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YOU DON’T KNOW JANE:

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People who love movies love movie trivia. It’s a great thrill — who won this Oscar, who was the first this or that to win that Oscar, who was uncredited for his work on X, what sly references did the director work in — to know the little arcana about moviemaking, like being able to peer into the codex of Hollywood magic.

And, both justly and unjustly, directors have been lifted up, by glowing and condescending press alike, into the position of the priesthood of this sacred order.

So here’s the question: can you name five female movie directors? Preferably off the top of your head.

And for the bonus question: can you name one great female director?

By great, I don’t mean somebody that’s a good director, or somebody who makes movies you adore. I mean somebody that’s had a lasting impact on the art or storytelling of moviemaking. (Examples: Kubrick’s influence on cinamatography; Hitchcock’s influence on how suspense stories are made and received.)

C’mon, give it a try.

(And yes, I have answers to both questions posed, which I’ll reveal later.)

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About Colin Wyers

  • Kathy

    Gillian Armstrong
    Jocelyn Morehouse
    Jane Campion
    Kathryn Bigelow
    Maggie Greenwald

    great
    Leni Riefenstahl

  • http://www.the-dailyrant.com Jay Caruso

    Penny Marshall, Kathryn Bigelow, Amy Heckerling, Sofia Coppola, Jane Campion.

    One great female director? Based upon your description of ‘great’ I cannot think of anybody, but I am interested in seeing your choice.

  • http://www.well.com/~srhodes Steve Rhodes

    Great ones: Maya Daren, Barbara Kopple, Faith Hubley (much of her work in collaboration with her husband John. Their daughter Emily is also an animator and Georgia is a member of Yo La Tengo)

    I could think of more.

    Five more: Ida Lupino, Yvonne Rainer, Allison Anders, Rebecca Miller, Nora Ephron

    And Angelica Huston, Nacy Savoca, Lee Grant, Julie Dash, Cheryl Dunye, Penelope Spheris, Betty Carter, Dorothy Thomas, Jill Sprecher, Sarah Jacobson…

    I could name many more.

  • Sean Sweeney

    The Good:
    -Jane Champion (well, Angle At My Table was great, The Piano has not aged well, and her last 2 were not too hot).
    -Been a while since a great Barbara Kopple documentary.
    -Sofia Coppola (Virgin Suicides was certainty better then her brothers CQ).
    -Jennifer Jason Leigh co-directed the under appreciated Anniversary Party.

    Then there’s a bunch of female directors ranging from mediocre to dull: Betsy Thomas, Penny marshal, Barbara Streisand, Alison Andrews, Penelope Spheris and Amy Heckling.

    Unfortunately in recent years Lina Wertmuller and Champion are the closest thing to “important directors”. There have not been female-Spielbergs or female-Tarrentinos just a lot of female-John Landis’s.

  • Sean Sweeney

    The Good:
    -Jane Champion (well, Angle At My Table was great, The Piano has not aged well, and her last 2 were not too hot).
    -Been a while since a great Barbara Kopple documentary.
    -Sofia Coppola (Virgin Suicides was certainty better then her brothers CQ).
    -Jennifer Jason Leigh co-directed the under appreciated Anniversary Party.

    Then there’s a bunch of female directors ranging from mediocre to dull: Betsy Thomas, Penny Marshal, Barbara Streisand, Alison Andrews, Penelope Spheris and Amy Heckling.

    Unfortunately in recent years Lina Wertmuller and Champion are the closest thing to “important directors”. There have not been female-Spielbergs or female-Tarrentinos, just a lot of female-John Landis’s.

  • Sean Sweeney

    The Good:
    -Jane Champion (Well Angle At My Table was great, The Piano has not aged well, and her last 2 were not too hot).
    -Been a while since a great Barbara Kopple documentary.
    -Sofia Coppola (Virgin Suicides was certainty better then her brothers CQ).
    -Jennifer Jason Leigh co-directed the under appreciated Anniversary Party.

    Then there’s a bunch of female directors ranging from mediocre to dull: Betsy Thomas, Penny marshal, Barbara Streisand, Alison Andrews, Penelope Spheris, Amy Heckling. etc.

    Unfortunately, in recent years Lina Wertmuller and Champion are the closest thing to “important directors”. There have not been female-Spielbergs or female-Tarrentinos, just a lot of female-John Landis’s.

  • http://blogcritics.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi?tb_id=1238 Sean Sweeney

    The Good:
    -Jane Champion (Well Angle At My Table was great, The Piano has not aged well, and her last 2 were not too hot).
    -Been a while since a great Barbara Kopple documentary.
    -Sofia Coppola (Virgin Suicides was certainty better then her brothers CQ).
    -Jennifer Jason Leigh co-directed the under appreciated Anniversary Party.

    Then there’s a bunch of female directors ranging from mediocre to dull: Betsy Thomas, Penny marshal, Barbara Streisand, Alison Andrews, Penelope Spheris, Amy Heckling. etc.

    Unfortunately, in recent years Lina Wertmuller and Champion are the closest thing to “important directors”. There have not been female-Spielbergs or female-Tarrentinos, just a lot of female-John Landis’s.

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