PS: Best Female Director Cinematic Body of Work?

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In honor of the International Women's Day and the 2018 #PressforProgress theme, a salute to trailblazing female movie directors. Support the growth of female directed cinema by watching great female-led movies and by learning more here.

Which select* trailblazing female director presents the best quality career body of work, so far? *Metacritic Top Ten rated directors, Oscar-nominated feature directors, Top Box Office directors or career body of work directors

See the partial list of great female movie directors here: https://www.imdb.com/list/ls023127226/
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urbanemovies

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Posted 1 year ago

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Dibyayan Chakravorty, Champion

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Benu...41 names...!!!???
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rubyfruit76, Champion

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Probably Coppola. To get it to 41, you could create parameters for inclusion. Once you get it narrowed down to 41, it would still be timely for Women's History Month.
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urbanemovies

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Good Suggestion, I did use that criteria already. An Oscar, Golden Palm or a Golden Bear qualified some of these women for the list. The issue still remains the same. It inflated the pool with one-hit wonders or others at the start of the careers, like Dee Rees and Ava DuVernay, but offered no more unquestionable choices.

I hate to say this, but the bar for inclusion needs to be lower for women or the list will pale, in comparison size-wise. If held to the same standard the list would be 1/20th the size: due to the lack of prolific producing female directors, a lack of opportunity for female directors or simply the fact pool of male directors to select from is almost twenty times larger. I can sympathize with how challenging it must be to successful female director, woman have all the normal hurdles to clear, plus a few more to make the task even harder.

The Hollywood Reporter reports 2017 releases yielded eight (8%) female-directed Top 100 box office movies and only fifty-two (4.7%) female-directed movies of eleven hundred distributed films. Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman bucked the odds this past year and became the highest-grossing non-reboot or non-sequel in 2017. Interestingly, a San Diego State University industry study found: "When women and men filmmakers have similar budgets for their films, the resulting box office grosses are also similar."

Despite, some recent anecdotal success the future seems bleak for female directors.The World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report separately reveals that gender parity at the current rate of progress is only 217 years away. At a time, when 50% of NASA's latest astronaut class is female, it begs the question why can't more women be put at the helm of motion pictures?
(Edited)
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ElM.

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To be honest, I've seen guys struggling just as much as women. According to the facts you're stating, there are more men than women playing in the game, but the question shouldn't be 'how many chosen?' but 'how many called?'.

If there's one female director for ten male, it looks like discrimination, but if it's 1 female director out of 100 and 10 male directors out of 1000, it's the same ratio of selection. And I have the impression that there's no discrimination whatsoever. Why should it be anyway? 

Maybe with big studios but who the hell cares? I mean since when "Big Studios" are the guarantees of quality film-making, are blockbusters the mark of artistic excellence? Just like Wonder Woman, I feel like people took it more seriously than it ought to be, it's certainly a great piece of film-making but it was a bit overpraised just on the basis that it's made by a woman.  

It's like today, any movie made by a woman will have that 'edgy' thing, that idea that it's some statement to be made for women rights etc. Things are politicized very quickly and always made a case of equality, diversity etc. the Frozen effect, maybe...

Or maybe it's frustration talking, I'm no macho lol, I'm surrounded by women in my regular life and for some reason, I feel like the Western world is tougher against average guys than it is against women. That's my feeling anyway :)
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urbanemovies

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I am not on an industry insider, but based on what I read it is even worse than I thought. I would recommend reading the Hollywood Reporter article on women/minority opportunities in Hollywood click here: Eight Women Directed a Top 100 Movie in 2017, Study Finds (Exclusive).

I thought Jimmy Kimmel's jokes at the Oscars were on point on the matter: "Black Panther' and 'Wonder Woman' were massive hits, which is almost a miracle because I remember a time when studio heads didn’t think a woman or a minority could open a superhero movie - and I remember that time because it was March of last year."

