Directors

Chantal Akerman: Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)
Maite Alberdi: The Mole Agent (2020)
Sophia Nahli Allison: A Love Song for Latasha (2019)
Haifaa al-Mansour: The Perfect Candidate (2019), Wadjda (2012)
Kaouther Ben Hania: The Man Who Sold His Skin (2020)
Garrett Bradley: Time (2020)
Niki Caro: Mulan (2020), Whale Rider (2002)
Sofia Coppla: Lost in Translation (2003), On the Rocks (2020)
Julie Dash: Daughters of the Dust (1991), Illusions (1982)
Claire Denis: Beau Travail (1999)
Cheryl Dunye: The Watermelon Woman (1996)
Mona Fastvold: The World to Come (2020)
Emerald Fennell: Promising Young Woman (2020)
Pamela B. Green: Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (2018)
Alice Guy-Blaché: Gaumont Treasures…

Plus Natalie Morales’s ‘Plan B’ and Eliza Hittman’s ‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always’

Photo credit: Annlee Ellingson

443 days.

That’s how long it had been since I’d seen a movie in a theater during the pandemic.

The last film I saw was Emma. on March 11, 2020, at the Regal Edwards Santa Maria.

The first one I saw was Cruella — starring a couple of Emmas — on Friday at the AMC Century City.

I didn’t actively choose Emma. as the last movie I’d see before movie theaters shut down for more than a year. It was apropos, though, given I was already noodling ideas then for a column dedicated to films directed by women.

I did…

With ‘Time’ by Garrett Bradley, ‘The Mole Agent’ by Maite Alberdi, ‘Quo Vadis, Aida?’ by Jasmila Zbanic, ‘The Man Who Sold His Skin’ by Kaouther Ben Hania, and four Oscar-nominated shorts

For the first time in the history of the Academy Awards, two women have been nominated for best director: Chloé Zhao for Nomandland and Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman.

Only five women have ever been nominated in the category, and only one has won: Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker. That was more than a decade ago, back in 2010.

The other women who’ve gotten the nod are Lina Wertmüller for Seven Beauties in 1977, Jane Campion for The Piano in 1994, Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation in 2004, and Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird in 2018.

I’ve…

Plus ‘The World to Come’ by Mona Fastvold, ‘Moxie’ by Amy Poehler, and ‘Stray’ by Elizabeth Lo

I started CineWomen with a film by a man: Women Make Film from director Mark Cousins. That fourteen-part exploration of filmmaking has now arrived on Criterion Channel in a package that includes a selection of movies highlighted in the series. What better way for cineastes to celebrate Women’s History Month than to dive into this masterclass.

Meanwhile, I caught up in March with Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché, a 2018 documentary by Pamela B. …

Plus her first feature film ‘Songs My Brother Taught Me,’ ‘Dead Pigs’ by Cathy Yan, and “The Watermelon Woman” by Cheryl Dunye

What was the last movie you saw in a theater?

Mine was Emma. on March 11 at the Regal Edwards Santa Maria. By that weekend, cinemas across the country closed to help tamp down the virus.

My companion was my mom — also the last person besides my husband with whom I’ve socialized in person in nearly a year.

I suspect that my last cinema experience looked much like moviegoing does today: our party was one of two in the entire auditorium, though we weren’t wearing masks yet.

The studios have adapted: Universal immediately began moving its titles to digital…

Plus ‘One Night in Miami’ by Regina King, ‘Herself’ and ‘Mamma Mia!’ by Phyllida Lloyd, ‘Illusions’ by Julie Dash

Ten months into the coronavirus crisis, Hollywood seems to be settling into the reality of what movie releases look like for the foreseeable future. This month’s CineWomen titles Promising Young Woman, One Night in Miami, and Herself all saw the inside of at least one movie theater in December before moving online this month.

Cinemas are still closed in Los Angeles, though, so I’m covering them now, from the venue in which I’m still watching movies: my living room or, if the television is occupied by Zelda, on my laptop.

It’s the venue from which I expect to be watching…

Photo credit: Annlee Ellingson

In a meadow in the wine country of Southern California. At a farm in Hudson Valley in New York. On the beach on the Big Island of Hawaii.

These are the locales where some of my girlfriends have gotten married — or hoped to, before the coronavirus intervened.

One of these very women has traveled even farther afield to attend her friends’ nuptials — to an island off the coast of Washington state, to Alaska, to Italy.

Destination weddings sound so romantic, don’t they?

Sure, the venue that the couple booked sight unseen may not meet their expectations set by…

Plus ‘Farewell Amor’ by Ekwa Msangi and ‘La Ciénaga’ by Lucretia Martel

Earlier this month the Los Angeles Film Critics Association held our annual awards vote, and though the meeting looked a bit different than usual — with Zoom polls in lieu of paper ballots and an abbreviated non-catered lunch — the process remained much the same as the Zoom room gradually came to a consensus on the best filmmaking of the year.

Our conclusion? Not one, but five films, which were designed not for the big screen but for television and streaming, no less, took the top prize, as LAFCA named Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology — comprising Mangrove; Lovers Rock

Plus ‘Coded Bias’ by Shalini Kantayya and ‘Monsoon Wedding’ by Mira Nair

I walked down to The Grove on Wednesday to raid the Criterion half-off sale at Barnes & Noble and, while dodging the lines snaking out of the Cheesecake Factory and Apple Store, just about burst into tears.

Apparently I hadn’t passed by a movie theater since March.

There, on the Pacific Theatres marquee, were banners for “The Invisible Man” and “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “The Hunt” — a time capsule from March 2020. I felt like I was in a post-apocalyptic movie where civilization stopped while cheesecake and iPhones went on.

I felt the same catch in my chest while…

Plus ‘The Lie’ by Veena Sud, ‘Jeanne Dielman’ by Chantal Akerman and ‘Daughters of the Dust’ by Julie Dash

This month’s column looks different from when I first started planning it. I’d intended to review Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984 and revisited Wonder Woman in preparation. And I’d slated Nia DaCosta’s Candyman remake in deference to Halloween.

But the coronavirus had other plans, and Wonder Woman is currently scheduled for Christmas Day — at least for now — and Candyman for next August.

In the meantime, like last month, streaming services are filling the void, with a new Sofia Coppola movie moving quickly from a limited theatrical release to Apple TV+ and a psychological thriller from Veena Sud arriving…

Annlee Ellingson

Writer. Reader. Film critic. Moviegoer. Traveler. Hiker. Cook. Besotted aunt to Logan, Titus, and Bodhi. Based in Los Angeles. Social: @annleee (she/her/hers)

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