Last year on this day, March 8, I listed films directed by women in recent years. A month later, Chloe Zhao became the second woman in the 93 year history of the Oscars to win Best Director with Nomadland. And this year, in the upcoming 94th Academy Awards on March 27, two of the ten Best Picture nominees are directed by women, Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog and Sian Heder’s CODA.
This may look bright and hopefully the trend will hold. After all, women first directed films in 1896! I wrote about that in my March 8 post last year. However, the latest data aren’t that promising. According to the Celluloid Ceiling Report (Figure 2) published in January 2022, the percentage of women directors working on the top 100 films decreased from a record high of 16% in 2020 to 12% in 2021.
For this March 8, 2022, here’s a new list of some upcoming movies directed by women. There are, needless to say, many more women working behind the scenes as film editors, script writers, cinematographers, production designers, sound professionals, costume and makeup artists, composers, casting directors, producers… all striving to break through the celluloid ceiling.
Aline directed by Valérie Lemercier, a fictionalized biopic of Céline Dion.
Where the Crawdads Sing directed by Olivia Newman, adaptation of the popular novel by Delia Owens.
Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Dream, A Song a documentary co-directed by Dayna Goldfine
She Said directed by Maria Schrader, based on the book that chronicles the fall of Harvey Weinstein and the rise of a movement. Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan star.
Barbie directed by Greta Gerwig, the cast that brings a doll to life includes Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera, Simu Liu.
Turning Red directed by Domee Shi, whose animated short Bao won her an Oscar in 2019. Sandra Oh, Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell lend their voice and talents.
Don’t Worry Darling directed by Olivia Wilde, who has been called ‘a modern-day renaissance woman’. Attractive cast includes Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, Gemma Chan.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody directed by Kasi Lemmons, acclaimed director of Harriet (2019) turns her attention to depict the life of Whitney Houston.
The Stars at Noon directed by Claire Denis, who just won the Silver Berlin Bear for Best Director at Berlinale 2022. Adaptation of the 1986 novel by Denis Johnson.
Catherine, Called Birdy directed by Lena Dunham, based on the children’s novel by Karen Cushman, on the adventures of a 14 year-old girl in medieval England.
The Mother directed by Niki Caro, who has helmed an interesting variety of works like Mulan (2020), The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017), Whale Rider (2002). An action thriller, The Mother stars Jennifer Lopez and Joseph Fiennes.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover directed by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, adaptation of D. H. Lawrence’s classic novel.
Persuasion directed by Carrie Cracknell. Another Jane Austen classic to be transposed onto screen coming out this year.
Rosaline directed by Karen Maine. A comedic take on Romeo and Juliet from the POV of Rosaline Capulet, Juliet’s cousin and Romeo’s first love.
4 thoughts on “Women Direct Films 2022”
Thank you Arti for this list of must-see movies directed by women.
I loved Whale Rider by Niki Caro and her new film, The Mother, I’m sure will have depth.. and would like to see a good remake of Lady Chatterly’s Lover especially from a woman’s perspective—what’s behind LCL is actually an environmental problem with coal. Barbie sounds interesting as does Hallelujah! So many movies to look for!
The Mother may not be the deep-thinking kind of film you might be expecting. It’s an action thriller with this description on IMDb: “While fleeing from dangerous assailants, an assassin comes out of hiding to protect her daughter she left earlier in life.” Just shows how versatile Niki Caro can be. 🙂
Do you think the pandemic had anything to do with the drop in women directors? Or is it a case that there are so few women directing films that if one of them isn’t working on something one year it the percentage drops?
I can’t speculate on the exact reasons for the drop, but I know these for facts: Chloe Zhao made Nomadland and The Eternals during the pandemic, same with other women directors making acclaimed films including Maggie Gyllenhaal’s The Lost Daughter, or Rebecca Hall’s Passing… My list from last year (2019-2021) are all films women directed during the pandemic. Another fact is, there are many women directors out there, for both the small and big screen, just that they are not visible to the general public.
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