Gwendolyn Audrey Foster's
WOMEN FILM DIRECTORS: AN INTERNATIONAL BIO-CRITICAL DICTIONARY
Click Here for a Complete Index to Women Film Directors
WOMEN FILM DIRECTORS: AN INTERNATIONAL BIO-CRITICAL DICTIONARY by
Gwendolyn Audrey Foster includes incisive theoretically balanced critical
essays, filmographies and bibliographies of many women directors who do
not appear in any other film encyclopedias, especially women filmmakers
of color. For example, the book includes entries on Anglo-African filmmaker
Ngozi Onwurah (The Body Beautiful), African/Indian lesbian Pratibha Parmar
(Warrior Marks). International in scope, the book is the first effort to
study the works of Black British director Maureen Blackwood (The Passion
of Remembrance), Indian director Gurinder Chadha (Bahji at the Beach), Chinese
filmmaker Christine Choy (Who Killed Vincent Chin?), French director Claire
Denis and African-American filmmakers Kathleen Collins (Losing Ground),
Zeinabu irene Davis (Cycles), Leslie Harris (Just Another Girl on the IRT),
Darnell Martin (I Like It Like That). The dictionary also covers many Native
American filmmakers, such as Loretta Todd (The Learning Path).
Foster examines the work of a new crop of women feature filmmakers such as the internationally recognized lesbian artist Rose Troche (Go Fish). Other Hollywood women directors include Tamra Davis (Bad Girls), Alison Anders (Gas Food Lodging), Kathryn Bigelow (Near Dark),Jane Campion (The Piano), Stacey Cochran (My New Gun), Nora Ephron (This Is My Life), Jodie Foster (Little Man Tate), Maggie Greenwald (The Ballad of Little Jo), Penny Marshall (A League of Their Own), and Nancy Savoca (Household Saints). One of the key features of the book is the foregrounding of women avant-garde filmmakers such as Beth B., Storm de Hirsch, Holly Fisher, Jill Godmillow, Yoko Ono, and Monika Treut who have made significant yet often overlooked contributions to the development of film as an experimental film medium.
Foster also highlights the films and careers of many completely forgotten early women directors. Readers will be fascinated by the breadth of material on women like Margery Wilson, Ida May Park, Dorothy Davenport Reid, Hanna Henning, Gene Gauntier, Grace Cunard, Julia Crawford Ivers, and Ruth Stonehouse and a score of other pioneering women filmmakers who often directed, produced, wrote, acted in (and performed stunts) for their own directorial efforts in the exciting first decades of the dawn of cinema.
CHOICE says of WOMEN FILM DIRECTORS: AN INTERNATIONAL BIO-CRITICAL DICTIONARY:
"Foster describes this excellent reference book as 'the first of its kind, not a study of one aspect of women as filmmakers, but a dictionary of women filmmakers, working in film to create new feminist visions of beauty and transcendent power.' She also points out that feminist criticism 'must allow for violently opposing viewpoints.' The alphabetically arranged entries include women from 37 countries, from 1896 to 1910 (Gene Gauntier and Alice Guy) to the present. For each director Foster provides a brief biography, discussion of important films, brief critical comments, and a selected filmography and bibliography. The clearly written, intelligent comments lean toward feminist interpretations of many of the films. Her introduction cites a number of relevant books. This should be an indispensable volume for film and feminist studies collections. Appendixes list the directors by nationality and by decade." (J. Overmyer, Ohio State University).
LIBRARY JOURNAL for Oct. 15, 1995, offers another excellent review:
"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