Prime Viewing: Part 2

10 more films which happen to be from a Female Director that you can watch on Amazon Prime, right now!

We’re back with another list of 10 films that you can wacth on Amazon Prime, that just so happen to be from a female filmmaker. Hopefully, these films will keep you entertained and we hope there are some featured on here that you aren’t aware of. Let us know some of your recommendations in the comments below.

(P.S. You can check out Part 1, here.)

1. Happy as Lazzaro

Director: Alice Rohrwacher

“Happy as Lazzaro” tells the story of Lazzaro (Adriano Tardiolo), a young peasant so good and kind natured that he is often mistaken for simple-minded. There is a chance meeting between Lazzaro and Tancredi (Luca Chikovani), a young nobleman cursed by his imagination. The two of them form an unlikely friendship. Their lives in the isolated pastoral village Inviolata are controlled by the terrible Marchesa Alfonsina de Luna, (Nicoletta Braschi), known as the queen of cigarettes.

Things get more compliacted when Tancredi asks Lazzaro to help him orchestrate his own kidnapping, which will set Lazzaro onto an extraordinary venture into the big city.  This touching film allows you to view the world through innocent eyes and see a world that gets overlooked. Loosely inspired by a true story of Italian farmers who were forced into near sharecropper conditions by the De Luna family in an isolated village, “Happy as Lazzaro” was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, and its director, Alice Rohrwacher,  went on to win the award for Best Screenplay.

Why it’s prime viewing: Shot on Super 16mm, this film is beautiful to gaze upon.

happy as lazz

2. On the Basis of Sex

Director: Mimi Leder

“On the Basis of Sex” tells the incredible true story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In this biopic we watch as RBG struggles for equal rights and fights the early cases of a historic career that would go on to see her nomination and confirmation as U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice. The film shows us Ruth’s (played by the wonderful Felicity Jones) humble beginnings at Law School, whilst trying to also raise a family, and helps to remind us just how far equal rights have come (but, the fight isn’t over yet).

This film would make a perfect pairing with the documentary “RBG” from directors, Julie Cohen, and Betsy West, which you can also rent from Amazon.

Why It’s Prime Viewing: Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux and Kathy Bates all in one film? Yes, please!

on basis of sex

3. The Bling Ring

Director: Sofia Coppola

Sometimes celebrity worship goes too far. In Sofia Coppola‘s 2013 film, “The Bling Ring” we see how far some people go to be just like their idols. Based on true events, this film follows a group of fame-obsessed teenagers use the internet to track celebrities’ whereabouts in order to rob their homes. We focus mainly on the characters of Mark, (Israel Broussard) who has just moved to a new school, where he meets the fame obessessed Rebecca Ahn (Katie Chang), and soon becomes part of the It crowd along with the likes of Nicki Moore (Emma Watson), Nicki’s adoptive sister Sam (Taissa Farmiga), and Chloe Tainer (Claire Julien).

Inmitating their favourite celebrities isn’t enough, and soon they decide to take it up a notch. Shot in Coppola’s usual cool and detached manner, “The Bling Ring” captures a seedier and darker side to L.A. and is also a nice reflection on everything wrong with our current fame obessessed culture.

Why It’s Prime Viewing: Sofia Coppola + Emma Watson + Taissa Farmiga + Leslie Mann + Paris Hilton…do we need to say anymore?

bling ring

4. Meek’s Cutoff

Director: Kelly Reichardt

In this 2010 Western “Meek’s Cutoff” we follow a wagon team of three families who have hired a mountain man Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood) to guide them over the Cascade Mountains. Claiming to know a short cut, Meek leads the group on an unmarked path across the high plain desert, only to become lost in the dry rock and sage. Over the coming days, the groupp must fight hunger, thirst and their own lack of faith in each other’s instincts for survival.

Featuring great performances from the likes of Michelle Williams, Will Patton, Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano, this film is beautifully shot by cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt with Jeff Grace‘s score making a perfect accompiment. The screenplay has also been written by “First Cow” writer Jonathan Raymond. This a slow, artistic, revisionistic take on the Western film so it’ll certainly be a good film to watch and absorb over the course of a long hot summer’s afternoon.

Why It’s Prime Viewing: It’ll get you hyped for “First Cow”

meeks cutoff

5. Tomboy

Director: Céline Sciamma

Looking for something to fill in the gap left behind by Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”? Well, we recommend you check out her 2011 film, “Tomboy” which tells the story of a 10-year-old gender non-conforming child, Laure, who moves to a new neighborhood during the summer holiday and experiments with their gender presentation, adopting the name Mikäel.

Featuring an excellent and stunning performance by Zoé Héran, “Tomboy” is a film that needs to be seen by as many people as possible. Sciamma has said that she “made it with several layers, so that a transexual person can say ‘that was my childhood’ and so that a heterosexual woman can also say it.”

