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Another kind of F-Word.

We’re probably all familiar with the film certificates, U, PG, 12A, 12, 15 and 18, but have you heard of the F-rating? It was founded in 2014 by director/producer Holly Tarquini to address the lack of women in films and film making. This might feel like a trendy gesture, but then you discover that of the top 100 grossing films of 2016, women made up just 4% of the directors and only 11% of the writers. The F-rating gives audiences a way of identifying films that, to quote their website, “fairly represent women on screen and behind the camera”. A film gets an F-rating if it is directed by or written by a woman, if it also features significant women characters it gets a triple F-rating. Some film festivals now use it alongside the standard age rating.

In some ways it’s felt like a great year for F-rated films, we had the German arthouse hit, Toni Erdmann (Triple F!), The Zookeeper’s Wife (Ditto!), Detroit, The Beguiled….. the list goes on, though not as far as it should . We still seem to have the usual action films and comedies with women relegated to thankless roles of wives and girlfriends, but elevate the women to lead roles (Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde, Melissa McCarthy in Spy) and the film often gets lifted into being something different, something special.

Oswestry Film Society recently met to choose films for our next season, starting in January. I’m very pleased that 5 of the 7 films chosen would merit an F-rating, even more that two of them (The charming Adult Life Skills with Jodie Whittaker, and the highly acclaimed British drama The Levelling) would merit a triple F-rating. While Loving Vincent, The Big Sick and The Limehouse Golem are either co-written or co-directed by women. None of these films were chosen due to the director’s gender, but they prove that films directed by or written by women span a range of genres and styles, and if our next season is anything to go by, are well worth watching. for more information.

By Michael Hudson

From our weekly column in the Oswestry Advertizer, published on 12th December 2017.

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