It is said that the first noted “woman in horror” was Jehanne D’Alcy. After leaving the theatrical stage in 1896, she went on to participate in a number of “horror” films directed by her husband- George Melies. His work on The House of the Devil (1896), A Terrible Night (1896), and A Nightmare (1896) makes him the first technical horror director. Although his works were meant to instill wonder and amazement- not fear- his technical style, use of practical effects, and thematic stories of devils, giant spiders, and men turning into bats, made them what they are considered today. They helped establish a role for women in film that made them seductresses, damsels, and mystifying creatures from an unknown world.
Black is King feels like something new. As a longtime fan, it feels like a transcendental step in Beyoncé’s career. From her early albums and early acting projects, to “Beychella”, Lemonade, and now Black is King, Beyoncé has continuously stepped more into herself, more into her own creativity and vision in a way that shows her growth, the growth of her fans, and Black pride overall. She steeps herself and her art in Black culture. She has always been a standout, an idol, for many in the Black community.
I wanted to use For My Culture 1 this month to highlight these works, not only because they deserve it- they are amazing works of art- but because I want to support Black women. I want their films to be a part of our discourse, our top 10 lists, our reviews, and daily conversations. These are all films directed by Black women that you can stream RIGHT NOW. The future of the film industry is slowly looking brighter when it comes to opening up diversity and opportunities for Black women, as well as other minorities, but the progress is too slow. We have to do our part with support and recognition, and I for one am more than happy to do so. Watching these films over the past few years and weeks was a blast for me. They are strong pieces. They evoked so much emotion, made me laugh, and filled me in places I didn’t know were empty. I hope you all enjoy this list as much as I did!
We are living through an age of re-invention. Whether it is through fashion trends, slang, or in the case of the Invisible Man (2020), horror films. Re-invention is more than just a re-adaptation or a reboot. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) was a reboot of the eponymous 1984 film. However, Invisible Man is the re-invention of its 1933 predecessor.
Atlantics (2019) was first released at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival when it competed for the Palme d’Or. The films director and co-writer, Mati Diop, made history when she became the first black woman who directed a film featured in the competition- also winning the Grand Prix award for it. After its release at Cannes and later in Senegal, the film was picked up and released on Netflix for wide viewing.
Jezebel (2019) is a semi-autobiographical, coming-of-age film written and directed by Numa Perrier. The story follows 19 year old Tiffany (Tenille) through the struggles of growing up and losing her mother, while she also finds work as a cam-girl.
You know the story, from Louisa M. Alcott, that has been re-adapted again and again for television and film. Little Women is a story that follows four sisters- Amy, Jo, Beth, and Meg March- through Civil War-era America and their paths to womanhood. You may think, what does a story about 19th century women have that can relate to 21st century women? Well, that’s where Greta Gerwig (writer/director of Lady Bird (2018)) comes in- to bridge that gap between two centuries of ‘little women,’ growing up in two vastly different times. And in this way, I believe Gerwig and the cast of Little Women succeed while still solidifying and celebrating the beauty of the source material.
Marriage Story (2019) is the brand new Noah Baumbach film released on Netflix this month. The film and its stars have been nominated for numerous upcoming awards, and its clips are being shared and discussed all over the tweeter every day. Whether you’ve liked the film or even seen it, you’ve at least heard of it and its explosive scene between the two main characters- Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and Charlie (Adam Driver.)
Honey Boy (2019) is the autobiographical screenplay written by Shia LaBeouf and directed by Alma Har’el. It’s the story of a young boy named Otis (played by Noah Jupe) as he finds himself in the spotlight of the acting world while also dealing with the turmoil and abusive relationship with his father James (played by LaBeouf himself.)
Howard Ratner is a Jewish man with a large, unified family, a beautiful wife, three loving children, and a renowned jewelry shop that he owns on the diamond district in New York City. Howard also has a hot girlfriend, a gambling addiction, and over $100,000 in debt to multiple people across the state of New York. Such a versatile man, with a dirty, mixed cocktail of a life leaving him intoxicated and fucked over with every sip he takes.