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March has been marked as the month when we pay tribute to all the amazing women in history. As March comes to a close, I want to recognize the amazing women in the film industry who have brought us some of the greatest movies of this century.

These incredibly talented directors deserve so much recognition for their contribution to cinema. From blockbuster hits that broke records, like Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” (2023), to more underrated films, like Celine Sciamma’s “Petite Maman” (2021), women in the film industry have delivered many iconic motion pictures.

It is impossible to discuss women directors without mentioning the name Greta Gerwig. Gerwig is an American writer and director and has done such an incredible job peeking at the nasty underbelly of being a woman in American society. With films like “Lady Bird” (2017), “Little Women (2019) and, of course, “Barbie” (2023), Gerwig has become an icon in cinema. 

Unlike other movies, many of Gerwig’s films do not always end with explicitly happy endings. However, that is exactly what I love about her films! The films are not stereotypical damsel-in-distress tropes that have been exhausted repeatedly in Hollywood. Every character is made to be so devastatingly human that you can’t help but see parts of yourself in each one of them. The characters aren’t women designed for the male gaze, but are women with complex thoughts, insecurities, and real-life problems. Yet despite all that, they are still perplexing and wonderful characters that you can’t help but root for. Greta is one of my favorite directors of all time and has even inspired me to pursue a job in the film industry.

Another household name is American screenwriter and director Sofia Coppola. Her latest movie, “Priscilla” (2023) is a film adaptation of Priscilla Presley’s memoir “Elvis and Me” (1985). Coppola made a film so indescribably lonely and quiet, which I think perfectly embodied the life Priscilla wrote about when Elvis was not around. Coppola’s ability to capture scenes of Priscilla’s complete emotional and physical isolation, but also deliver deafeningly loud and decorative scenes, when around Elvis, highlighted her range. Coppola’s earlier work, “The Virgin Suicides” (1999) is truly the most detrimental film I have yet to see. 

Contrary to Gerwig, Coppola completely dives into the male gaze with this film. The innocence in the way the Libson sisters dress, act, and are perceived is incredibly uncomfortable to bear witness to, but that was the entire point. Though one film was fiction, Coppola was able to capture that The Libson sisters and Priscilla Presley were both lonely and pining for the attention of men who did not value them, but Priscilla, unlike the sisters, made it out alive.

Furthermore, a clinically underrated French director and screenwriter, who has made so many beautiful films; is none other than Celine Sciamma. Personally, one of my favorite directors of all-time with tearjerkers like “Tomboy” (2011), “Girlhood” (2014), “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (2019) and “Petite Maman” (2021). Sciamma dives into the intergenerational relationship of women through an entirely new perspective. Thus, allowing the audience to find solace in Nelly and her newfound friendship. 

A similar feeling is conveyed in “Tomboy,” a film about a gender non-conforming 10-year-old who goes by Mikael and their struggles trying to fit in with the other neighborhood children. Sciamma’s choice of keeping everything within a sweet childlike innocence in her films, but also allowing there to be an element of children recognizing their autonomy radiates so much comfort. Though Sciamma touches on very difficult topics like gender expression, sexual orientation, and grief there is still a sense of belonging and a reminder of staying true to who you are. For those reasons, Celine Sciamma is, in my opinion, the most incredible film writer and director of this century.

Similarly, Indigenous Chicana, Aurora Guerrero is a director from California that has made incredible films about Chicano and Queer culture. Guerrero’s directing has made incredible movies and shows including “Mosquita y Mari” (2012), Netflix Series “Gentefied” (2020-2021) and she directed an episode of “Little America: The Jaguar” (2020-2022). “Gentefied,” produced by America Ferrera, is a show about a Mexican family living in California trying to save their restaurant from gentrification. Guerrero did an incredible job capturing the culture and cultural struggles without exploiting them. This show, unlike many depictions of Mexican and Chicano culture, is not about drugs or gangs, but instead a family just trying to make their way through life. That level of representation is exactly what minorities in America have been asking for, it finally feels like Guerrero heard and understood the importance of representation. 

Guerrero’s theme continues in Season 1: Episode 2 of “Little America” which follows Marisol, an undocumented high schooler who falls in love with the wealthy sport of Squash. Through this, she is confronted with her lack of citizenship status and is determined to become the best player. The talent brought by actress Jearnest Corchado and director Aurora Guerrero in this episode come together to make a spectacular and moving story. Aurora Guerrero is not a new director by any means, but she is finally getting the recognition she has always deserved.

There are also many other directors whom I have a deep appreciation for that deserve to be mention; Chloe Zhao: director of “Nomadland” (2021), Nida Manzoor: director of “Polite Society” (2023), Ava DuVernay; director of “Selma” (2014), Stella Meghie: director of “The Photograph” (2020), Lulu Wang: director of “The Farewell” (2019) and this is just to mention a few.

There are so many incredibly talented women in the film industry, and I am so grateful to be able to look up to them. They have trailblazed the path for all women; women of color, queer women, undocumented women and women who have felt the effects of lacking representation in the media. I truly idolize these iconic and historic women and the mark they have made for the future of cinema.

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