Why It’s Prime Viewing: If you’re looking for another film by the wonderful French director to watch after “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” then this is it.

6. Skate Kitchen

Director: Crystal Moselle

In the first narrative feature from director Crystal Moselle (who directed the excellent documentary “The Wolfpack”), “Skate Kitchen” follows the life of Camille, an introverted teenage skateboarder (Rachelle Vinberg) from Long Island, who meets and befriends an all-girl, New York City-based skateboarding crew called Skate Kitchen.

Writer/director Crystal Moselle immersed herself in the lives of the skater girls and worked closely with them in order to recreate the world of skateboarding, which is regarded as male-dominated environment. It’s rare that we see a female focused “Skateboarding” film so “Skate Kitchen” is a real delight to watch especially as it focuses on a coming-of-age drama and the development/power of female friendship as well.

Why It’s Prime Viewing: Aside from actor Jaden Smith, all the other actors did their own skateboarding for the film. Pretty impressive stuff.

7. The Hitch-Hiker

Director: Ida Lupino

In this classic noir, Edmond O’Brien and Frank Lovejoy play two friends whose fishing trip takes a terrifying turn when the hitchhiker (William Talman) they pick up turns out to be a sociopath on the run from the law. He’s killed before, and he lets the two know that as soon as they’re no longer useful, he’ll kill again. The two friends plot an escape, but the hitchhiker’s peculiar physical affliction, an eye that never closes even when he sleeps, make it impossible for them to tell when they can make a break for it.

The inspiration for “The Hitch-Hiker” came from the actions of Billy Cook, who in California in 1950, murdered a family of five and a traveling salesman, then kidnapped Deputy Sheriff Homer Waldrip from Blythe, California, forcing him to drive to the desert. Lupino interviewed the two prospectors whom Billy Cook had held hostage, and got releases from them and from Cook as well, so that she could integrate parts of Cook’s life into the script.

Why It’s Prime Viewing: Offically, “The Hitch-Hiker” is the only true noir to be directed by a female filmmaker.

8. Women Behind the Camera

Director: Alexis Krasilovsky

This made-by-women-for-women global documentary explores the lives of camerawomen across the world, in places like Canada, China, France, Germany, India, India, Iran, Mexico, Russia, Senegal, and many more. From the secret films by camerawomen of Taliban, to historic footage by China’s first camerawomen of Mao’s travels, director Alexis Krasilovsky shows us the world behind the camera and the struggles women have faced in the film industry to be accepted.

If you’re looking for something to fill the gap after Mark Cousins’ documentary series “Women Make Film” then we recommend you check this excellent and frankly underseen documentary out.

Why It’s Prime Viewing: With only 6% of Women accounting for the total number of cinematographers working in the film industry today, “Women Behind the Camera” is an inspiring must-watch film.

9. Awakeings

Director: Penny Marshall

Here at ITOL we love the work of director Penny Marshall, so much so that our name “In Their Own League” was inspired after her 1992 film “A League of Their Own”. Made two years prior to “A League of Their Own”, “Awakenings” is another classic from the director, and a real tear jeaker as well.

Inspired by the work and the memoir of British neurologist Oliver Sacks , “Awakenings” tells the story of Dr. Malcolm Sayer (played by the wonderful Robin Williams), who, in 1969, discovers beneficial effects of the drug L-Dopa. He administers it to catatonic patients who survived the 1917–28 epidemic of encephalitis lethargica. Leonard Lowe (Robert De Niro) and the rest of the patients are awakened after decades and have to deal with a new life in a new time.

Why It’s Prime Viewing: A truly beautiful and emotional film. If you’re after a good cry then this is the film for you.

10. But I’m a Cheerleader

Director: Jamie Babbit

For our recent Pride Month coverage, ITOL writer Morgan Roberts wrote a retrospective reviw of Jamie Babbit‘s cult classic “But I’m a Cheerleader” (you can find Morgan’s review here). We’re huge fans of this film here at ITOL and we recommend people go check it out if they have done so already.

“But I’m a Cheerleader” follows an All-American high school cheerleader Megan Bloomfield (Natasha Lyonne) who is sent to a residential inpatient conversion therapy camp by her parents who believe it will help her squash her gay feelings towards other girls. While there, Megan meets other admittedly homosexual misfits and begins to bond with them, falling for another young woman called Graham (Clea DuVall) in the process. Will Megan be turned around to successful heterosexuality, or will she succumb to her sexual desires?

Why It’s Prime Viewing: Quirky, funny and full of quotable lines. A 90s cult classic that should be as revered as “Clueless”!

Have you seen any great films by a female filmmaker on Amazon Prime, Netflix or any other streaming platform recently? What do you personally recommend? Let us know in the comments below.

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