Joan Micklin Silver’s ‘Crossing Delancey’ Charms the Audience With its Simple New York Romance

Director Joan Micklin Silver and writer Susan Sandler teamed up in 1988 to create Crossing Delancey. Based on a play of the same name, the film is a romantic comedy set against the backdrop of Manhattan. (KIZJ: 3.5/5) 

Gillian Armstrong’s Feminist Film ‘My Brilliant Career’ Illuminates Why Women Feel Compelled to Fulfill Societal Soles

In 1979, director Gillian Armstrong created one of Australia’s finest pieces of feminist film—My Brilliant Career. Based on the novel by Miles Franklin, it centers on a woman who is full of spirit and determination to take full control of her own life. Judy Davis stars as the protagonist who is ready to defy all societal expectations with her thoughts and actions, without a care for what others think. (KIZJ: 4/5) 

Director Zelda Barron’s ‘Shag’ Kicked off the “Naughties” by Reminiscing about American Teenagers in the 1950s

British director Zelda Barron directed Shag in 2001—a film that throws its audience back to simpler times. Starring Page Hannah, Annabeth Gish, Phoebe Cates, and Bridget Fonda, Shag is a friendly and heartwarming film where getting caught by the parents is life’s biggest disaster. (KIZJ: 3/5)

Director Ann Hui Shows a Bleak Reality through a Photojournalist in ‘Boat People’ — the Final Movement of Her Vietnam Trilogy

In 1982, Ann Hui directed the film Boat People (Tau Ban No Hoi)—the final leg of her trilogy of films that center around Vietnam. Starring George Lam, Season Ma, Cora Miao, and the young Andy Lau, the film is an emotional discovery of how people lived in postwar Vietnam. KIZJ: (4/5)

Director Shaohong Li’s ‘Stolen Life’ Exemplifies How a Single Choice Impacts a Life and a Love

In 2005, Shaohong Li directed the coming-of-age drama Stolen Life (Sheng Si Jie), starring Xun Zhou and Jun Wu. The film won the Best Narrative Feature category at Tribeca Film Festival and is a sobering presentation of how drastically life can change when an unexpected child comes along. KIZJ (3/5)

Martha Coolidge Brings to Screen the Comedic Pulitzer Prize-Winning Play ‘Lost in Yonkers’

Director Martha Coolidge collaborates with writer Neil Simon to adapt his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Lost in Yonkers. A warm and kind coming-of-age film where two boys are forced into a new way of living when they stay with their strict grandma in Yonkers. (KIZJ: 3/5)

Director Kimberly Peirce Reveals Soldiers’ Hidden Mental and Emotional Pain in ‘Stop-Loss’

In 2008, Kimberly Peirce directed and co-wrote Stop-Loss—a film that voices the pain hidden within the soldiers that fight the wars for America in Iraq. Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum, Joseph Gorden-Levitt, and Abbie Cornish star in this war story based on reality. (KIZJ: 3/5)

Joan Darling’s ‘First Love’ is a Not-So-Sweet Dive into Campus Romance

Joan Darling directed First Love—one of the first big studio films that was offered to a woman. William Katt and Susan Dey star in this campus love story where a hopeful young man falls in love with a beautiful woman, whose heart is with an older man. (KIZJ: 3/5)

Kirsten Johnson reflects on and reveals life as a documentary filmmaker in ‘Cameraperson’

Documentary director and cinematographer Kirsten Johnson assembles parts of the footage from her years of work into a masterpiece feature Cameraperson. The compilation includes multiple storylines from across the world and captures the lives of many in front of the lens, but also the psychology of those behind the camera. KIZJ: (4/5)

Director Larisa Shepitko Reveals War-Torn Psychologies in ‘The Ascent’

Larisa Shepitko directed and co-wrote The Ascent. The film is a haunting drama set during the Great Patriotic War in World War II, with its story based on Vasil Bykaŭ’s novel, Sotnikov. Boris Plotnikov and Vladimir Gostyukhin star as two partisans who fight for survival physically and emotionally amidst the brutal winter in 1942. (KIZJ: 4.5/5)

Márta Mészáros’s 1975 ‘Adoption’ Defies Society’s Expectations at the Time of the When—and Why—a Woman Should Want to Be a Mother

