Women Centric Films at Toronto

by Melissa Silverstein on July 28, 2010

in Festivals

It totally sucks that there are so few female directors at Toronto.  But since I am a look on the bright side kind of girl (ha ha), there are a great many interesting women centric films that will be premiering that I am excited to see (if I get press credentials.)

The films include many high profile actresses including: Natalie Portman, Nicole Kidman, Catherine Deneuve, Kristin Scott Thomas, Hilary Swank, Helen Mirren, Sally Hawkins, Miranda Richardson, and Hiam Abbas.

They include (all blurbs from Toronto Film Fest site):

Black Swan
A psychological thriller set in the world of New York City ballet, Black Swan stars Natalie Portman as Nina, a featured dancer who finds herself locked in a web of competitive intrigue with a new rival at the company. Black Swan takes a thrilling and at times terrifying journey through the psyche of a young ballerina whose starring role as the duplicitous swan queen turns out to be a part for which she becomes frighteningly perfect. Black Swan also stars Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey and Winona Ryder.

The Debt
Helen Mirren, Jessica Chastain and Sam Worthington star in this thriller about three Israeli Mossad agents on a 1965 mission to capture a notorious Nazi war criminal. Thirty years later, secrets about the case emerge.

Potiche
A bourgeois housewife (Catherine Deneuve) takes on a rough union leader (Gerard Depardieu) in François Ozon’s sparkling comic war between the sexes, and the classes.

Conviction
Conviction is the inspirational true story of a sister’s unwavering devotion to her brother. When Betty Anne Waters’ (two-time Academy® Award winner Hilary Swank) older brother Kenny (Sam Rockwell) is arrested for murder and sentenced to life in 1983, Betty Anne, a Massachusetts wife and mother of two, dedicates her life to overturning the murder conviction.

Easy A
After a little white lie about losing her virginity gets out, a clean-cut high school girl (Emma Stone) sees her life paralleling Hester Prynne’s in The Scarlet Letter, which she is currently studying in school – until she decides to use the rumour mill to advance her social and financial standing.

Love Crime
Dangerous Liaisons meets Working Girl in this deliciously caustic tale of office politics. Starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier as mentor and ingénue, Love Crime is a remorseless clash of two competing egos.

Made in Dagenham
Sally Hawkins stars as Rita O’Grady, the catalyst for the 1968 Ford Dagenham strike by 187 sewing machinists which led to the advent of the Equal Party Act. Working in extremely impoverished conditions for long, arduous hours, the women at the Ford Dagenham plant finally lose their patience when they are reclassified as “unskilled.” With humour, common sense and courage, they take on their corporate paymasters, an increasingly belligerent local community, and finally the government itself. The film also stars Bob Hoskins, Miranda Richardson, Geraldine James and Rosamund Pike.

Miral
From the director of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Before Night Falls and Basquiat, comes Miral, the visceral, first-person diary of a young girl growing up in East Jerusalem as she confronts the effects of occupation and war in every corner of her life. Schnabel pieces together momentary fragments of Miral’s world – how she was formed, who influenced her, all that she experiences in her tumultuous early years – to create a raw, moving, poetic portrait of a woman whose small, personal story is inextricably woven into the bigger history unfolding all around her.

Rabbit Hole
A family navigates the deepest form of loss in John Cameron Mitchell’s screen adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize winning play by David Lindsay-Abaire. Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart deliver captivating performances as a husband and wife who fight to save their marriage in the life that begins again after tragedy.

That Girl in Yellow Boots
Ruth is searching for her father – a man she hardly knew but cannot forget. Desperation drives her to work without a permit, at a massage parlour, where she gives ‘happy endings’ to unfulfilled men. Torn between several schisms, Mumbai becomes the backdrop for Ruth’s quest as she struggles to find her independence and space even as she is sucked deeper into the labyrinthine politics of the city’s underbelly.

Tamara Drewe
Based on Posy Simmonds’ beloved graphic novel. When Tamara Drewe returns to the village of her youth, life for the locals is thrown upside down. Tamara – once an ugly duckling – has been transformed and is now a minor celebrity. As infatuations, jealousies, love affairs and career ambitions collide among the inhabitants of the neighbouring farmsteads, Tamara sets a contemporary comedy of manners into play.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

AV July 28, 2010 at 11:35 AM

Not one female director with a gala red carpet premiere at toronto?
Only one solo female director, and a husband and wife team, in special presentations?
Appreciate there are women centric films, but a female director’s pov is nothing to them. It requires, apparently, as Mr. Bret Easton Ellis has explained, ‘the male gaze’ to necessary to see a female character or have any visual context.
I’d admire your optimism, and if we need to do a petition so WOMEN & HOLLYWOOD gets a press pass, we will.

AV July 28, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Not one female director with a gala red carpet premiere at toronto?
Only one solo female director, and a husband and wife team, in special presentations?
Appreciate there are women centric films, but a female director’s pov is nothing to them. It requires, apparently, as Mr. Bret Easton Ellis has explained, ‘the male gaze’ to necessary to see a female character or have any visual context.
I admire your optimism, and if we need to do a petition so WOMEN & HOLLYWOOD gets a press pass, put one up and we’ll pass it on.

wellywoodwoman July 28, 2010 at 11:37 PM

And now for the good news. Women directed eight out of nineteen contending features in the Australian Film Institute’s awards, just announced : http://tinyurl.com/2fmyery. That’s 42%! Rachel Perkins’ “Bran Nue Dae”, Jane Campion’s “Bright Star”, Daina Reid’s “I love you too”, Belinda Chayko’s “Lou”, Nadia Tass’ “Matching Jack”, Sue Brooks’ “Subdivision”, Julie Bertuccelli’s “The tree”, Claire McCarthy’s “The waiting city”.

Many congratulations to them all! Can Aussie women sustain their output? And if so, how?

Melody July 30, 2010 at 4:50 AM

Since we’re looking at the bright side of this issue – from the semi-loglines all the female leads sound complex and interesting. With the exception of ‘Easy A’ I am really digging the originality! I should find out how many of these were written and/or produced by women…

Elli D. July 31, 2010 at 2:01 PM

Looking forward to the festival – and especially to these movies! I sincerely hope there will be more female directors in Toronto next year, though, because this is kind of sad. Women CAN create amazing films, too. It should be town at the festival as well.

acting classes la January 16, 2012 at 3:08 PM

The Debt and Conviction are two I have not yet seen, but are on my ‘to-watch’ list! Loved Black Swan, wish it’d been directed by a woman (but I love Aronofsky).

Donna October 30, 2012 at 12:47 AM

@AV i quiet agree with you ” Mr. Bret Easton Ellis has explained, ‘the male gaze’ to necessary to see a female character or have any visual context.”

KS October 30, 2012 at 12:53 AM

It is good to have mix of all art at one place with ideas emerging with their synergy. though one of the best female directors exist in this mix up only.

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