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 across various platforms that we can watch during lockdown. Hopefully, it’ll be the last month where it’s all online releases as *fingers crossed* cinemas will be reopening in May!
Madame Claude – available on Netflix
Written and directed by: Sylvie Verheyde
Paris, the late 1960s. Madame Claude (Karole Rocher) is at the head of a flourishing business dedicated to prostitution that gives her power over both the French political and criminal worlds. But the end of her empire is closer than she thinks.
Sylvie Verheyde is a writer and director. Madame Claude is her seventh feature film.
Zana – available on VOD
Directed by: Antoneta Kastrati
Written by: Casey Cooper Johnson and Antoneta Kastrati
Haunted by her long suppressed past and pressured by family to seek treatment from mystical healers for her infertility, a Kosovar woman struggles to reconcile the expectations of motherhood with a legacy of wartime brutality.
Antoneta Kastrati is a writer, editor, director and producer. Zana is her first narrative feature after previously directing six documentary short films.
Those That, At a Distance, Resemble Another – available on MUBI
Directed by: Jessica Sarah Rinland
With an elephant’s tusk as the protagonist, Those That, at a Distance, Resemble Another meditates on the endless tactility of conservation.
Jessica Sarah Rinland is a documentary filmmaker who often writes, edits, produces, directs and is the cinematographer for her films. Those That, at a Distance, Resemble Another is her first feature-length documentary after previously directing over a dozen short films.
Songs My Brothers Taught Me – available on Mubi
Written and directed by: Chloé Zhao
With an older brother in jail and living with their single mother on Pine Ridge Reservation, Johnny (John Reddy) and his sister Jashuan’s (Jashaun St. John) lives develop new challenges when their absentee cowboy father suddenly dies. The loss prompts Johnny to strike out for Los Angeles but would mean leaving behind his beloved sister.
Songs My Brothers Taught Me is Chloé Zhao first feature film and she also edited and produced it. It was nominated for the Best First Feature Award at the 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards and Zhao was one of the nominees for the Someone to Watch Award – which seems well deserved considering the year she’s been having.
Sequin In A Blue Room – available on VOD (look out for our review)
Directed by: Samuel Van Grinsven
Written by: Jory Anast and Samuel Van Grinsven
After a chance encounter at an anonymous sex party, a sixteen-year-old boy hunts through the world of a hook-up app to track down the mystery man.
Sequin In A Blue Room is Jory Anast’s first feature-length screenplay. She’s also written three short films and co-wrote the documentary P!nk: All I Know So Far which is set to be released in May.
Promising Young Woman – available on Sky Cinema/NOW TV
Written and directed by: Emerald Fennell
A young woman (Carey Mulligan), traumatised by a tragic event in her past, seeks out vengeance against those who crossed her path.
Emerald Fennell is an actress, writer, director and producer, who’s starred in almost a dozen TV shows including Call the Midwife and The Crown. Promising Young Woman is her first feature film and it’s earnt her three Oscar nominations – Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.
The Reckoning – available on VOD
Directed by: Neil Marshall
Written by: Neil Marshall, Charlotte Kirk and Edward Evers-Swindell
A young widow haunted by the recent suicide of her husband, is falsely accused of being a witch by her Landlord after she rejects his advances.
The Reckoning is Charlotte Kirk’s first produced screenplay, and she was also an executive producer on the film.
True Mothers – available on Curzon Home Cinema (look out for our review)
Directed by: Naomi Kawase
Written by: Naomi Kawase and Izumi Takahashi
A woman with an adopted child is contacted unexpectedly by the child’s birth mother.
Naomi Kawase is a director, writer, and producer. She was also the cinematographer on True Mothers which is her twelfth feature film.
Ghosts – available on MUBI
Written and directed by: Azra Deniz Okyay
A look at the urban transformation of Istanbul centring on four different characters in a single day.
Azra Deniz Okyay is a writer, director and producer. Ghosts is her first feature film, and she has previously directed half a dozen short films.
Me, You, Madness – available on VOD
Written and directed by: Louise Linton
A young thief cases an architectural dream house in Malibu, not realizing it is the home of an eccentric female serial killer.
Louise Linton is an actress and producer. Me, You, Madness is her directorial debut.
I Blame Society – available on VOD
Directed by: Gillian Wallace Horvat
Written by: Gillian Wallace Horvat and Chase Williamson
A struggling filmmaker realizes that the skill set to make a movie is the same to commit the perfect murder.
Gillian Wallace Horvat is a writer, director and producer. I Blame Society is her first feature film after previously directing over forty video documentary shorts.
Sisters with Transistors – available on VOD
Directed by: Lisa Rovner
Documentary following the story of electronic music’s female pioneers, composers who embraced machines and their liberating technologies to utterly transform how we produce and listen to music today.
Sisters with Transistors is Lisa Rovner’s feature-length directorial debut.
Underplayed, another documentary about women in electronic music would make a great double-bill with Sisters with Transistors – check out our review and interview!
Spring Blossom – available on Curzon Home Cinema (look out for our review)
Written and directed by: Suzanne Lindon
A 16-year-old girl, bored with her own age group, becomes involved with an older man at a theatre she passes.
Spring Blossom is Suzanne Lindon’s directorial debut.
Homeward – available on VOD
Directed by: Nariman Aliev
Written by: Nariman Aliev and Marysia Nikitiuk
A father and a son from Crimean Tatar family transport the body of deceased older son and brother from Kyiv to bury him in Crimea.
Marysia Nikitiuk is a director and screenwriter. Homeward is her second feature-length screenplay to be produced and she’s also written ten short films.
Things Heard & Seen – available on Netflix
Written and directed by: Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini
An artist relocates to the Hudson Valley and begins to suspect that her marriage has a sinister darkness, one that rivals her new home’s history.
Shari Springer Berman is a director, writer and producer. In 2004 she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for American Splendor which she also co-directed. Berman has over a dozen directing credits including the films The Nanny Diaries and Girl Most Likely.
Nomadland – available on Disney+
Written and directed by: Chloé Zhao
After losing everything in the Great Recession, a woman (Frances McDormand) embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.
Nomadland is Chloé Zhao’s third feature film and has earnt her four Oscar nominations – Best Film, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing. Her next film is The Eternals, one of many upcoming Marvel films that will hopefully be released later this year.
The Artist’s Wife – available on VOD (look out for our review)
Directed by: Tom Dolby
Written by: Tom Dolby, Nicole Brending and Abdi Nazemian
Claire Smythson, wife of the renowned abstract artist Richard Smythson, is plunged into a late-life crisis when her husband is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and is in danger of not completing the paintings for his final show.
Nicole Brending is a writer, director, editor and producer. The Artist’s Wife is her second feature-length screenplay to be produced and she’s previously written and directed half a dozen short films.
That’s seventeen films made by women being released online this month.
As always, we’d love to hear what films you’ve watched recently that are made by women.