You can't win at a game, if you are not even allowed to play, in the first place. I agree that both movies probably got more attention than they deserved. But, I think rather than disprove your point, I think they make the case against it: By the fact people were so surprised that a black/woman directed movie with an all-star black/female cast could be both a critical and commercial success. When we start treating these movies as nothing special is when discrimination is no longer an issue. It also seems the gender gap issue instead of improving is actually regressing.according to.The World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report "Unfortunately, data shows that the gender gap is widening, so there desperately needs to be new ways of thinking if the world is to close the gender gap. Progress is regressing and moving backwards."
(Edited)
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ElM.

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I see your point... I tend to admire anyone's success regardless of his color of skin, gender or sexual orientation, but if it's determined that these factors generally work against the director (or any performer) and that the success was unprecedented, well, yeah, it gives an extra taste of victory.

I could say that diversity or "gender-twist" can be played as a sort of marketing argument, but there are many cases speaking against it. That Wonder Woman worked while Ghostbusters flopped shows that quality still matters after all.
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urbanemovies

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I agree with your observations also. No one should get a pass because of their sex, color, race or creed. It is the work that matters, everyone should be judged solely on that and the end result movie. Gender equality means you take the good with bad and you don't get projects either because of your sex.

But, the whole issue is a bit eye-opening to me, I knew there was some disparity, but wasn't aware the gap was a chasm. When only 52 women, 63 blacks and 38 Asians are directors of over 1100 major studio distributed films, it is too wide a gap to be just random or happen by chance and indicates some type of systematic bias.
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LD

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Kathryn Bigelow
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ElM.

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Don't you think that Number 41 is debatable? When Matrix was done, they were still brothers.
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urbanemovies

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Thanks, I agree it debatable. I am not sure they make a final cut. But, I definitely think they are worthy of being in the conversation. I left them in for now, until I figure what the bar is for inclusion. I am not qualifying there body of work by dividing it is, right either. Either including (as Wachowski sisters) or excluding (as Wachowski brothers) seems both right and wrong at the same time .
(Edited)
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ElM.

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Just to specify my comment, it's also on a chronological level. If you make a poll about "Movies Featuring an Oscar-Winning Cast", you would include TThe Poseidon Adventure because at the time of its release, Gene Hackman, Red Buttons, Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters and Jack Albertson were Oscar winners, but would you include The Godfather Part II? Technically, in 1974, none of Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Robert Duvall or Robert De Niro had won an Oscar yet, so it's not an Oscar-winning cast unless you think retrospectively... It's all about being technical or retrospective :)
(Edited)
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Dibyayan Chakravorty, Champion

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urbanemovies

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Thanks, I am not sure she makes a final cut. But, I definitely agree she is in the conversation with two dozen features, mostly highly or well rated. I added her for now, until I figure what the bar is for inclusion.
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urbanemovies

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i am still reworking based on inclusion criteria, latest take is to create a version using festival awards Venice, Berlin, Sundance, Toronto, Cannes to create a female Who's Who of noteworthy Female Directors.
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rubyfruit76, Champion

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bumpety-bump: this could get down to 35, couldn't it? Or made into two lists? And (the intro) updated to be pushed outside of March?
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rubyfruit76, Champion

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Hey urbane, this could be a good poll -- or two good polls. Are you going to complete it? I hope so. :)
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Peter, Champion

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I did two similar polls on female directors a couple of years ago. Here they are for anyone who wants to vote:

https://www.imdb.com/poll/G9X6JREarmk/
https://www.imdb.com/poll/Dc5e0XK-ntM/
(Edited)
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Peter, Champion

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Urbane’s list could still be used, though. I would keep it to one list and make sure you include the leaders from my old polls.
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rubyfruit76, Champion

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It's at 42 choices right now so it can't be used unless changed. It also would need to be updated because the intro applies to March. Urb, let me know whether you still want this to be considered.
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Kyle Perez

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I'll go with Katheryn Bigelow. She's made some exceptional films over the years.