Hungarian director and screenwriter Márta Mészáros’s best-known film from 1975, Adoption, stars Katalin Berek as a middle-aged single woman who has realized that she wants a child. Through her own observations and friendships with neglected children, she becomes more and more convinced that it is the right choice for her at this point in her life. (KIZJ: 4/5)

Mira Nair Has Us Experience Life on the Streets through the Eyes of Children in ‘Salaam! Bombay’ 

Director Mira Nair directed and co-wrote the feature film Salaam! Bombay in 1988. Starring Shafiq Syed, Nair creates a documentary-like fiction piece that is a heart-wrenching depiction of the lives of children in the slums of Bombay. KIZJ: (4/5)

Elaine May’s Feature ‘Mikey and Nicky’ is a Portrait of Male Friendship Tainted by Society’s Expectations

Mikey and Nicky is Oscar-nominee Elaine May’s third feature from 1976. The film is a dark mystery laced with comedy and social commentary—all dressed up in a gangster setting. Starring John Cassavetes and Peter Falk, May’s piece is an intimate observation of a wavering friendship between two men over a long, long night in Philadelphia. (KIZJ: 4.5/5)

Kathleen Collins Makes us Hold up a Mirror to Ourselves and Question the Role of Art in Life with 1982 Film ‘Losing Ground’

Kathleen Collins wrote and directed Losing Ground (1982)—a film about a middle-class Black couple whose marriage is shaken by the lovers’ diverging paths towards self-discovery. This refreshing film explores the human condition of what makes us feel ecstasy in life. (KIZJ: 4.5/5)

Swedish Director Mai Zetterling Takes Us into the Lives and Societal Roles of Three Pregnant Women in ‘Loving Couples’ (1964)

Mai Zetterling directed and co-wrote her debut feature Loving Couples (1964)—a Swedish drama based on one of Agnes von Krusenstjerna’s seven-part Swedish feminism literary series, The Misses von Pahlen. Zetterling focuses on three women and their romantic relationships, their connection to motherhood, and the solidarity of their gender. (KIZJ: 3.5/5)

Maria João Ganga’s ‘Hollow City’ Takes Us into Life during Angola’s Civil War

Maria João Ganga directs Hollow City (2002), a narrative feature set in Luanda during the Angolan civil war in 1991. Originally titled Na Cidade Vazia, (translated as In the Empty City), this film portrays the effects of a civil war on its people through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy. KIZJ (3.5/5)

Lotte Reiniger’s Animated ‘The Adventures of Prince Achmed’ Is an Inspiring Silhouetted Fairytale Ride

In 1926, German director Lotte Reiniger completed her 65-minute long silhouette animation feature The Adventures of Prince Achmed. The film was influenced by author Hanna Diyab’s tales “The Story of Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Perī-Bānū” and “Aladdin” from the collection of literature in One Thousand and One Nights first published in 1775. After three years of work with a small team of animators, Reiniger brought these ancient stories back to life for new audiences to see the magical journey of Prince Achmed on the theatrical screen. KIZJ (4.5/5)

Leontine Sagan’s German Cult Classic ‘Mädchen in Uniform’ Hails a Ground-Breaking All-Female Cast—Filmed in 1931

In 1931, Leontine Sagan directed the feature-length German film Mädchen in Uniform (Maidens in Uniform). The German-language cult classic follows “Manuela von Meinhardis” (Hertha Thiele), a young girl who is enrolled at a boarding school for girls, as she adjusts to life in a strict, all-female environment. (KIZJ: 4/5)

The Story of the ‘Lost Girls’ is Unveiled in an Investigative Mystery Drama

Liz Garbus directs mystery drama Lost Girls based on real life stories surrounding the Long Island Serial Killer case. The Netflix production is a dark story of loss and biased investigations of multiple unsolved disappearances and murders. Academy Award nominee Amy Ryan stars as a determined mother whose mind is set on finding her mysteriously missing daughter. (KIZJ: 4/5)

A Community of ‘Military Wives’ Sing in Unity and Support

Writers Rosanne Flynn and Rachel Tunnard work together with director Peter Cattaneo on British comedy feature Military Wives, available on VOD today. When war takes their partners away, a group of women find themselves searching for something to occupy their minds. Starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan, this is a film about the birth of a strong friendship between women of different backgrounds brought together by the act of singing. (KIZJ: 4/5)

