My Favourite Female Directed Films Released in 2018

As is the case with film distribution please take the term “released in 2018” loosely. All the films here were available at the cinema/released on Netflix in the UK in 2018. I have not yet had the opportunity to see (and is supposed to be excellent) Chloè Zhao’s The Rider or Claire Denis’ Let The Sunshine In but these are the best female directed films in no particular order I did see released in 2018.

Shirkers (2018) Directed by Sandi Tan

screen-shot-2019-01-08-at-10.24.11.pngSandi Tan, Jasmine Ng and Sophie Siddique set out in 1992 to make “Shirkers” a -could have been- Singapore-made cult classic had the 16mm footage not been stolen by their American collaborator Georges Cardona, who disappeared with it. 20 years later she rediscovers the reels of film and sets out on a journey of self discovery.  Shirkers (2018), is the story of Sandi’s journey in rediscovering her former self and coming to terms with loss and what ifs.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018) Directed by Desiree Akhavan,


Chloë Grace Moretz stars in this coming of age story about a young girl in the 1990s sent to a gay conversion therapy camp. Alongside new friends played by Sacha Lane and Forest Goodluck who find a common ground in their outcast status and keep each other going through this ordeal. The film is a bittersweet expression of teenage love, innocence and sexuality contrast with the damning portrayal of the archaic practice of conversion therapy.

Leave No Trace (2018) Debra Granik

screen shot 2019-01-08 at 11.09.51Leave No Trace a father and daughter duo live an off-the-grid existence in a nature reserve near Portland, Oregon, rarely making contact with the world. But when a small mistake tips them off to authorities, they are sent on an increasingly erratic journey in search of a place to call home. I watched this film on a plane and was still blown away by how beautiful and meditative this film is, both heartbreaking and empathetic.

Waru (2017) Directed by Briar Grace-Smith, Casey Kaa, Ainsley Gardiner, Katie Wolfe, Chelsea Cohen, Renae Maihi, Paula Jones and Awanui Simich-Penescreen shot 2019-01-08 at 11.03.12

Waru is made up of eight chapters, each 10 minutes or so long and each directed by a different Maori woman Each of the  scenes is presented as a single unedited take and takes place in real-time exploring the impact of the death of a young boy (named Waru) at the hands of his caregiver on this small Maori community. The film bubbles with anger and a need for retribution.

You Were Never Really Here (2017) Directed by Lynne Ramsey


The film that topped the list of best films of the year by the “Bechdel Test Fest poll” and with good reason, Lynne Ramsay directs Joaquin Phoenix as Joe, a killer-for-hire who is hired by a politician to get his young daughter back from sex traffickers, Joe’s own past make this more than just another job for him. The film blends Joe’s thoughts  and inner demons with what’s happening in the story taking us on this journey as he battles his trauma.

What were your favourite releases in 2018?

Author: emilysteelefilm

Filmmaker, Writer, Feminist.

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