At the start of each month we will be highlighting the films that will be released in UK cinemas that month, that are written and/or directed by women- a little feature we like to call ‘Reel Women’. As someone who’s taken part in the #52FilmsbyWomen for the past few years, I’ve started paying at least a little attention to who is writing and directing what I watch. It’s an enlightening experience and it’s a good way to watch films that I might not have normally have thought about and discover different filmmakers.
Now it’s time to look at May’s releases that are made by women. This month there are a whole host of genres including comedy, thriller, and documentary.
I Feel Pretty
Directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein | Written by: Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein
Renee (Amy Schumer) struggles with insecurities about her body and her abilities, that is until she bangs her head and wakes up believing she’s the most beautiful and capable woman on the planet.
This is both Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein’s feature-length directorial debut but together they’ve written some rom-com classics like ‘Never Been Kissed’ and the romantic drama ‘The Vow’.
Mary and the Witch’s Flower
Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi Written by Riko Sakaguchi and Hiromasa Yonebayashi
The first film from new Japanese animation company, Studio Ponoc, ‘Mary and the Witch’s Flower’ is about a young girl who discovers a world of magic and danger after she picks a flower that only blooms once every seven years.
Riko Sakaguchi has written multiple television series and the Oscar nominated Studio Ghibli film, ‘The Tale of the Princess Kaguya’.
How to Talk to Girls at Parties
Directed by John Cameron Mitchell | Written by Philippa Goslett and John Cameron Mitchell
It’s 1977 in London and when Enn (Alex Sharp) and his friends stubble across a weird party they meet alien Zan (Elle Fanning) who becomes fascinated with them, Earth and everything punk. Philippa Goslett has written four feature films including ‘Holy Money’ and ‘Mary Magdalene’.
Life of the Party
Directed by Ben Falcone | Written by Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy
After her husband suddenly asks for a divorce, Deanna (Melissa McCarthy) decides to join her teenage daughter (Molly Gordon) at college so she can complete her degree. Melissa McCarthy is a hilarious comedian who’s starred in so many great films like ‘The Heat’, ‘Bridesmaids’ and ‘Spy’. ‘Life of the Party’ is the third film she’s co-written with husband Ben Falcone after ‘The Boss’ and ‘Tammy’.
Directed by Meghna Gulzar | Written by Meghna Gulzar and Bhavani Iyer
A thriller about Sehmat (Aalia Bhatt), a Kashmiri spy who is married to Iqbal (Vicky Kaushal), a Pakistani man during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, as she attempts to balance being a wife, mother and spy.
‘Raazi’ is Meghna Gulzar’s fourth feature film. Her previous film ‘Talvar’, is on Netflix and is well worth a watch. Bhavani Iyer has multiple writing credits to her name including the TV series ‘24: India’, the Indian remake of ‘24′.
Directed by Coralie Fargeat | Written by Coralie Fargeat
Jen (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz) is enjoying a romantic getaway with her wealthy boyfriend, until his sleazy friends arrive for a hunting trip. When the situation abruptly turns to violence and Jen is left for dead, she prepares to take bloody revenge on them all.
Revenge is Coralie Fargeat’s debut feature film and she also was one of its editors.
A Love That Never Dies
Directed by Jimmy Edmonds and Jane Harris
A documentary following Jimmy and Jane, who lost their son seven years previously, as they take a road trip across the USA to meet other grieving parents and to see how and why different people grieve.
This is Jane Harris’ first film.
Directed by Léonor Serraille | Written by Clémence Carré, Bastien Daret and Léonor Serraille
Paula Simonian (Laetitia Dosch) is in her early-thirties, is broke and single. She’s spirited yet directionless as she struggles to get by in the lively Parisian metropolis; but if she can make it there, she’ll make it anywhere.
This is Léonor Serraille’s first feature film and it won her the Golden Camera award, which is the award for best first feature film, at Cannes Film Festival last year. ‘Montparnasse Bienvenue’ has won 10 awards and been nominated for 14 more. Clémence Carré has previously worked with Serraille as she edited Serraille’s short film ‘Body’.
Directed by Wim Wenders | Written by Erin Dignam
While captured by jihadist fighters, Scotsman James Moore (James McAvoy) remembers meeting scientist Danielle Flinders (Alicia Vikander) who is preparing to dive in a submersible to the ocean floor. Both in their own confinements, they remember their brief yet intense romance as they struggle with what lies ahead.
Erin Digman’s previous writing credit was ‘The Last Face’ starring Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem. Digman’s directorial and screenplay debut was ‘Denial’ which was nominated for the Grad Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival in 1990.
Directed by Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling | Written by Yolanda Ramke
Stranded in rural Australia after a violent pandemic, Andy (Martin Freeman) is a desperate father trying to find somewhere safe for his infant daughter. ‘Cargo’ is Yolanda Ramke’s first feature film and it is an adaptation of the short film of the same name she and Ben Howling made in 2013.
Directed by Simon Hunter | Written by Elizabeth O’Halloran
After the death of her controlling husband, Edith Moore (Sheila Hancock) decides to attempt a lifelong ambition and climb a mountain in Scotland.
This is Elizabeth O’Halloran’s first screenplay.
Directed by Nora Twomey | Written by Anita Doron
After her father is thrown in jail, a young girl (Saara Chaudry) disguises herself as a boy in order to provide for her family.
‘The Breadwinner’ was nominated for Best Animated Feature at this years Oscars. Nora Twomey co-directed Cartoon Saloon’s first feature film ‘The Secret of Kells’. Anita Doran is a writer and director who has directed five feature films.
The Incredible Story of the Giant Pear
Directed by Amalie Næsby Fick, Jørgen Lerdam and Philip Einstein Lipski | Written by Bo Hr. Hansen
When friends Mitcho (Liva Elvira Magnussen) and Sebastian (Alfred Bjerre Larsen) find a message in a bottle, they go on an adventure inside a giant pear to find the missing mayor of their quaint town.
‘The Incredible Story of the Giant Pear’ is Amalie Næsby Fick’s first feature film.
Directed by Lucrecia Martel | Written by Lucrecia Martel
Don Diego de Zama (Daniel Giménez Cacho), a Spanish officer of the seventeenth century waits in Paraguay for news of his transfer to Buenos Aires. When he hears a man called Vicuña Porto (Matheus Nachtergaele) is raping women and attacking villages, Zama decides to help those in need.
Lucrecia Martel has won numerous awards including Best Film and Best Director for ‘The Headless Woman’ at the Argentinean Academy Awards, and the Alfred Bauer Award at the Berlin International Film Festival for ‘La Ciénaga. Zama’ is Martel’s fifth feature film.
Directed by Alex Richanback | Written by Lauryn Kahn
Harper (Gillian Jacobs) and her two best friends fly to Spain to find a hot DJ.
Lauryn Kahn has written over a dozen short films and Ibiza is her first feature film. It’s also one of Netflix’s original movies.
Those are the fifteen films that are written and/or directed by women and are being released in the UK this month. Some of these are likely to have smaller releases than others, especially foreign language films like ‘Montparnasse Bienvenue’ and ‘Zama’, but there is a couple of Netflix Originals here too, so you can watch them in the comfort of your own home. By writing this post I have discovered many UK releases I was previously unaware of, and I hope some of these films might have piqued your interest too.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these films you if catch them this month! Be sure to leave us a message in the comments below, or tweet us at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE