Women Make Film

Women Make Film

61 Episodes

Five years in the making, this epic journey through film history is made up of forty “chapters” narrated by Tilda Swinton, Jane Fonda, Adjoa Andoh, Sharmila Tagore, Kerry Fox, Thandie Newton, and Debra Winger. WOMEN MAKE FILM follows in the footsteps of Mark Cousins’s THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY to give us a guided tour of the art and craft of the movies. Using almost a thousand film extracts from thirteen decades and five continents, Cousins explores how films are made, shot, and edited; how stories are shaped; and how movies depict life, love, politics, humor, and death through the compelling lens of some of the world’s greatest directors—all of them women. The series is presented here along with a selection of women-directed films that appear in it.

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Women Make Film
  • WOMEN MAKE FILM: Episode 1

    Episode 1

    Directed by Mark Cousins • 2018 • United Kingdom

    “Openings”
    With examples from 1943 to 2013, from China to Iran, Australia to Finland, we look at how to open a film: from mysterious, direct, floating, foreboding beginnings to plunging straight in. All are instructive in how to create an immediat...

  • WOMEN MAKE FILM: Episode 2

    Episode 2

    Directed by Mark Cousins • 2018 • United Kingdom

    “Believability”
    It’s easy to spot, but not so easy to understand. Believability is about simple human stories, truth about life, real emotions, responding to the world. How do directors create a reality without it feeling fake? True stories can he...

  • WOMEN MAKE FILM: Episode 3

    Episode 3

    Directed by Mark Cousins • 2018 • United Kingdom

    “Conversation”
    A basic human interaction—how to make it cinematic? Angela Schanelec directs us to focus on body language in PLACES IN CITIES, Cecile Tang uses the zoom as guide through the emotional shifts in THE ARCH, and Sofia Coppola in THE VIR...

  • WOMEN MAKE FILM: Episode 4

    Episode 4

    Directed by Mark Cousins • 2018 • United Kingdom

    “Staging”
    Scene staging is an element of film form pointing clearly to cinema’s origin: theater. Kinuyo Tanaka uses staging in THE MOON HAS RISEN to shape the scene’s invisible geometry, accentuating the tension between characters. Maren Ade stage...

  • WOMEN MAKE FILM: Episode 5

    Episode 5

    Directed by Mark Cousins • 2018 • United Kingdom

    “Adult/Child”
    Most famous movie genres—war pictures, westerns, etc.—are about adults, but in this chapter, Jane Fonda narrates the story of eighteen films about children, from Germany, Belgium, Mongolia, Sweden, Russia, Canada, Senegal, Argentina,...

  • WOMEN MAKE FILM: Episode 6

    Episode 6

    Directed by Mark Cousins • 2018 • United Kingdom

    “POV”
    Is cinema the art of point of view? Jocelyn Moorhouse, Ida Lupino, Edith Carlmar, Sofia Coppola, Liliana Cavani, Kelly Reichardt, Larisa Shepitko, Jennifer Kent, and other great directors demonstrate the art of POV.

    “Close-Up”
    Films from Be...

  • WOMEN MAKE FILM: Episode 7

    Episode 7

    Directed by Mark Cousins • 2018 • United Kingdom

    “Bodies”
    Bodies in cinema can be enticing, athletic, or brutalized. Jane Fonda narrates this chapter about how some of the great directors—including Agnès Varda, Andrea Arnold, Marva Nabili, Pirjo Honkasalo, Márta Mészáros, and Wanda Jakubowska—ha...

  • WOMEN MAKE FILM: Episode 8

    Episode 8

    Directed by Mark Cousins • 2018 • United Kingdom

    “Home”
    Refuge, shelter, or prison? Sharmila Tagore narrates the story of home on-screen in the great films of Edith Carlmar, Lynne Ramsay, Mai Zetterling, Liu Jiayin, Forough Farrokhzad, Antonia Bird, and others.

    “Religion”
    Narrator Sharmila Tago...

  • WOMEN MAKE FILM: Episode 9

    Episode 9

    Directed by Mark Cousins • 2018 • United Kingdom

    “Politics”
    Another aspect of everyday life. From silent cinema to the twenty-first century, movies from the visually astonishing THE ENCHANTED DESNA to DIVORCE IRANIAN STYLE to STRANGE DAYS have gained their energy and attack from their politics.
    ...

  • WOMEN MAKE FILM: Episode 10

    Episode 10

    Directed by Mark Cousins • 2018 • United Kingdom

    “Melodrama”
    A genre as popular as comedy, but what are some of the great scenes in melodrama? Sharmila Tagore narrates a story that takes us from the silent American film SHOES to Kira Muratova’s brilliant CHEKHOV’S MOTIFS to Binka Zhelyazkova’s v...

  • WOMEN MAKE FILM: Episode 11

    Episode 11

    Directed by Mark Cousins • 2018 • United Kingdom

    “Tension”
    Thrillers, and so much more. We look at gripping scenes in films as diverse as Joel DeMott’s documentary DEMON LOVER DIARY, Kathryn Bigelow’s BLUE STEEL, Carol Morley’s DREAMS OF A LIFE, Mimi Leder’s THE PEACEMAKER, and Marleen Gorris’s ...

