Jennifer, my Australian wildflower, you may be the first director to have given grown men the true postpartum experience when they peed themselves watching The Babadook. Your first(!) film is a marvel of production design, performance, and flawless horror cinematography, sure, but it comes with the added layer of some real dark women-only shit that’s been living in the shadows for too long. Nothing is more true to both grief and postpartum feelings (both of which I’ve experienced hard and simultaneously) than that they are monsters who take your sleep, dull your judgment, and make you ignore your beloved dog. Honestly, I wasn’t really okay with what happened to the dog but I forgive you. But only because of how boldly you broke one of cinema’s most longstanding rules, the old chestnut decreeing that mothers-on-film may never express a full range of emotions towards their children…unless they are the villain. You gave us a heroine who is sometimes embarrassed by, tired of, and furious with her kid but who will also summon all the forces of love and hell to protect him. It’s radical in its realness and so scary that the director of The Exorcist, William Friedkin, called it the most terrifying film he’s ever seen. Jennifer, I like my directors with a little darkness and a lot of feelings and so I like you very much. I mean I would never let you near my dog but maybe we go out for drinks sometime instead. Let me know.
I ♥ Female Directors
Every year there are studies and lists and think pieces about the lack of female directors working in television and film. And hey, we love studies and lists and think pieces as much as the next gal, but the numbers are soooo depressing and the problem is soooo entrenched and unchanging that reading about it starts to feel a lot like eating your vegetables if vegetables tasted like futility which they do.
We started iheartfemaledirectors.com because we think the biggest thing missing from the conversation about female directors is some good old-fashioned gushy fandom. We will not have achieved true equality until every film school student who ever jizzed himself talking about the exploration of violence and masculinity in Fight Club has also needed a change of pants after discussing the exploration of violence and masculinity in Beau Travail.
Yes, there are historically fewer female directors than male, but there have still been hundreds (thousands?) of great ones. And new female directors are being born and dismissed every minute! So while the major studios’ scientists toil away in their under-the-lot labs, manufacturing the single perfect, hireable female director*, we’ll be swooning over the ones who have already put amazing, love letter-worthy things into the world.
So here’s our plan: every week we’ll put up a new love letter to a female director we’re obsessed with. And look, maybe that won't solve all of sexism in Hollywood. But it might get you to watch an Agnes Varda movie, and isn't that a close second?
• Experienced (but also fresh!)
• Works Constantly (but is always available)
• Commanding (but not emasculating)
• Will represent the wokeness and feminism of the studio (but won’t complain about institutionalized sexism)
• Has a unique voice (but wants to direct mediocre tentpoles)
• A visionary (but takes all notes)