Coco Chanel, female directors

// 12 August 2009

Interesting new site Fat Quarter has reviewed Coco Before Chanel, the latest film by Anne Fontaine, which is currently playing in UK cinemas:

This is a film about a time, pre-war, pre-Suffrage, when, for women of a certain class, jobs were out of the question, and waiting for marriage little more than a gilded cage. Orphaned ex-showgirl Coco becomes the mistress of a rich man who treats her with affection but not with respect, and steals his clothes to make herself the masculine fashions that distinguish her, and eventually lead to her own salon and career.

Birds Eye View (which runs the annual festival of films by women film-makers) interviews diector Anne Fontaine on their blog:

Rachel: In the UK, only 6 or 7% directors are women. What’s the situation in France?

Anne: I’m not sure of the statistics, but it’s certainly better than that in France. We are really the only European country with a very important new generation of women directors – not like US, Italy, UK etc. This is simply because there is more help to make movies in France. There is more democratic access. The government supports a lot more creativity in film.

It’s also worth checking out BEV’s First Weekenders Club – they’ll send you emails to let you know what films directed by women are opening; boxoffice takings in that first weekend can make or break a film. BEV says:

Each cinema ticket bought on an opening weekend is a vote of support for the film and its makers. If we show cinemas that we love the films that women are making, then we’ll get to see more of them. Yes, it is that simple.

Meanwhile, Bitch Magazine’s blog has an interesting post about female directors who weren’t actors first, and challenges us to name our favourite female directors…

Comments From You

Lisa Brown // Posted 12 August 2009 at 3:02 pm

I think its gotta be Kimberly Peirce. Boys Don’t Cry is a great film. Pretty hard to watch, but absolutely one of the best films of the last decade

Jess McCabe // Posted 12 August 2009 at 3:18 pm

I agree re: boys don’t cry, although I’ve not seen anything else by Pierce!

Jessica Burton // Posted 13 August 2009 at 11:49 am

Mira Nair is a great director (Monsoon Wedding, Vanity Fair) and I recently very much enjoyed Miranda July’s feature debut (she is an artist who, in one strand of her work, encourages women to make their own movies through chain letters). It’s called You And Me And Everyone We Know.

That’s off the top of my head!

I went to see “Coco…” at the cinema last week :-)

Lisa Brown // Posted 13 August 2009 at 5:56 pm

@Jessica Burton – Yes, You Me etc is a great film

Kate Grace // Posted 13 August 2009 at 11:13 pm

I don’t know if anyone has seen anything by Maya Deren- she did some experimental dreamlike shorts in the 1940’s; Meshes of the Afternoon and At Land really appeal to me. She explores female psyche and fantasy and the style is totally unique.

Jehenna // Posted 14 August 2009 at 4:08 am

Sally Potter for Orlando, which is still one of my favourite films after more than 10 years.

Kate // Posted 20 August 2009 at 4:43 pm

Boys Don’t Cry is amazing, I saw it for the first time recently.

My favourite female director is Sophia Copella (sp?), although I am aware she’s come under fire for casual racism for Lost In Translation….

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