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Woman with a movie camera

From pre-war to the present-day women have always directed movies, and these remarkable examples by Margaret Tait, Laura Mulvey, Sally Potter and more showcase the breadth and diversity of women’s invaluable contribution to cinema.

  • The Body Beautiful

    This autobiographical narrative redefines female beauty and sexuality by reflecting on filmmaker Ngozi Onwurah's relationship with her mother. Onwurah's discovery of her sexual appeal as a young model is combined with an intimate account of her mother Madge's experience of desexualisation after h...

  • Blue Black Permanent

    Margaret Tait's tale of three generations of women in a Scottish family swirls out through a series of interlinking stories and recollections, taking place in Edinburgh and the Orkney Islands. Drawn to the sea, it appears that the grandmother and mother both drowned accidentally, and their unfold...

  • The Gold Diggers

    The ground-breaking first feature from the director of Orlando and The Tango Lesson, The Gold Diggers is a key film of early '80s feminist cinema. Made with an all-woman crew, featuring stunning photography by Babette Magolte and a score by Lindsay Cooper it embraces a radical and experimental na...

  • Riddles of the Sphinx

    Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen’s visually accomplished and intellectually rigorous Riddles of the Sphinx is one of the most important avant-garde films to have emerged from Britain during the 1970s. The second collaboration between Mulvey and Wollen, both of whom are recognised as seminal figures ...

  • Eros Erosion

    Transience and desire, and the silence and concealment surrounding sexuality, love, death, AIDS, and the fear of bereavement, are all touched upon among a rush of abstract and allegorical connections in this artist film from 1990 by Anna Thew.

  • Rapunzel Let Down Your Hair

    A private detective (Fairport Convention musician Dave Swarbrick) investigates the case of a young woman held captive by her drug-addict mother. This is just one of many witty, imaginative reframings of the Brothers Grimm fairytale in this beguiling feminist film. The wildly diverse episodes show...

  • The Song of the Shirt

    The plight of women in the 1840s London rag trade is explored and deconstructed. Informed by experimental film practice and evoking a serialised Victorian novel, this unusual film investigates the effects of protectionist ‘philanthropy' in the sweatshop-style London clothes trade using contempor...