Here is my first list of films about women, as promised.
1 The Passion of Joan of Arc.
This film, released in 1928, was almost lost entirely in a fire (appropriately enough.) Fortunately, years later, a copy of it was found in a hospital closet. (You can’t make this up.) The actress, Renee Jeanne Falconetti, stars in her first and only film, in large part (I believe) because Dryer made her experience a painful one, literally. The film uses the trial transcripts of Joan of Arc, however, other than that, the film does not attempt historical accuracy. I remember reading that the designers deliberately built the set without right angles.
This is one of the most important silent films in existence, and Falconetti’s performance is considered one of the best ever. I only saw it once, over ten years ago, my senior year of high school. I wept like a lost child at the end.
In my mind, it is a good place to start a collection of films about women.
2 Notes On A Scandal
This is my favorite film about women. It tells the story of Barbara Covett who has an obsessive infatuation with a first year teacher, Sheba Hart. When she discovers Sheba’s affair with a 15 year old student (!) she decides that she can “secure the prize, forever in my debt.” It is a chilling story.
It’s worth pointing out that the women in this film are not kick-ass/macho types. Indeed, they’re not even sympathetic. I don’t like either of these women, and I hope I never meet any women like them. Yet, they are completely fascinating. They are exceptionally well developed characters, and I am constantly trying to decide with whom my sympathies lie.
Oh, you also get Dame Judy Dench and Cate Blanchett at the top of their games. If that doesn’t make you want to see this film, check yourself into a mental institution. Now.
3 The Sound of Music
This film hardly needs any introduction. Until The Hunger Games: Catching Fire it was the last film to have a woman in the main end up as the number one film of the year in terms of box office earnings.
It’s fun, it’s got great music, it’s got Julie Andrews. This could probably be classified as a chick flick, but it’s also a great children’s movie too. It’s also a chick flick with Nazis.