Our Beloved ‘Emma’ — the Witty and Self-Indulging Matchmaker — Is Back in Town

Autumn de Wilde directs her debut feature film Emma., in collaboration with writer Eleanor Catton. Anna Taylor-Joy stars as the playful, witty young heroine in this adaptation of the well-known Jane Austen classic of the same name. Believing she has a talent for matchmaking, Emma takes on the responsibility of navigating the complex relationships of the town. (KIZJ: 4/5)

‘Birds of Prey’ a rollercoaster ride of colorful action-packed adventure

Director Cathy Yan collaborates with writer Christina Hodson on action-packed adventure superhero feature “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn)”. This is a psychotic catharsis on a rollercoaster of glitter and violent fun. Margot Robbie stars as the kooky Harley Quinn and is accompanied by a notable female cast including Rosie Perez, Jurnee Smollet-Bell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and newcomer Cassandra Cain. (KIZJ: 4/5)

‘Atlantics’ a Haunting Supernatural Tale of Romance and Societal Injustice

Mati Diop directs and co-writes Atlantics, a supernatural drama feature, which intertwines its fictional narrative with social commentary. The French-Senegalese director’s work boasts 17 wins and 14 nominations so far, including a win at the Cannes Grand Prix. Atlantics is a rude awakening, a melancholic loss, and a haunting romance with Dakar’s societal issues deeply rooted in its story. (KIZJ: 5/5)

‘To Kid or Not To Kid’ Opens Up Conversations on Completely Serious Topic of Reproductive Choice

Maxine Trump takes on multiple roles as the Director, Writer, and Cinematographer of documentary To Kid or Not To Kid. With many official selections already under its belt, the film is a brave attempt to open up conversations about reproductive choice. In a world where freedom of choice is increasingly important, why should people still feel afraid to talk about not having children? (KIZJ: 4/5)

Damaged psyche behind bullying and being bullied resonate in ‘Better Days’

Wing-Sum Lam, Yuan Li, and Yimeng Xue team up to write the screenplay for “Better Days”, a movie with a realistic take on how far bullying can go. Set in Anqiao city in 2011, Derek Tsang directs a piece that marries the stresses of China’s rigorous academic system with the traumatic experiences of bullying at school. What starts off as a bullying story with a teenage friendship, quickly becomes a deep dive that inspects the damaged psyche of these teenagers through heartfelt emotion. (KIZJ: 4/5)

‘The Elephant Queen’ Leads Her Majestic Family across the African Savannah for Survival

Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble direct The Elephant Queen—a documentary that closely observes an elephant herd and the delicate ecosystem they live in. As the dry season begins, the family has no choice but to journey across the African savannah and seek refuge. Academy award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor narrates this touching portrayal of the friendly majestic creatures. (KIZJ: 4/5)

‘Another Day of Life’ Transforms Written Memories of War into a Graphic Visual Story

Directors Raúl de la Fuente and Damian Nenow create a hybrid narrative animation and documentary film—“Another Day of Life”. Written by the two directors together with Amaia Remirez, Niall Johnson, and David Weber, the ambitious piece is based on Ryszard “Ricardo” Kapuscinski’s novel that delves into the Angolan civil war in 1975. It is an official Cannes selection, and winner of multiple awards globally. (KIZJ: 4.5/5)

A Complex World of Love, Writing, and Muses in ‘Vita & Virginia’

Chanya Button directs and co-writes Vita & Virginia with Dame Eileen Atkins. The adaptation is a glimpse into the affair between Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West starring Elizabeth Debicki and Gemma Arterton respectively. Based on a 1992 play of the same name, the film swirls us into the complex relationships surrounding these two women, their writing, and their muses. (KIZJ: 3/5)

A dip into the painfully realistic issues of the modern Wild West in ‘Little Woods’

Written and Directed by Nia DaCosta, Little Woods is set in North Dakota—a fracking boomtown that was supposed to lead America to a better future. Tessa Thompson and Lily James star as stepsisters with a dysfunctional relationship, both drowning in their own desperate situations. Boasting four wins and three nominations, the film looks at societal pressures and complex family dynamics—what choice do good people make when left with scant options, where even the best of which are unlawful? (KIZJ: 4/5)