TORRIA CATRONE, Arts & Life Editor—In a word: women. None of us would be here without them. This Women’s History Month, celebrating women can be as simple as a movie marathon. Here, I have compiled an eclectic list of movies from documentaries about feminism to female directed films for you to enjoy this March. Learn a bit, laugh a bit, and maybe you’ll come to appreciate more the heroines of our daily lives.
She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (2014)
This film is a comprehensive account of the beginnings of the women’s liberation movement from 1966 to 1971. It is full of interviews of women who were immensely important to this second wave of feminism. Hearing straight from these women about their activism and getting to see how passionate they still are about the movement is incredibly inspiring. From the intersection of feminism and racial justice issues to reproductive rights, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry is a great place to start to learn more about the movement.
I Am the Revolution (2018)
The fight for women’s rights is ongoing worldwide and looks different everywhere. I Am the Revolution is a documentary about three women in the Middle East who are championing the fight for women’s liberation and gender equality. It works to undermine the stereotype of the quiet, passive Middle Eastern woman who needs saving, and instead highlights three fearless women who are standing up for themselves and others every day. Selay Gaffer is one of the most-wanted targets of the Taliban and is still courageous enough to travel Afghanistan, educating women and never lowering her voice. Rojda Felat, commander of the Syrian Democratic Army, is working tirelessly leading troops across Syria to defeat ISIS. Finally, Yanar Mohammed is a proponent of parliamentary reform in her home of Iraq, and runs shelters for battered women. Produced by Women Make Movies, a nonprofit feminist media outlet based in New York City, this film is a must-see to get an idea about what feminism means globally.
Lady Bird (2017)
If you haven’t yet seen Lady Bird, now is the perfect time. Written and directed by Greta Gerwig, this movie is an example of female filmmaker genius. Women account for less than 20% of movie directors in the industry, and it is important to celebrate their work this month and every month. This story follows the tense relationship between a mother and a daughter, and is a great portrait of the female teenage experience. Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) is headed off to college, and must navigate her final year of highschool and the ups and downs it means for all of the relationships in her life. This movie is simultaneously poignant and funny, and evokes a sense of nostalgia for a time you haven’t even experienced for yourself.
Frida Kahlo is often praised as a neo-feminist icon for her bold and progressive ideas about art, politics, sex, and feminity. Salma Hayek’s portrayal of this incredible woman is beautiful in this film. The visual aspect of Frida is breathtaking, and the whole movie is a moving retelling of Kahlo’s life story. Directed by Julie Taymor, this film is yet another instance of amazing direction by a woman.
American Honey (2016)
American Honey was written and directed by Andrea Arnold. The story follows Star, played by Sasha Lane, who is a struggling biracial teen in the American Midwest. She gets sucked into the unpredictable lifestyle of a door-to-door magazine sales as a way to escape her abusive household. Along with a group of other runaways, she experiences adulthood for the first time while balancing a volatile romantic relationship with group leader Jake (Shia LaBeouf). The film is a slower, mumblecore portrait of the ways in which a woman can fall into the cracks of American society. It offers commentary on capitalistic exploitation and the ways in which a woman must work to keep up.
The Farewell (2019)
Directed by Lulu Wang and winner of multiple independent film awards, The Farewell is a triumph. The film follows Billi (Awkwafina) and her family as they travel back to China in order to spend their final moments with the family’s matriarch, Billi’s grandmother. The family chooses not to tell her about her ailments and how much longer she has, a choice which Billi struggles with greatly. The film follows their last memories together, and celebrates the familiar circle of life. It explores Chinese-American identity, family, and womanhood in a witty and subtle manner.
Skate Kitchen (2018)
Skate Kitchen follows teenager Camille (Rachelle Vinberg) as she branches out from her boring suburban life to befriend a group of female skateboarders. Together, the girls explore growing up and having fun in New York City’s skating subculture. This film has a lot to say about the nature of friendship and its function between girls. Camille navigates independence and true girl friends for the first time in a very raw and relatable way. The soundtrack for this movie is fantastic as well, and features music from artists like Clairo, Princess Nokia, and Kali Uchis. It was directed by Crystal Moselle, another notable female filmmaker known for her film The Wolfpack (2015).