Lulu Wang’s The Farewell has been named the best film of 2019 in a poll of UK female film critics and commentators.
Conducted by female-centred film organisation Bechdel Test Fest, the poll surveyed 57 respondents from organisations and publications including the British Film Institute, Curzon, Birds Eye View, MUBI, Leeds Film Festival and Film London.
Olivia Wilde’s teen comedy-drama Booksmart came in second place while third went to documentary For Sama, from directors Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts.
Of the top 10 titles, six are directed or co-director by women - including Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir and Mati Doip’s Atlantics - and seven have female leads.
At least six pass the Bechdel Test, the method for measuring representation of women in cinema after which the organisation is named. To qualify, a film must have at least two named female characters, who have a conversation with each other about something other than a man.
Corrina Antrobus, founder of Bechdel Test Fest, said: “It’s been a strong year for female filmmakers and the rich stories they want to tell. Many are born from the filmmaker’s lived experiences and span across many different cultures.
“The works are cathartic, raw and an honour for us as audiences to receive. These films have succeeded in making women feel seen.”
Bechdel Test Fest poll
1. The Farewell, Lulu Wang
2. Booksmart, Olivia Wilde
3. For Sama, Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
4. The Souvenir, Joanna Hogg
5. Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach
6. Atlantics, Mati Diop
7. Avengers: Endgame, Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
8. Capernaum, Nadine Labaki
9. The Favourite, Yorgos Lanthimos
10. Monos, Alejandro Landes
11. Hustlers, Lorene Scafaria
12. Eighth Grade, Bo Burnham
13 = High Life, Claire Denis
13 = Knives Out, Rian Johnson
14. Happy as Lazzaro, Alice Rohrwacher
15. Wild Rose, Tom Harper
16. Burning, Chang-dong Lee
17. Sauvage, Camille Vidal-Naquet
18. Toy Story 4, Josh Cooley
19. Border, Ali Abbasi
20. Vox Lux, Brady Corbet