  • WOMEN MAKE FILM: Episode 12

    Episode 12

    Directed by Mark Cousins • 2018 • United Kingdom

    “Reveal”
    How does Lynne Ramsay do a reveal, in MORVEN CALLAR? How does the great actor-director Kinuyo Tanaka? Or Sarah Polley? Or Alice Rohrwacher?

    “Memory”
    As cinema is a kind of time machine, it’s no surprise that it’s great at representing me...

  • WOMEN MAKE FILM: Episode 13

    Episode 13

    Directed by Mark Cousins • 2018 • United Kingdom

    “Life Inside”
    Novels are great at describing thoughts, but how do films do so? In this chapter, we see how great directors from France, Ukraine, the UK, the U.S., New Zealand, and Algeria have illuminated inner life.

    “The Meaning of Life”
    In the ...

  • WOMEN MAKE FILM: Episode 14

    Episode 14

    Directed by Mark Cousins • 2018 • United Kingdom

    “Death”
    The biggest subject in life, the most universal subject—no wonder that Japan’s Kinuyo Tanaka, Canada’s Caroline Leaf, Spain’s Ana Mariscal, Holland’s Paula Van der Oest, and other great filmmakers in this chapter embrace it.

    “Endings”
    We ...

  • Falling Leaves

    Episode 15

    Directed by Alice Guy Blaché • 1912 • United States
    Starring Magda Foy, Marian Swayne, Mace Greenleaf

    This family melodrama echoes aspects of O. Henry’s 1907 short story “The Last Leaf” and depicts the clever attempts of a concerned young girl trying to save her older sister, who is dying of con...

  • Shoes
    52:22
    Episode 16

    Shoes

    Episode 16

    Directed by Lois Weber • 1916 • United States
    Starring Mary MacLaren, Harry Griffith, Mattie Witting

    Decades before the artistic triumph of neorealism and the cultural revolution of the feminist movement, director Lois Weber expressed the seeds of both in what is perhaps her greatest work: an al...

  • The Blot

    Episode 17

    Directed by Lois Weber • 1921 • United States
    Starring Claire Windsor, Louis Calhern, Philip Hubbard

    The last film made under the banner of Lois Weber Productions, this moral drama, also written by Weber, is a biting commentary on economic inequality. Through her portrait of the Griggs family—an...

  • The Peasant Women of Ryazan

    Episode 18

    Directed by Olga Preobrazhenskaya and Ivan Pravov • 1927 • Soviet Union
    Starring Kuzma Yastrebitsky, Olga Narbekova, Yelena Maksimova

    Returning to a pre–Russian Revolution mode of narrative storytelling, this melodrama focuses on two peasant women—one the victim to an abusive father-in-law and t...

  • Mädchen in Uniform

    Episode 19

    Directed by Leontine Sagan and Carl Froelich • 1931 • Germany
    Starring Hertha Thiele, Dorothea Wieck, Emilia Unda

    This landmark of lesbian cinema was the first of just three films made by actor and director Leontine Sagan. She brings a remarkable sensitivity and erotic charge to the story of Man...

  • Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations

    Episode 20

    Directed by Leni Riefenstahl • 1938 • Germany

    More has been written about Leni Riefenstahl's OLYMPIA than about any other sports documentary in history. Starting with a long and lyrical overture, evoking the origins of the Olympic Games in ancient Greece, Riefenstahl covers twenty-one athletic e...

  • Olympia Part Two: Festival of Beauty

    Episode 21

    Directed by Leni Riefenstahl • 1938 • Germany

    More has been written about Leni Riefenstahl's OLYMPIA than about any other sports documentary in history. In part two of OLYMPIA, the cameras leave the main stadium and venture into the many halls and fields deployed for such sports as fencing, polo...

  • Dance, Girl, Dance

    Episode 22

    Directed by Dorothy Arzner • 1940 • United States
    Starring Maureen O’Hara, Lucille Ball, Louis Hayward

    Judy (Maureen O’Hara) and Bubbles (Lucille Ball) move to New York City with dreams of ballet success, but Bubbles soon falls into a career in burlesque. And when Judy’s ballet company fails, sh...

  • Meshes of the Afternoon

    Episode 23

    Directed by Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid • 1943 • United States
    Starring Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid

    Cinematic trance-maker Maya Deren and her husband Alexander Hammid launched an underground revolution with this avant-garde landmark—shot in their Hollywood home, but a world away from the co...

  • Olivia

    Episode 24

    Directed by Jacqueline Audry • 1951 • France
    Starring Edwige Feuillère, Simone Simon, Marie-Claire Olivia

    Neglected for nearly seventy years, a singular landmark of lesbian cinema by one of France’s trailblazing women directors reemerges. Plunging the viewer—and the main character—into a lion’s ...