Sexism Watch: Hollywood Reporter’s List of Top Films of the Decade

by Melissa Silverstein on December 4, 2009

in Movies,Sexism

Now that we are about to enter 2010 everyone is looking back on the last decade and compiling lists upon lists.  Here’s a list that caught my attention, The Hollywood Reporter’s Top Ten Movies of the Decade and not surprisingly, there is not a single female directed film on the list.  You can tell from the list that it was not a US based list so that opens is up much wider.  I seriously cannot believe that a single woman directed film in the last decade is not worthy of being on this list.

Here’s the list that was published (FYI- there is no information on how the list was compiled)

1- Letters from Iwo Jima

2-United 93

3- No Country for Old Men

4- The Fog of War

5- 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

6- Far From Heaven

7- Divine Intervention

8- Cache

9- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

10- The White Ribbon

So my question is, what women directed films do you think should be included on this list?

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist December 4, 2009 at 11:35 AM

LOST IN TRANSLATION, hello??? That was a big defining moment for Indie Hollywood…

Soirore December 4, 2009 at 12:25 PM

I always find these things very difficult. However… I would definitely replace Far From Heaven with Bright Star for a start.

The second film dealt better with a “doomed”, chaste romance and refreshed women’s genre film more authentically. It also used foliage and flowers more effectively. I disliked FFH mainly because it claimed to be a women’s film when there were real ones out there which were better.

I haven’t seen enough of the others to comment on them although I am constantly surprised by the popularity of Cache. I am certain that several female directed films (especially European ones that are comparable in style) are of equal or better quality.

I think it is interesting that the list contains several films directly or indirectly reflecting upon the war on terror or war/s generally which can be a rather a masculine preoccupation. Perhaps the further we get from 2001 the more alternative stories will be valued. I’d include a reference to Sally Potter’s Yes here as a woman’s response to the war on terror but I don’t think that’s one of the ten best of the decade either.

Ten years is a long time, it’s very hard.

jonk December 4, 2009 at 12:26 PM

some of my faves:

Kelly Reichardt’s Old Joy and Wendy & Lucy
Claire Denis’ Friday Night [probably others from her that i have not yet seen]
Jamie Babbit’s Itty Bitty Titty Committee
Agnes Varda’s The Gleaners and I [probably others from her that i have not yet seen]
Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker [one of my 5 of this year]
Lynn Shelton’s Humpday [one of my 5 of this year]

i’m sure i’m forgetting some obvious stuff

Citizen Taqueau December 4, 2009 at 12:33 PM

Hurt Locker, definitely.
Lost in Translation was a pivotal film, too.

Lisa December 4, 2009 at 12:52 PM

The Hurt Locker and Bright Star.

Thomai in L.A. (it rhymes) December 4, 2009 at 1:15 PM

Frozen River, Hurt Locker.

Thomai in L.A. (it rhymes) December 4, 2009 at 1:16 PM

Frozen River, Hurt Locker and Monster.

didn’t care for Lost in translation, but, a lot of folks did.

louisa may December 4, 2009 at 1:41 PM

Little Miss Sunshine is one of my favorite movies in the last decade and it was co-directed by a woman, that counts, right? Also, I know I’ll get tut tutted by many, but I need to throw my second favorite movie of the year in there, Jennifer’s Body.

wellywoodwoman December 4, 2009 at 10:14 PM

I’m going for the ones that changed me somehow, made me look differently at the world. Andrea Arnold’s Red Road, a breakthrough film for me that means I’ll never again watch a woman having sex on screen in the same way. Frozen River. Persepolis (co-directed Marjane Satrapi). Young @ Heart & Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls—yes I know they’re docos (& Y@H directed by a man) but they warmed me in the way few fictional features did. Women-centred films directed by men: Samson & Delilah & Irina Palm. I also really enjoyed The Lives of Others: I heard a filmmaker from the former East Germany say the other day that from his perspective it was nonsense, but I just loved the intricacies of the script, & some of the images e.g. the woman with the spittle smeared on her face in the taxi.

& today I read on Indiewire ( that over the past ten years, only five of the 241 films that have grossed $100 million were directed by women: Twilight, What Women Want, The Proposal, Mamma Mia! (which I loved) and Something’s Gotta Give; + Shrek & Shark Tale with a woman co-director: 2% all up. Only 31 films directed or co-directed by women grossed over $20 million in contrast with 1,000 films directed by men. No wonder that the all-male director lists prevail!

Cecil Ames December 6, 2009 at 1:31 AM

This is an illogical point. There are far less female directors therefore in a tiny list of ten, it’s unsurprising that there is no representation of their work. Bemoan the lack of female directors but don’t be as obnoxious as to assume the handful of excellent movies that women have produced this decade deserve a place on any given list based on their vagina. It’s cool to mention something like Lost in Translation, but when one of the first 10 mentioned is Frozen River and you cry sexism, you look ridiculous.

Jane December 6, 2009 at 1:40 AM

Away From Her.

Laurel Canyon, maybe?

Elise December 8, 2009 at 10:08 AM

“The Beaches of Agnès,” directed by Agnès Varda, is one of the best movies I’ve *ever* seen, let alone this decade. Go rent it, now!

Zygarch December 15, 2009 at 12:48 PM

Cache, though interesting, is hardly one of the best of the decade. Bright Star, on the other hand, is one of the best movies I’ve seen in my lifetime.

And I’ve seen over 5000 movies.

And Letters From Iwo Jima, though beautifully shot, and containing of a complex and profound mise en scene, did not provide me with as many pleasurable cinematic moments as An Education.

Maaretta January 23, 2011 at 5:47 PM

Andrea Arnold’s “Fish Tank” (one of the best movies I’ve seen in my life…)
Courtney Hunt’s “Frozen River”
Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation” (of course)
Hana Makhmalbaf’s “Buddha Collapse out of shame”

Didn’t care for many of these films on the “decade” list, except for “4 months, 3 weeks and two days” and “White Ribbon”, which seems like a film I’d love (Have to see it soon…).

Listing the movies “of the decade” seems always to be weird in the sense that the critics tend to pick whatever is hip at the moment or is getting a lot of press. Not because they were actually groundbreaking good. (That’s my interpretation, of course. The critics picks may be deeper than I think. But doubt it!)

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