I’ve been thinking about this for a while but wanted to wait until I had a reasonable selection. A while back, Women in Film launched a challenge: watch 52 films directed by women in a year. And since the silent era was a rich time for women directors, it seemed like a no-brainer to assemble an all-silent list.
This is not a complete list of 52. Not yet. I will continue to add to it as I review more silents directed by women. (I have watched a lot more than I have reviewed and just because I have not reviewed it does not mean that I have not seen it.) However, I thought that over 1/3 of the way through this challenge (halfway if you count my second list) was a decent jumping off point and I hope you will get some ideas!
All films will be listed in chronological order and will link to my review. All films are generally accepted as directed or co-directed by a woman.
- Wonderful Absinthe (Alice Guy, 1899, France)
- The Cabbage-Patch Fairy (Alice Guy, 1900, France)
- Dance of the Seasons: Winter, Snow Dance (Alice Guy, 1900, France)
- Falling Leaves (Alice Guy, 1912, USA)
- Suspense (Lois Weber, 1913, USA)
- Mabel at the Wheel (Mabel Normand, 1914, USA)
- Won in a Cupboard (Mabel Normand, 1914, USA)
- The Curse of Quon Gwon (Marion Wong, 1916, USA)
- Where Are My Children? (Lois Weber, 1916, USA)
- ’49-’17 (Ruth Ann Baldwin, 1917, USA)
- The Star Prince (Madeline Brandeis, 1918, USA)
- The Love Light (Francis Marion, 1921, USA)
- Cinderella (Lotte Reiniger, 1922, Germany)
- The Smiling Madame Beudet (Germaine Dulac, 1922, France)
- The Song of Love (Francis Marion, 1923, USA)
- The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Lotte Reiniger, 1926, Germany)
- The Peasant Women of Ryazan (Olgo Preobrazhenskaya, 1927, USSR)
- Parabola (Mary Ellen Bute, 1937, USA)
- The Nose (Claire Parker, 1963, France)
- Here and the Great Elsewhere (Michèle Lemieux, 2012, Canada)
And here is a bonus list of films that I believe had an uncredited woman director or co-director but these claims are either disputed or it is something I suspect without direct evidence.
- The Lad from Old Ireland (Gene Gauntier, 1910, USA)
- The Colleen Bawn (Gene Gauntier, 1911, USA)
- Cleopatra (Helen Gardner, 1912, USA)
- From the Manger to the Cross (Gene Gauntier, 1912, USA)
- You Remember Ellen (Gene Gauntier, 1912, USA)
- For Ireland’s Sake (Gene Gauntier, 1914, USA)
- Diplomatic Henry (Mrs. Sidney Drew, 1915, USA)
- Fox Trot Finesse (Mrs. Sidney Drew, 1915, USA)
- Camille (Alla Nazimova, 1921, USA)
I hope I have given you some new content for that watchlist!