In the Land of Women

In the Land of Women

In the Land of Women

From coming-of-age dramas to a period romance with literally no men in sight, here are 5 movies to celebrate Women’s Month. These are movies that center and explore girlhood and womanhood– for women and directed by women.

1. Portrait of a Lady on Fire by Céline Sciamma

Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel in Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel in Portrait of a Lady on Fire. | Photograph by Lilies Films

“Do all lovers feel they’re inventing something?”

A slow-burn and delicate romantic period drama where the story unfolds between the clandestine of forbidden glances, the gentle stroke of a paintbrush to immortalize one’s lover in a painting and the smoldering yearning that transcends space and time. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a lesbian love story that shows us how lovers invent their own language and how art preserves, validates and comforts us even after the romance is long gone.

2. Mustang by Deniz Gamze Ergüven

Mustang by Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Mustang by Deniz Gamze Ergüven | Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

A coming-of-age movie that centers 5 orphaned teenage sisters who are in the cusp of womanhood.  Set in a small town in Turkey this film explores the challenges and injustices that women still face even today. As the sisters were all arranged into marriage one by one without their consent, we can take a glimpse of the social and cultural restraints that snatches away their freedom at a very young age.  Overall, this is an essential and timely story that celebrates the fearlessness and joy of sisterhood.

3. Shirkers (2018) by Sandi Tan

Shirkers (2018) by Sandi Tan
Shirkers (2018) by Sandi Tan | Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival

Shirkers is a love letter to people who find comfort and who are hopelessly in love with cinema. This documentary centers a young Sandi Tan in 1992 as she makes a movie with her friends and entrusted a mysterious man who tragically went missing with all the tapes they recorded. Shirkers tells the story of loss when women grieve for the art that was stolen by a man of fragile ego. The story may be devastating to watch unfold but because of the love and passion that you can feel from the women who made this you can only feel greatness of reclaiming what was taken from you.

4. The Breadwinner by Nora Twomey

The Breadwinner by Nora Twomey
The Breadwinner by Nora Twomey | Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

“Raise your words, not your voice. It Is rain that makes the flowers grow, not the thunder”

An animated movie that doesn’t shy away from showing violence and injustice. The movie introduces us Parvana- the 11-year-old protagonist as she disguises as a boy due to a tragic event that led her to become the breadwinner of her family. This film portrays the reality that young women have to face in a world where gun-toting men very keen to assert their dominance and where innocence is shattered by patriarchal abuse, poverty and war. As heartbreaking as that may be this film also shines a light to the warm and strength we receive from our families, to the healing power of our memories and celebrates how brave women are.

5. Lady Bird by Greta Gerwig

Lady Bird (2017) by Greta Gerwig
Greta Gergwig and Saoirse Ronan in between takes | Photography by Merie Wallace, courtesy of A24

A fresh and exquisite debut from Greta Gergwig, Lady Bird is about growing up in a small town and dreaming about making it to the big city, it’s about passing by your dream house with your best friend every day on the way home from school, it’s about meet-cute high school romance (featuring the smoldering Timothee Chalamet), it’s about teenage rebellion against parental guidance and trying to find your own identity. Lady Bird (played by the enigmatic Saoirse Ronan) is flawed, funny and painfully relatable. Filled with the perfect early 2000s soundtrack, remarkable performances and an ending that will make you call your mother as soon as possible (call her now!).

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