The recent departure of Lynne Ramsay from the upcoming film Jane Got a Gun, which coupled with the departure of Jude Law and put the movie in a kind of limbo, has once again reopened an unfortunately gendered discussion about directors and their relationship to the suits the run the moviemaking industry. The fact that she’s a female director in an industry that is still embarrassingly lacking in female filmmakers has played into the discussion more heavily than one would hope.
In one sense, this perspective could be useful, as it could shine a light on the working conditions women in the industry have to endure, or whatever the hell Ramsay couldn’t bring herself to put up with anything may have been (at this point pretty much all the information coming out is speculative). She’s coming off a pretty successful piece of work in We Need to Talk About Kevin, and many other hot directors coming off big hits are pretty valuable commodities, or so one would think, so it’s curious as to what went wrong with this thing.
In another sense, and which seems to be the prevailing perception unfortunately, many are placing the blame on Ramsay’s shoulders for not honoring an agreement (which could be an understandable position if and when the actual facts come out), and casting no doubt on how much the presumably strained relationship with higher-ups could have been the fault of the studio people. The point: few people seem to know the details of this story and how we got to where we are, and yet plenty are rushing to condemn Lynne Ramsay as crazy or irresponsible or what have you. It’s not surprising but nevertheless disappointingly shabby treatment for female directors like Ramsay who have a higher standard to live up to still.
That just compelled me to bring to mind a number of female directors who should be bigger names than they are, because they’ve produced outstanding work. There should be more of them, and I’m hopeful there will be in the years to come. It should also be noted that I’ve tried to list many women to show that there are more than just a handful, not to make an exhaustive list, because if you can name all of something, there ain’t that many of them. Still, proportionally, it’s sad. Here are 13 of the best whose work I’m familiar with. They deserve more credit, and we’re going to give it to them.
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