The Best Movies to Watch Without Leaving Bed: The Female Filmmakers You Need to Know

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Every Wednesday I find myself whispering that old Beckett adage into the morning air: I can’t go on / I’ll go on. As I settle into the week’s work, and no matter how thrilling the day’s prospects, it’s that beginning of the week existential stomach ache that always seemed to start gnawing away at my insides. But breathe, just breathe, the hours will pass themselves and soon it will all be easier and the weekend will come again—one that’s rife with fantastic films playing in theaters all around the city. But in the meantime, look forward to the evening, when a wealth of wonderful films will be at your fingertips.

With so many great movies streaming online, what better way to spend a cold March night than curled up beneath the sheets with some of the best rare and incredible cinema from the comfort of home? But with myriad options streaming, I understand the decision of what to screen in your private bedroom viewing can prove a challenge. So to make your troubles easier, this week we’ve highlighted some of our favorite films from our favorite female filmmakers, all available to watch now—from incredible new talent to some of the most internationally acclaimed directors. Peruse our list, curl up under the covers, and enjoy.

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IT FELT LIKE LOVE, Eliza Hittman

Set amongst languid summer days filled with hazy teenage ennui, Eliza Hittman’s debut feature It Felt Like Love focuses on Lila, a lonely and curious 14-year-old living in Brooklyn with her father. Hittman’s film exists in the small but poignant moments of life, allowing us to inhabit the harrowing pains of growing up and the struggle for identity—crafting a refreshingly raw and potent portrait of youth.

Available to Watch on Netflix

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EVERYONE ELSE, Maren Ada

Ade’s emotionally cutting 2009 film about a young couple whose core is shaken when spending time with another couple begins to reveal the true nature of their dynamic.

Available to Watch on Hulu +

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GOODBYE FIRST LOVE, Mia Hansen-Løve

Mia Hansen-Love’s harrowing, beautiful, and realistic portrayal of life-altering heartbreak and how that pain becomes an ache that stays inside you forever and prevents you from escaping that insular hurt and isolates you from connecting with others—but shows you how maybe that immense love can transpose itself into creativity and something can be born from that as we allow ourselves to be taken by life’s current, even if we can’t ever fully let go.

Available to Watch on Netflix

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BASTARDS, Claire Denis

Starring Vincent Lindon as Marco, the Parisian noir thriller plays out in the aftermath of his brother-in-law’s suicide when he seeks to rescue is estranged sister and young niece (played by Lola Créton).What follows is a sinister decent into the bleeding heart of darkness that’s tight enough to leave you gasping for air but never fully exposes itself, leaving corners cloaked in shadows with an enigmatic wink.

Available to Watch on iTunes

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NEWS FROM HOME, Chantal Akerman

“Letters from Chantal Akerman’s mother are read over a series of elegantly composed shots of 1976 New York, where our (unseen) filmmaker and protagonist has relocated. Akerman’s unforgettable time capsule of the city is also a gorgeous meditation on urban alienation and personal and familial disconnection.”

Available to Watch on Hulu +

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LA CIENEGA, Lucrecia Martel

“With a radical and disturbing take on narrative, beautiful cinematography, and a highly sophisticated use of on- and offscreen sound, Martel turns her tale of a dissolute bourgeois extended family, whiling away the hours of one sweaty, sticky summer, into a cinematic marvel. This visceral take on class, nature, sexuality, and the ways that political turmoil and social stagnation can manifest in human relationships is a drama of extraordinary tactility, and one of the great contemporary film debuts.”

Available to Watch on Hulu +

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DAISIES, Vera Chytilová

“Maybe the New Wave’s most anarchic entry, Věra Chytilová’s absurdist farce follows the misadventures of two brash young women. Believing the world to be “spoiled,” they embark on a series of pranks in which nothing—food, clothes, men, war—is taken seriously. Daisies is an aesthetically and politically adventurous film that’s widely considered one of the great works of feminist cinema.”

Available to Watch on Hulu +

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LES RENDEZ-VOUS D’ANNA, Chantal Akerman

“In one of Akerman’s most penetrating character studies, Anna, an accomplished filmmaker (played by Aurore Clément), makes her way through a series of European cities to promote her latest movie. Via a succession of eerie, exquisitely shot, brief encounters—with men and women, family and strangers—we come to see her emotional and physical detachment from the world.”

Available to Watch on Hulu +

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STORIES WE TELL, Sarah Polley

As a personal essay about the hidden past of her family, the feature beautifully weaves together an incredibly well-constructed experiment in storytelling. In the film, there’s a line that reads: “When you’re in the middle of a story, it isn’t a story at all but only a confusion, a dark roaring, a blindness. It’s only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story when you’re telling it to yourself or anyone else.” And that sentiment plays out as the through-line for the feature, as Polley’s family and those close to it reveal familial secrets, shared truths, and show us the ways in which we create the own narrative of our lives.

Stories We Tell also confronts the challenges of love—be it romantic or maternal—while exposing the myriad ways our own memory can deceive us. There’s a delicacy and heartwarming touch in Polley’s style of filmmaking that shines through in all of her work but is never more present here. It’s absolutely enthralling and fascinating to watch but heartbreaking in its honesty—always leaving you hungry to discover more. The film works as a eulogy as much as it does a perfect vehicle for self-discovery, yet feels universal in its open-ended questions and speaks directly to your soul in way that’s both rare and tender.

Available to Watch on Netflix 

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A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, ANA LILY AMIRPOUR

As “cinema’s first Iranian vampire western,” Girl brings us into a black-and-white world of undead desire, all set in a ghost town know as Bad City, where a lonely vampire skateboards through its dimly lit streets and the sordid souls that inhabit it. Rife with prostitutes, pimps, and junkies lurking around every corner, we follow the “The Girl” as she occupies her bloodsucking isolated waking hours in darkness. Amalgamating everything from the Iranian New Wave and David Lynch-brand surrealism to graphic novels and playful nods to Sergio Leone, Amirpour has crafted a film that, while being deeply indebted to its influences, emerges as something wholly its own. With music that ranges from chilly techno to Morricone motifs, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night lures you into its strange and seductive world, putting a haunting new spin on the “pop fairytale.”

Available to Watch on iTunes