At their best, list articles - which have mass in-
fected websites and newspapers these past
few years - are a harmless, if boring, way to kill time
while you’re waiting for public transport.
At their worst, however, there is the potential
to exacerbate stereotypes and segregation within
the film industry. Too often we see lists entitled
‘The Best Films Directed by Women’ or ‘The Best
of Black Cinema’, when Hollywood already has a
nasty reputation of whitewashing and sexism.
These lists may be small fry in the bigger pic-
ture, but it’s distressing to see that we still feel
the need to separate crea-
tivity by race and gender.
Is it that surprising that a
woman has been able to
step behind the camera?
Is every story that a direc-
tor of colour wants to tell so incomprehensible to
a mainstream audience that it must be separated
into its own category? It’s not only insulting to the
professionals themselves but to the audience, the
assumption being that we can only digest a certain
type of artist.
A list compiled of only black cinema suggests
that it is somehow a niche, or that a drama in that
list would somehow be harder to take in than
Oscar bait straight from the Hollywood machine.
Even the BFI find themselves guilty of this. As the
London Film Festival approached, they separated
some films into categories based around nationali-
ties. You could argue that this was for ease, but it’s
hard to see how compiling lists of five or ten good
films per day would have been any more compli-
cated, or maybe skipping that altogether and al-
lowing viewers to do their own research from the
And if things are beginning to improve in some
areas, as women and directors of colour slowly
gain more appraisal, the LGBT community still find
themselves shunned. While any homosexual con-
duct in a film will almost surely gain a higher rating
than straight sex, even films with homosexual sub-
texts can find themselves
separated into lists, kept
away from other films like
a dirty little secret.
The truth is, of course,
much simpler. Directors
of all races, both male and female, and all sexu-
alities are just as capable as anyone else in mak-
ing endearing, relatable stories. To separate them
implies they have nothing in common with the
mainstream. It’s a minor part of a bigger issue, but
change has to start somewhere. If list articles be-
come more inclusive, perhaps only separating by
genre, then it could potentially bring an audience
to artists who have otherwise been pushed aside
and make those boring Top Tens just a little more
‘A list compiled of only black cinema
suggests that it is somehow a niche’
Stop making lists!