirector: Claire Denis
Claire Denis’ moody and atmospheric thriller about an absent brother returning to the fold to investigate his family’s murky secrets.
Fidelio, Alice's Journey
Drama201497 minsDirector: Lucie Borleteau
When Alice takes a job as a ship’s engineer her fidelity towards her shore-bound fiancé is tested when she discovers a former lover is the ship’s captain.
Drama200894 minsDirector: Ursula Meier
Ursula Meier's dark semi-comic fable concerns a family living next to an unused motorway. Isabelle Huppert and Olivier Gourmet excel as the parents
Goodbye First Love
Drama2011106 minsDirector: Mia Hansen-Løve
The pangs and pains of young love are artfully and respectfully rendered in this subtle and sensitive drama from Mia Hansen-Løve (Eden).
Drama201582 minsDirector: Lucile Hadzihalilovic
The long-awaited second feature from Lucile Hadžihalilović (Innocence) is a gorgeously surreal coming-of-age tale laced with bizarre body-horror.
The Book of Gabrielle
Drama201679 minsDirector: Lisa Gornick
Lisa Gornick's funny and frank drama sketches the relationship between a sex-obsessed lesbian illustrator and a randy hetero author, who bond over their favourite subject.
Drama201767 minsDirector: Kanchi Wichmann
Kanchi Wichmann's feature adaptation of her hit web series follows Ren (Alana Lake) as she hunts for romance in world of Tinder and zero commitment.
Documentary201590 minsDirector: Crystal Moselle
Meet the Angulos: seven siblings imprisoned for most of their childhoods who learnt much of life’s lessons from film and TV; the subjects of this captivating documentary.
Documentary201587 minsDirector: Jane Preston
Documentary portrait of the mercurial football genius who inspired the game’s modern renaissance while battling personal demons.
Documentary201084 minsDirector: Gillian Wearing
Artist Gillian Wearing’s ‘documentary’ observes seven people creating (fantasy?) identities in collaboration with a drama teacher. Raw and revealing.
Still the Water
Romance2014119 minsDirector: Naomi Kawase
Naomi Kawase’s visually ravishing, beautifully composed film tells the story of two youths growing up and falling in love on a Japanese island.
We Went to Wonderland
Documentary200872 minsDirector: Xiaolu Guo
British-Chinese filmmaker Xiaolu Guo follows her ageing parents' journey to the West as they visit Europe. A rare chance to see one of Guo’s most personal films.
A Girl at My Door
Drama2014119 minsDirector: July Jung
Lee Chang-dong (Poetry) produces this offbeat drama about a policewoman who becomes protector of an abused teen in a town riven by corruption and alcoholism.
Documentary201498 minsDirector: Kim Longinotto
Kim Longinotto’s inspirational documentary about Brenda, a Chicagoan charity worker who helps vulnerable prostitutes leave the industry.
Love Is All
Documentary201474 minsDirector: Kim Longinotto
A hundred years of love and courtship on the silver screen, with music created by celebrated Sheffield singer-songwriter-producer Richard Hawley.
Documentary200689 minsDirector: Louise Osmond
Riveting account of the disastrous attempt by novice sailor Donald Crowhurst to compete in a round-the-world, solo yachting race.
Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach
Documentary201694 minsDirector: Louise Osmond
Louise Osmond's funny, provocative and revealing account of the life and career of one of Britain’s most celebrated and controversial filmmakers.
Documentary201486 minsDirector: Louise Osmond
The inspirational, larger-than-life true story of how a group of friends in a poor mining village took on the elite 'sport of kings' and breed themselves a racehorse.
Drama2016163 minsDirector: Andrea Arnold
Andrea Arnold dazzles with a sun-soaked and tune-filled epic about door-to-door teenage magazine sellers (led by Shia LeBeouf) traversing the American highways.
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Drama2010112 minsDirector: Lynne Ramsay
Tilda Swinton gives a BAFTA-nominated performance as the mother of a teenager who commits a high school massacre. With Ezra Miller and John C. Reilly.
The Selfish Giant
Drama201391 minsDirector: Clio Barnard
Two Yorkshire tearaways struggle with life and friendship in this challenging, compassionate growing-up tale by the director of The Arbor.
Dreams of a Life
Documentary201191 minsDirector: Carol Morley
Carol Morley's drama-documentary investigates the tragic death of a woman whose body lay undetected for almost three years.
Animation & Artists Moving Image195472 minsDirector: John Halas
Sixty years young, this British cartoon of George Orwell’s political ‘fairy story’ is still the most abiding adaptation of this powerful, cautionary tale for all ages.
Animation & Artists Moving Image193619 minsDirector: Helen Biggar
Norman McLaren and Helen Biggar’s urgent work of animated agit-prop uses rapid editing to create an incisive polemic against arms spending.
The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears
Horror2013102 minsDirector: Bruno Forzani
Another giallo-inspired exercise in operatic violence from Belgian duo Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, directors of the acclaimed Amer.
