20 Great Female Directors You Should Really Know About

Nicole Holofcener
The New York-born director has made an admittedly unpronounceable name for herself capturing the nuance of everyday life in films like Friends with Money and 2013's terrific Enough Said.
Andrea Arnold
Actor-turned-director Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights adaptation was a stellar surprise, but her earlier works Fish Tank and Red Road are also worthy of attention,
Claire Denis
A Claire Denis film is always something to behold. The pensive director has established herself as a creative giant with The Intruder, White Material, and 35 Shots of Rum.
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Sofia Coppola
Nobody has quite the hold on cinematic ennui that Coppola seems to, as exhibited especially in The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation.
Deepa Mehta
The bold Mehta is often credited as a director who aims to break down cultural barriers, but her works (like Water, and The Republic of Love) truly tackle the human experience.
Julia Loktev
Just starting out with the great Day Night Day Night and the tremendous The Loneliest Planet, Loktev is already a palpably interesting and important new filmmaking voice.
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Lisa Cholodenko
You'll likely know Cholodenko for her Oscar-nominated hit The Kids Are All Right, but the director is presently developing two TV miniseries: Olive Kitteridge and The Slap.
Talya Lavie
Lavie is only starting out in the directing game, having just released her first feature Zero Motivation. But with the film, she displays an acute comic sensibility and mastery of the weird.
Sarah Polley
Just a year after her special and surprising romantic comedy/tragedy Take This Waltz, Polley delivered the introspective documentary Stories We Tell, an absolute must-see.
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Jane Campion
Though her most acclaimed work is likely The Piano, Campion shows particular skill with the thriller genre in In the Cut and the beautifully haunting series Top of the Lake.
Lynne Ramsay
Ramsay's short list of features, including Ratcatcher and We Need to Talk About Kevin proves consistently challenging and emotionally aggressive.
Amy Heckerling
Heckerling may have peaked early with Fast Times and Ridgemont High and (her very best) Clueless, but her recent flicks (like Vamps) are worthwhile comedies as well.
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Miranda July
Writer/director July is another entry on this list with only a pair of features to her name, but with a pervasive talent that is sure to breathe into a variety of films yet to come.
Mira Nair
One of the most prolific directors on this list, Nair is responsible for iconic cultural conversation pieces like Monsoon Wedding and Vanity Fair.
Kathryn Bigelow
Since the mid 1990s, Bigelow has advanced from thrilling summer fun like Point Break to the sort of booming sociopolitical pieces like The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty.
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Lynn Shelton
Shelton is the great mind behind Your Sister's Sister and the flawed but interesting Touchy Feely, not to mention a few New Girl episodes.
Nora Ephron
You already know the legacy of the late Nora Ephron, the master of the rom-com with classics like Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail.
Kelly Reichardt
Though she has been in the game for 20 years, Reichardt's last two films, Meek's Cutoff and Night Moves are her freshest and best movies to date.
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Mary Harron
Harron's most famous film might always be American Psycho, but we shouldn't forget about her terrific endeavors in I Shot Andy Warhol or The Notorious Bettie Page.
Catherine Breillat
How to begin summing up Breillat, a director who has fostered genius in 13 features in multiple languages over the course of 40 years? Just check out anything she's done and you'll understand.