Browse By

Women Directors 2018

See a comprehensive list of theatrical releases and movies released via streaming and other platforms (dvd, television, video on demand) as well as the reviewed films.

The Swan | Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir
Debut Feature | In Icelandic | Written by Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir
Based on Guðbergur Bergsson’s 1991 novel
Released August 10 | Synergetic Distribution

Anchored by a remarkable child’s performance, The Swan is a sensitive example of an overlooked element in coming-of-age films: awakening to the outside world. Nine-year-old Sól (Gríma Valsdóttir) is an insular girl, her imagination fueled by the craggy shoreline and unceasing sea that surround her small Icelandic coastal community. She’s angry and resentful at being sent away for the summer, a banishment presented in Guðbergur Bergsson’s 1991 novel as the punishment for shoplifting. [more]

Good Manners | Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra
Feature | In Brazilian Portuguese | Written by Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra
Released July 27 | Distrib Films US

Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra’s contemporary fairy tale is a heady blend of heightened reality and grounded fantasy set in a São Paulo envisioned as an orderly steel-and-glass fortress surrounded by the colorful chaos of improvised neighborhoods. High and low are clearly delineated, and when Clara (Isabél Zuaa) arrives at the condo tower where a demanding, pregnant Ana (Marjorie Estiano) is interviewing potential nannies, her unease is expressed in twitchy discomfort. The visual style (color-saturated modern gothic) and tone of empathic fatalism can be described as Guillermo del Toro meets Jacques Demy, but Rojas and Dutra have created a singular fable where anxiety and fear are directed inward, even when the danger is all too real. [more]

Pin Cushion | Deborah Haywood
Debut Feature | Written by Deborah Haywood
Released July 20 | Cleopatra Entertainment

Deborah Haywood’s formidable first feature is at once a ruthless dissection of cruelty, capturing the relentless torment of outcasts for the pleasure of self-styled superiors, and a warm evocation of an interdependent mother-daughter bond. Pin Cushion has the visual cues of comedy, with its candy-colored kitsch and exaggerated signifiers of eccentricity and snobbery, but at heart, it’s a tragedy of naïveté. [more]

Never Steady, Never Still | Kathleen Hepburn
Debut Feature | Written by Kathleen Hepburn
Released June 22 | Level Films

The austere beauty of Never Steady, Never Still reflects the stripped-down lives of Kathleen Hepburn’s self-contained characters, who require little and ask for less. Judy (Shirley Henderson) has early-onset Parkinson’s disease, and only allows herself to express regret and disappointment at a mobility support group (where everyone else is elderly). Living in peaceful isolation on Stuart Lake in rural British Columbia, there are few options for therapy, physical or otherwise. [more]

Half the Picture | Amy Adrion
Debut Documentary | Released June 8 | Gravitas Ventures

Many of the directors featured in Half the Picture (including Gina Prince-Bythewood, Karyn Kusama, Patricia Riggen, and Jamie Babbit) reinvigorated stale genres with their debut films, and Amy Adrion follows suit in her first documentary. Employing a simple talking-head format, Adrion and editor Kate Hackett weave women’s voices into a flowing conversation that needs no narrator. By eschewing explanatory voiceover, Adrion keeps each woman’s perspective distinct while examining gender discrimination. It’s experiential revelation as advocacy filmmaking, an incisive and inviting example of the personal as political. [more]