That’s it. We are so unequivocally done with the bitter lemon of a year that was 2016. One year like that was more than enough to understand that everything is going to shit and that now, more than ever, we need to unite all our beautiful creative energy in order to combat the pervading madness and negativity.
One year has managed to make as many headlines as no other, so it was especially satisfying to raise a glassful of rum on December 31st to bid farewell and re-set for, hopefully, a more cheerful 2017.
And even if it is only about the second week of the year, where a day at work feels like 35 hours long and some vague new year’s resolutions have already proven to fail on day 3, Girls on Film have definitely re-charged and started focusing on all the exciting female-led events and female creativity to look forward in the new year.
If we’re talking about what picture is 2017 painting for fabulous females in cinema, the situation is looking quite promising. Compared to 2016, where there were around 40 major releases directed by women, 2017 will see this number increase to 60 – which, yes, is not a significant number in itself, yet the fact that the number is soaring, is already cause for celebration (re: more rum).
So here is the Girls on Film list of extremely anticipated female-directed films not to miss in the new year:
The Love Witch (dir. Anna Biller)
If abundance of pink is not already a great selling point, this feminist theory-influenced satirical comedy by Anna Biller will bring us back to the glory days of 60s Technicolor-drenched camp horror. The impeccably-styled main character, Elaine, uses witchcraft to lure men into loving her, and there is nothing we want to see more than a gorgeous femme fatale exuding her power onto clueless and useless men. The Love Witch, as beguiling as it is on the surface, (expect a love child of Barbarella and The Witches), is also a first-class textbook which continues exploring key feminist issues like female gaze, power play and female desire.
Insecure, Season 2 (written, produced and directed by Issa Rae)
We are deeply and utterly in love with Issa Rae – not really sure which adjective to add to underscore the depth of our affection for this kick-ass woman, who has singlehandedly created her own TV empire by depicting the highs and lows of contemporary black experience. She stormed into the spotlight with her brilliant web series Awkward Black Girl, which attracted almost 20 million viewers with her refreshingly daring and raw approach to narrative, which zooms in on two female protagonists, their relationships and career. Forget about white people’s problems – Issa Rae has so much originality and fervour to tell a completely different story, bringing much deserved spotlight on the stories of black females. Oh, and do I even need to mention the show’s absolutely banging soundtrack? Issa Rae, how can you be so cool?
Lovesong (dir. So Young Kim)
Another beautiful, melancholic tale of love and distress is coming our way from this fabulous Korean filmmaker, who has already accumulated a hefty filmography behind her and is eager to unveil her latest project. Lovesong will focus on two young females – Riley Keough and Jena Malone (our faves) – and their complex and intimate relationship that constantly fluctuates between some ecstatic highs and severe lows. We absolutely love when a female filmmaker conceives such affectionate and candid stories about the undercurrents of female love and friendship, without any embellishment or worn-out stereotypes. This is why it is so important for women to continue making films about other women and building a safe place for us, far away from the reaches of men and their authoritarian perspectives.
High Life (dir. Claire Denis)
Claire Denis can do absolutely nothing wrong in our eyes. Whilst her beautiful and complex melodramas have always affected us in the deepest and sincere way possible, with her next venture she has got something completely different stored up her sleeve. High Life is sci-fi drama (yes, that’s correct – sci-fi) about a group of criminals being sent into space in order to find alternate sources of energy. The film is written by Denis herself, together with Zadie Smith (yes) and Nick Laird and has Mia Goth, Patricia Arquette and Robert Pattinson as the core cast. Denis is one of the most genuine female filmmakers whose socially-coated films radiate an unprecedented depth of feeling, and the fact that she decided to dip her fingers into the new genre only makes us shriek with excitement and impatience – anything can happen and we will be there waiting.
The Beguiled (dir. Sofia Coppola)
Fabulous women – Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning and Kirsten Dunst – will reunite in front of this fabulous women’s camera for a remake of Clint Eastwood’s 1971 western by the same name. It seems that 2017 is a year where our favourite female filmmakers have felt the biggest inkling to change their usual directories, Sofia Coppola feeling rather playful as she decides to restyle (or shall we say – take the dust off) the western genre. Coppola has not released anything since 2013 and there comes a point in your life where Coppola’s slow-paced dreamy stories just need to be back in our lives.
Raw (dir. Julia Ducornau)
A one absolutely gorgeous film director, Julia Ducournau, is very determined to re-claim the cannibal status from the most prominent title-holders like Mads Mikkelsen and Anthony Hopkins and fiercely taking the matter in her own hands, passing the blood-soaked baton right into the hands of a 16 year old teenager Garance Marillier. Dubbed as ‘a campus cannibal horror’, ‘Raw’ is Ducournau’s debut feature, promising the devotees of ‘The Craft’, ‘Suspiria’ and ‘Ginger Snaps’ a similar taste of stylised teenage slasher. The film has been on everyone’s tongue since its premiere at Cannes Critics’ Week, and it seems that it will cause some sensation the second of its cinema release. Our own interest was sparked not just by the film’s visual credentials but how much it revolves around our favourite topics of sexual awakening and femininity, especially when explored through the lenses of the female-made horror genre. A one to watch, for sure.
ABOUT THE WRITER: Julia Malahovka works with Amelia Conway and Holly Thicknes at Girls On Film; a female-centric film collective that aims to start socially-aware discussions with film as a starting point.