Rachel Pronger


Voted for

MÄDCHEN IN UNIFORM1931Leontine Sagan
Meshes of the Afternoon1943Maya Deren, Alexander Hackenschmied
Losing Ground1982Kathleen Collins
KRYLYA1966Larissa Shepitko
Working Girls1986Lizzie Borden
Chibusa yo eien nare1955Kinuyo Tanaka
One Way or Another1977Sara Gómez
Compensation2000Zeinabu irene Davis
The Beaches of Agnès2008Agnès Varda



1931 Germany

The lost lesbian classic which could have heralded a golden era of queer cinema if fascism hadn’t cut the moment short.

Meshes of the Afternoon

1943 USA

A phenomenally influential experimental milestone, an unsolvable mystery which never ceases to fascinate.

Losing Ground

1982 USA

Kathleen Collins's only feature, which was forgotten for decades before being restored and released a few years ago, is a missing link in US indie cinema history.


1979 Federal Republic of Germany

A witty, wonderful, wildly imaginative queer feminist odyssey. I watched it for the first time open mouthed, wondering why no one had ever told me that films like this existed.


1966 USSR

A haunting character study of a middle aged female pilot struggling to find her place in peacetime which deserves to be celebrated as a classic of Soviet cinema.

Working Girls

1986 USA

Funny, warm and richly compelling, Lizzie Borden’s dramady offers both compelling entertainment and revelatory reflections on capitalism, sex work and feminism.

Chibusa yo eien nare

1955 Japan

So rich, so surprising, a breath-taking melodrama that is also extraordinarily frank about illness and the female body.

One Way or Another

1977 Cuba

A fascinating glimpse of revolutionary Cuba through a subversive and playful feminist lens, from a filmmaker taken much too soon.


2000 USA

A revelatory piece of work which reframes US history through African American and d/Deaf lenses, and in doing so creates something entirely unique.

The Beaches of Agnès

2008 France

The crowning glory of a brilliant career, a deeply emotional celebration of a legend.

Further remarks

Narrowing down the whole history of cinema to 100 “great” films is clearly an impossible task, so for my list I’ve abandoned any pretence of objectivity. My list is a political list, a protest against the canon’s longstanding tendency to ignore films made by female/minority-gender filmmakers. Each of these films is great in my opinion, for many reasons, but this is a list compiled based on gut rather than any kind of faux systematic criteria. On first watch, every one of these provoked huge emotions in me – pleasure, hope, regret and loss. Every one of these films symbolises to me a lost future, a direction cinema might have travelled, had circumstances been different. What would the canon look like if fascism hadn’t cut short the queer Weimar film scene? Or if Kathleen Collins and Sara Gomez had lived long enough to make more than one great feature? My list therefore is a celebration both of the greatness that has been, and the greatness that could have been. Great cinema for me means revelation, wonder and possibility. By this criteria I feel every film here can be richly celebrated as one of the greatest.