Drama200995 minsDirector: Jessica Hausner
Jessica Hausner’s cool, compassionate exploration of religious faith follows various believers and non-believers hoping for miracle cures in Lourdes
Historical drama2015106 minsDirector: Sarah Gavron
The time is now for factory worker Maud (Carey Mulligan) as she joins the campaign movement for women’s votes, in Sarah Gavron’s stirring social history.
Drama201793 minsDirector: Annemarie Jacir
An estranged father-son relationship in the vibrant city of Nazareth makes for an immensely entertaining drama by Palestinian director Annemarie Jacir (When I Saw You).
When I Saw You
Drama201294 minsDirector: Annemarie Jacir
Following the Six-Day War in 1967, a young Palestinian refugee boy yearns to be reunited with his father and joins a band of freedom fighters.
My Name Is Salt
Documentary201392 minsDirector: Farida Pacha
Farida Pacha's transcendent observational documentary captures the gruelling work of salt harvesters in a Gujarati desert.
The Second Mother
Drama2015112 minsDirector: Anna Muylaert
A maid for a rich São Paulo family is allowed to take her provincial teenage daughter into the household, but tensions quickly surface between her old and new lives.
The German Doctor (Wakolda)
Drama201390 minsDirector: Lucía Puenzo
An Argentinian family befriends a travelling doctor, unaware that he’s a Nazi war criminal, in this haunting drama inspired by true events.
Thriller201598 minsDirector: Alice Winocour
A broken soldier guards a tycoon's family in this involving thriller with hints of Taxi Driver, starring Matthias Schoenaerts and Diane Kuger.
Death Defying Acts
Drama200793 minsDirector: Gillian Armstrong
The great illusionist Harry Houdini (Guy Pearce) meets his match when the charming and manipulative Mary McGarvie (Catherine Zeta-Jones) magically appears in his life.
Drama2013110 minsDirector: Sophie Hyde
A mother undergoing a gender transition meets his estranged daughter every Tuesday, changing gradually each time they meet. An intelligent indie hit about modern identity.
Gone Too Far!
Comedy201388 minsDirector: Destiny Ekaragha
Riotous urban comedy adapted from the hit Royal Court play, about a Peckham teen affronted by the arrival of his long-lost Nigerian sibling.
Drama1997115 minsDirector: Kasi Lemmons
Samuel L. Jackson stars in this seething slice of Southern Gothic, about the travails of a Louisiana family bedevilled by infidelity, incest and witchcraft.
Drama201589 minsDirector: Esther May Campbell
Beth Orton stars in a fragile and subtly nuanced drama that explores the toll of physical and mental illness on a fractured family.
No Home Movie
Documentary2015118 minsDirector: Chantal Akerman
Chantal Akerman’s rigorously observational portrait of her late mother takes on a whole new significance in the wake of the director’s own premature passing.
Power in Our Hands
Documentary201575 minsDirector: Angela Spielsinger
Ground-breaking documentary that uses archive film to tell the story of the British Deaf community’s fight for civil rights.
A Bit of Scarlet
Documentary199671 minsDirector: Andrea Weiss
Mapping how British film and TV depicts the gay and lesbian lifestyle, Andrea Weiss raids the archives for her funny and persuasive documentary.
Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story)
Drama201594 minsDirector: Eva Husson
High-school students start a private orgy society in Eva Husson’s dazzlingly shot, no-holds-barred drama.
Of Girls and Horses
Drama201483 minsDirector: Monika Treut
A troubled teen finds love during a summer spent at a horse ranch, in this captivating lesbian drama from cult director Monika Treut.
Drama2014110 minsDirector: Susanne Bier
Two of the planet’s biggest stars – Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence – align in this extravagant period drama set in depression-era America.
At the Fountainhead (Of German Strength)
Drama198092 minsDirector: Anthea Kennedy
A German-Jewish musician seeks exile in Cold War London in this rich and challenging experimental work
Drama2014105 minsDirector: Debbie Tucker Green
What if an immaculate conception took place in a South London household? Idris Elba stars in a subtle, thought-provoking and original family drama.
Coffee Coloured Children
Biopic198817 minsDirector: Ngozi Onwurah
Experimental monologue about the trauma of racial harassment and self-hate that accompanies growing up mixed-race in Britain.
Welcome II the Terrordome
Drama199394 minsDirector: Ngozi Onwurah
A ferocious dystopian nightmare, this was the first film directed by a black British woman to receive a UK theatrical release.
Drama201596 minsDirector: Helen Walsh
In this spiky and stylish debut from novelist Helen Walsh, two girls from different backgrounds form an unlikely bond, setting off on a dangerous course.
A United Kingdom
Drama2016111 minsDirector: Amma Asante
Amma Assante (Belle) directs this impassioned drama starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike depicting an interracial romance that changed the world.
Comedy2005101 minsDirector: Annie Griffin
Stephen Mangan and Chris O’Dowd star in this sharp comedy following the trials of a trio of ambitious comedians aiming to take the Fringe by storm.
On the Twelfth Day...
Romance1955 minsDirector: Wendy Toye
Playful, charming, Oscar-nominated take on the Christmas song directed by queen of the dance Wendy Toye and designed by the great Ronald Searle.