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I've taught films by many of the women directors mentioned by Julie in her
original query.  Here are some other american women directors to think
about that I didn't see mentioned by other people.
Undergraduates were greatly interested in Martha Coolidge's Valley Girl and
(especially) Rambling Rose--there's a great laser disc on this film with
Coolidge talking about directing.
Allison Anders (Gas, Food, Lodging), Leslie Harris (Just Another Girl on
the IRT), and Nancy Savoca (especially True Love and Dogfight) also work
well--all represent independent filmmakers.
Given the topics you mentioned (performance, etc.), you might want to
consider female actors who also direct.  Dyan Cannon, Lee Grant, Jodie
Foster, and Diane Keaton are obvious choices.  Undergraduates, of course,
were particular interested in Barbra Streisand when I talked about her as
icon and director.  As you know, she shoved William Wyler around on Funny
Girl so that no matter what else you may think, as you view the film you
know that you are witnessing of a star being born.  It's interesting to
compare that film with Yentl or to examine how she views men in The Prince
of Tides or The Mirror Has Two Faces.
With the male directors you list, there are films directed by them that you
could compare with films on similar topics or involved with similar genres
directed by women.  Such enables students to make discoveries on their own
in immediate ways.  Hope some of these thoughts help.  Fred
 
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Fredric M. Wild
Communication Dept.
Lycoming College
 
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