While local repertory theaters are out of commission, we'll be putting together weekly watchlists of films readily available to stream. This week, we celebrate the female gaze with features written and directed by women.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
"Do all lovers feel they're inventing something?" Céline Sciamma's timeless lesbian love story is set on an isolated French island, where an artist is commissioned to paint another woman's wedding portrait. Sizzling with impossible yearning and bolstered by luscious cinematography, Portrait is arguably the best film to come out of 2019. Hulu.
The Farewell (2019)
Speaking of superlative 2019 releases, this poignant portrait of a family in crisis is based on writer-director Lulu Wang's actual experiences. After flying back to China following news that her grandmother is sick, Chinese American Billie (Awkwafina) struggles with culture clash when her relatives choose to keep Grandma in the dark about her diagnosis. Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube.
Red Road (2006)
With gritty realism, masterful subtext and a complete lack of manipulative sensationalism, Academy Award-winning director Andrea Arnold tells the tale of a Glasgow closed-circuit TV operator (Kate Dickie) who becomes obsessed with watching a mysterious man from her past. Highly recommended for fans of Gone Girl. Criterion Channel, Kanopy.
My Brilliant Career (1979)
On a rural Australian farm at the turn of the 20th century, a fiercely independent woman (Judy Davis) longs for her own career as a writer, despite the courtship of a young Sam Neill. It's reminiscent of Little Women (minus the sisterhood), which Gillian Armstrong would go on to direct 15 years after this, her debut feature. Criterion Channel, Kanopy.
Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)
Adapted from Helen Fielding's eponymous book series and directed by Sharon Maguire, this charming confection follows a chronically single woman (Renée Zellweger) who suddenly finds herself torn between two men: her womanizing boss (Hugh Grant) and a reticent divorcé (Colin Firth). The drama culminates in what is perhaps the most iconic fight scene in romcom history. Amazon Prime, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.