POSTED October 10 2012

Some glaring invisibility on A/V Club’s best films of the ’90s?

Dionne and Cher are calling A/V Club to complain that they weren’t included on Best Films of the 1990s

While I like many of the films on the A/V Club’s recently-released list of the best films of the 1990s, I couldn’t help but notice that list of 50 films is notable for the glaring invisibility of movies directed by women and people of color.

Here are some (mostly-indie) movies by women I very much like and would have included. I’m not including studio films like Penelope Spheeris’ wonderful Wayne’s World or Penny Marshall’s A League of Their Own or Nora Ephron’s Sleepless in Seattle, rather titles that I would have expected on the A/V list.

Gillian Armstrong: Last Days of Chez Nous, Little Women

Maria Luisa Bemberg: I, The Worst of All

Kathryn Bigelow: Point Break, Strange Days

Jane Campion: An Angel at My Table, The Piano

Lisa Cholodenko: High Art

Claire Denis: Beau Travail

Anne Fontaine: Dry Cleaning

Marleen Gorris: Antonia’s Line, Mrs. Dalloway

Amy Heckerling: Clueless

Agnieszka Holland: Europa, Europa, The Secret Garden, The Third Miracle

Nicole Holofcener: Walking & Talking

Agnes Jaoui: The Taste of Others

Tamra Jenkina: Slums of Beverly Hills

Barbara Kopple: American Dream

Kasi Lemmons: Eve’s Bayou

Darnell Martin: I Like it Like That

Alison MacLean: Crush, Jesus’ Son

Mira Nair: Mississippi Masala

Which 1990s films by women would you nominate?



  1. David Cohen says:

    surprised by the absence of THE PIANO, though not as much as the absence of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN.

  2. I’m not someone who worries about making sure lists have a certain diversity, but their list certainly is stuffed with many overrated and just plain silly choices. At least they got No. 1 right though.

  3. David Cohen says:

    There are few films on that list that I actually dislike, so if it has the effect of getting people to see some of those films, that would be a good thing.

  4. The Famine Within (Katherine Gilday)
    D’est/From the East (Chantal Akerman)
    Blush (Li Shaohong)
    Divorce Iranian Style (Kim Longinotto & Ziba Mir-Hosseini)
    The Apple (Samria Makhmalbaf)

  5. Rachel Thibault says:

    I would add Proof (1991) by Jocelyn Moorhouse.

  6. I wrote a blog post about some minor statistical analysis I did of the AV Club’s list and great films (according to trusted critics like Mr. Rosenbaum) by female directors that were not included in the list. Essentially I found that according to my trusted critics 214 great films were made in the ’90s and 21 of them were directed by women. This means that the AV Club’s list of 50 great films from the ’90s should include 4 or 5 movies by female directors. If you have some time please check it out the full piece here:

  7. I don’t really see how a director’s gender (or race) is relevant, or why it would ever play a part in determining if a movie is one of the best of a decade.

    That said, it’s nice to see someone else appreciated Dry Cleaning.

  8. Nicole says:

    Gas Food Lodging by Allison Anders is an underrated gem. It’s a personal favorite, but I’d say it’s way better than Blair Witch and some of the other odd choices that made the AV Club’s cut.

  9. Rob Nelson says:

    Household Saints (Nancy Savoca)!!!

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