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film

LADIES OF THE LAKE

Still from Germaine Dulac’s La coquille et le clergyman (The Seashell and the Clergyman), 1928, 35 mm, black-and-white, silent, 39 minutes 30 seconds. Woman (Génica Athanasiou). Clergyman (Alex Allin).

THE STATUS OF female filmmakers in the twenty-first century remains grim. In 2016, two federal agencies began an investigation into discrimination against women directors in Hollywood, prompted by the ACLU’s abysmal findings on sexism in the industry. In June of this year, the Directors Guild of America published a report on the 651 films released theatrically in the US in 2017—from the microbudgeted to the big-studio-backed—which found that women accounted for only 16 percent of directors.

Against this bleak data, several initiatives from the past five years have reminded us of the scores of women around the globe who made major contributions to cinema in its first decades. These have ranged from Web resources (such as the Women Film Pioneers Project, launched in 2013) to box sets (Kino Lorber’s forthcoming collection “Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers”) to screening

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