SO THIS IS WHAT'S HAPPENING:
I have TWO FILMS LEFT in this INCREDIBLE but NEVER-ENDING bracket. Both feature pretty iconic, unforgettable performances. Both really rough films, centered around a fuck ton of violence towards women. I have already seen both of them. And honestly? Once was kind of enough.
I can already tell you who the winner is: It's Mary Herron, because she managed to turn OG Sub-Reddit Incel-Porn into a brutal and horrifying cautionary tale.
So I am doing myself a favor, and I am not re-living the trauma of watching either of these movies again. Hopefully ever. Sorry, not sorry.
Which means we are down to the GODDAMN WIRE HERE, FOLKS. Below are the 16 winners of ROUND ONE, and there are only THREE ROUNDS LEFT. Behold your Sweet 16, and keep reading to find out who our Elite Eight are!
The Battle for the Elite 8:
How the hell do I compare a documentary about the modern slavery of the American prison system with an animated film about an Iranian teenager? 13th is a movie that absolutely everyone should see. It was educational and beautiful and brutal, meticulously curated by the capable hands of DuVernay, and has stuck with me. ...But there was just something about Persepolis that will always hold an incredibly sentimental place in my heart.
The winner is... Marjane Satrapi
I have seen Fish Tank twice now, and I think it's safe to say that I'll probably never watch it again. It is devastating and brutal and relentless and powerful. Those are all good things. But I could watch Portrait of a Lady on Fire on loop for the rest of my goddamn life and feel nourished every single time.
The winner is... Celine Sciamma
This is the only one of the Sweet 16 bracket that is actually crushing me. How the HECK am I supposed to compare these two? It’s satire vs. folklore, coming of age vs. coming of age. I love both of these movies deeply, for very different reasons. I would watch either of them again in a heartbeat. They are both masterpieces in their own right. …But this is a directing battle, not a “favorite movie” bracket, and one of these films included just a *hint* more chutzpah than the other, an extra layer of flavor and color and intentionality. I might be crucified for this, so all I ask is that everyone wears hot pink plastic raincoats and daisy chains to my funeral.
The winner is... Jamie Babbit
There is exactly ONE of these movies that I’ll ever be watching again.
The winner is... Nancy Meyers
de Wilde vs. Wilde!! Okay I lied, this one is also going to hurt. Comparing two women’s directorial debuts is tough, especially when they’re both so aesthetically specific. Wilde, you did a hell of a job, and I will be the first in line to see your next feature. But goddammit, de Wilde’s was just the *tiniest* bit more delicious.
The winner is... Autumn de Wilde
One of these was good, one was great. One of these was an incredible accomplishment, one of these was a fucking masterpiece.
The winner is... Melina Matsoukas
Okay I really lied, this one deeply hurts my feelings too. Amirpour literally created A NEW GENRE, and deftly wielded a woman as a weapon in a way that was somehow achingly familiar and brand new all at one. But I’ll be damned if The Piano - even with it’s problematic faults - was anything less than a near-perfect film.
The winner is... Jane Campion
It is literally impossible to compare Lost in Translation and American Psycho, so I can only say that while Herron literally defied the seemingly inevitable incel-porn that this could’ve been and instead created a filmic icon, I am going to have to go with “which one would I watch again.” ...And as previously discussed, I adamantly do NOT plan on watching Christian Bale murder women ever again, thank you very much.
The winner is... Sofia Coppola