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Celebrating Women Behind the Camera

by Sarah Soliman

This Women’s History Month, we wanted to put a spotlight on women working behind the camera. 2022 saw a number of remarkable and moving films directed by women, and there’s a lot to look forward to in 2023. Here are some highlights.

Women Talking, Aftersun, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Turning Red, and Fire of Love are all contenders for gold at the Oscars on Sunday, March 12. Two other films that have been in the awards conversation all season, both earning Screen Actors Guild nominations for Female Actors in a Leading Role, were The Woman King and Till.  All helmed by women directors, these are some of the best films of 2022.

Aftersun (dir. Charlotte Wells)

Sophie reflects on the shared joy and private melancholy of a holiday she took with her father twenty years earlier. Memories real and imagined fill the gaps between as she tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn’t.

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (dir. Laura Poitras)

This documentary follows the life of artist Nan Goldin and her fight against the Sackler family, the pharmaceutical dynasty who was greatly responsible for the opioid epidemic’s unfathomable death toll.

Fire of Love (dir. Sara Dosa)

Intrepid scientists and married couple Katia and Maurice Krafft died in a volcanic explosion doing the very thing that brought them together: unraveling the mysteries of volcanoes by capturing the most explosive imagery ever recorded. Along the way, they changed our understanding of the natural world, and saved tens of thousands of lives. Previously unseen hours of pristine 16-millimeter film and thousands of photographs reveal the birth of modern volcanology through an unlikely lens — the love of its two pioneers.

The Woman King (dir. Gina Prince-Bythewood)

A historical epic inspired by true events that took place in The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Till (dir. Chinonye Chukwu)
In 1955, after Emmett Till is murdered in a brutal lynching, his mother vows to expose the racism behind the attack while working to have those involved brought to justice.

Turning Red (dir. Domee Shi)

Thirteen-year-old Mei Lee is torn between staying her mother’s dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. And as if changes to her interests, relationships, and body weren’t enough, whenever she gets too excited (which for a teenager is practically always), she “poofs” into a giant red panda!

Women Talking (dir. Sarah Polley)

Do nothing. Stay and fight. Or leave. In 2010, the women of an isolated religious community grapple with reconciling a brutal reality with their faith.

2023 has a lot in store for us as movie lovers. We have new films coming from acclaimed women directors, and feature debuts from exciting new voices.

All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (dir. Raven Jackson)

A decades-spanning exploration of a woman’s life in Mississippi and an ode to the generations of people, places, and ineffable moments that shape us.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (dir. Kelly Fremon Craig)

When her family moves from the city to the suburbs, 11-year-old Margaret navigates new friends, feelings, and the beginning of adolescence. Adapted from the classic novel by Judy Blume.

Barbie (dir. Greta Gerwig)

To live in Barbie Land is to be a perfect being in a perfect place. Unless you have a full-on existential crisis. Or you’re a Ken.

Nightbitch (dir. Marielle Heller)

A stay-at-home mom begins to worry that she may be turning into a dog. Adapted from the critically-acclaimed novel of the same name by Rachel Yoder.

Polite Society (dir. Nida Manzoor)

Ria Khan believes that she must save her older sister Lena from her impending marriage. After enlisting her friends’ help, she attempts to pull off the most ambitious of all wedding heists, in the name of independence and sisterhood.

Priscilla (dir. Sofia Coppola)

Academy Award-winning screenwriter and Academy Award-nominated director Sofia Coppola’s newest film is about the relationship between Elvis and Priscilla Presley. 

Saltburn (dir. Emerald Fennell)

Director Emerald Fennell and actress Carey Mulligan reunite for Fennell’s follow-up to the Academy Award-winning film Promising Young Woman. They’re joined by Barry Keoghan, Rosamund Pike, and Richard E. Grant for this story about obsession in an aristocratic English family.