Welcome back to Reel Women, the monthly column that highlights new releases that are written and/or directed by women. This month we’re again looking at what’s being released online for our viewing pleasure, and recommending some films made by women that you can watch during lockdown.

 

1 February

Cenote – available on MUBI

Written and directed by: Kaori Oda

Environmental documentary about cenotes – sources of water that in ancient Mayan civilization were said to connect the real world and the afterlife.

Kaori Oda is a writer, director, cinematographer and editor. Cenote is her third feature-length documentary.

4 February

For the Time Being – available on VOD

Written and directed by: Salka Tiziana

Larissa (Melanie Straub) travels with her nine-year old twins Jon (Jon Bader) and Ole (Ole Bader) to the family farm to meet their father. When the father of the twins does not arrive as planned, the estranged family members encounter each other in this foreign, yet familiar place.

Salka Tiziana is a writer, editor, producer and director. For the Time Being is her first feature film.

Credit: Shudder

A Nightmare Wakes – available on Shudder

Written and directed by: Nora Unkel

An unsettlingly intimate portrayal of a brilliant artist at her most troubled, Shudder’s A Nightmare Wakes, traces the tortured birth of a timeless masterwork and the rightful ascension of its creator to stand alongside her creation.

While composing her famous novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley descends into an opium-fueled fever dream while carrying on a torrid love affair with Percy Shelley. As she writes, the characters of her novel come to life and begin to plague the relationships with those closest to her as the shadow of her monster threatens to overcome her.

Shot with a majority female production crew.

5 February

Strip Down, Rise Up – available on Netflix

Written and directed by: Michèle Ohayon

Documentary about a diverse and vibrant group of women who heal their trauma and body image issues through sensual movement and the art of pole dancing.

Michèle Ohayon is a writer, producer and director with over a dozen directing credits. Her film Colors Straight Up was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 1998 Oscars.

Simple Passion – available on Curzon Home Cinema

Written and directed by: Danielle Arbid

A mother falls into an addictive relationship with a Russian diplomat, with whom she has nothing in common.

Danielle Arbid is an actress, writer and director. Simple Passion is her sixth narrative feature film and she’s also directed eight short films, half of which were documentaries.

12 February

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar – available on VOD

Directed by: Josh Greenbaum

Written by: Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig

Lifelong friends Barb (Annie Mumolo) and Star (Kristen Wiig) embark on the adventure of a lifetime when they decide to leave their small Midwestern town for the first time.

Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig are both actresses known for their comedic roles. Together they wrote Bridesmaids which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

To All The Boys: Always And Forever – available on Netflix

Directed by: Michael Fimognari

Written by: Katie Lovejoy

As Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) prepares for the end of high school and the start of adulthood, a pair of life-changing trips lead her to reimagine what life with her family, friends, and Peter (Noah Cantineo) will look like after graduation.

Katie Lovejoy is a producer and writer. To All The Boys: Always And Forever is her first produced feature-length screenplay after previously writing for TV.

Dead Pigs – available on MUBI

Written and directed by: Cathy Yan

A bumbling pig farmer, a feisty salon owner, a sensitive busboy, an expat architect and a disenchanted rich girl converge and collide as thousands of dead pigs float down the river towards a rapidly-modernizing Shanghai.

Before she directed Birds of Prey, Cathy Yan had directed three short films and one feature film; Dead Pigs which is finally being released in the UK.

Slalom – available on Curzon Home Cinema

Directed by: Charlène Favier

Written by: Charlène Favier and Marie Talon

Under the guidance of a strict ex-champion, a promising 15-year-old girl trains as a professional skiing star. Will she be able to endure the physical and emotional pressures?

Slalom is Marie Talon’s first produced screenplay while it is Charlène Favier’s first feature-length screenplay after previously writing and directing four short films.

26 February

Crazy About Her – available on Netflix

Directed by: Dani de la Orden

Written by: Natalia Durán and Eric Navarro

After a magical one-night stand with cryptic and enigmatic Carla (Susana Abaitua), Adri (Álvaro Cervantes) decides to admit himself at the mental institution where Carla resides in order to see her again, but he will soon discover that checking himself out will not be as easy as he thought.

Natalia Durán is an actress and writer. Crazy About Her is her third feature film and she’s previous written episodes for the TV shows Welcome to the Family and Arròs covat.

Team JumpCut’s recommendations

What They Had – available on Netflix

Written and directed by: Elizabeth Chomko

As someone who has had loved ones live and die with Alzheimer’s/dementia, What They Had really hit home for me. It’s about a family struggling to do the right thing for their ailing mother while their father refuses to let her go. What They Had is both sad and funny (because you’ve got to laugh in these situations, because if you don’t, you’ll cry) and is the best depiction of someone living with dementia and how it affects a whole family I’ve ever seen.

D.E.B.S. – available on VOD

Written and directed by: Angela Robinson

A cult classic in certain circles, D.E.B.S. is a teen high school/spy movie where one of the heroines (Sara Foster) falls for deadly criminal Lucy Diamond (Jordana Brewster). Yep, it’s a lesbian action comedy! It won’t be for everyone but D.E.B.S. is a lot of fun.

Mean Girls – available on Netflix

Directed by: Mark Waters

Written by: Tina Fey

I think I speak for everyone that almost a year into a pandemic, it’s nice to find something that makes you laugh or to turn back to old comfort films – or both! Mean Girls needs no introduction really, it’s gained almost iconic teen movie status and has the almost perfect take down of high school cliques and clichés.

As always, we’d love to hear what films you’ve watched recently that are made by women.