Women Film Directors: An International Bio-Critical Dictionary

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Until now, there hasn't been one single-volume authoritative reference work on the history of women in film, highlighting nearly every woman filmmaker from the dawn of cinema including Alice Guy (France, 1896), Chantal Akerman (Belgium), Penny Marshall (U.S.), and Sally Potter (U.K.). Every effort has been made to include every kind of woman filmmaker: commercial and mainstream, avant-garde, and minority, and to give a complete cross-section of the work of these remarkable women. Scholars and students of film, popular culture, Women's Studies, and International Studies, as well as film buffs will learn much from this work.

The Dictionary covers the careers of nearly 200 women filmmakers, giving vital statistics where available, listings of films directed by these women, and selected bibliographies for further reading. This is a one-volume, one-stop resource, a comprehensive, up-to-date guide that is absolutely essential for any course offering an overview or survey of women's cinema. It offers not only all available statistics, but critical evaluations of the filmmakers' work as well. In order to keep the length manageable, this volume focuses on women who direct fictional narrative films, with occasional forays into the area of the documentary and is limited to film production rather than video production.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This important work compiles a significant amount of otherwise difficult-to-find information on women filmmakers working in all countries and all contexts, whether mainstream, independent, or experimental/avante-garde. The introduction, which gives generous consideration to a wide range of scholarly contributions, is an excellent synthesis of writing in English on women directors. Following are alphabetical entries of over 200 bibliographic references to interviews and filmographies that would have been more useful with the inclusion of running time, place, and production company. The considerable amount of critical commentary that Foster (English, Univ. of Nebraska) includes is an amalgam of secondary-source opinion and Foster's own viewing of a wide sampling of the films. The only other reference work in this area is The Women's Companion to International Film (LJ 10/1/94), which contains shorter entries on a wider range of subjects. Public and academic libraries with any interest in film will want to acquire both titles, as they will appeal to all types of readers.-Jane Sloan, Rutgers Univ. Libs., New Brunswick, N.J.
From The Critics
Since a significant number of films this past year were directed by women e.g., Gillian Armstrong, Jane Campion, Penny Marshall, Jodie Foster, Jocelyn Moorehouse, and Penelope Scheeris, the appearance of this book on women film directors over the last 100 years is timely. This is one of the most complete volumes on the topic, covering the careers of almost 200 women filmmakers, commercial and avant-garde, who created fictional narrative work rather than documentaries. The author includes directors from around the world but admits that Western filmmakers are more often documented. She makes a serious effort to include many minority directors Foster's lengthy introduction shows how female directors have influenced the industry--and other female filmmakers. Each main entry includes critiques of major films, an occasional mention of career paths, a selected filmography, and a bibliography. In comparing the filmographies to those of comparable reference volumes, such as "Directors and Their Films", some films have been omitted in this volume. Connections between directors are often made, which helps the researcher see trends and influences of these women. Each director is covered in one to four pages. Two appendixes list directors by country and by decade of activity. There are indexes by film title and by subject "Women in Film: An International Guide" ["RBB" My 15 91] covers women filmmakers from around the world, and, in addition, has topical entries on cinematic terminology, festivals, studios, etc. "Women Film Directors" is a wide-ranging, up-to-date survey that should be considered by public and academic libraries.
A reference of career profiles and critical commentary on women film directors and their films. Each alphabetical entry contains biographical and historical information, and a partial filmography. Includes a list of women film directors by nationality and a chronology of influential women directors by decades. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313289729
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/14/1995
  • Pages: 490
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

GWENDOLYN AUDREY FOSTER is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

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Table of Contents


The Dictionary

Selected Bibliography


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