As it turns out, Kathryn Bigelow was just the tip of the iceberg. This summer, the rest of the berg—or a sizable chunk of it—rolls onto movie screens at multiplexes and indie art-houses across the country.

Women directors are coming into their own. It’s a phenomenon worth celebrating—and supporting with our moviegoing dollars.

Which shouldn’t be hard to do, given the breadth and variety of the women-helmed productions on view and opening soon. Here’s a quick roundup of films to watch for, enjoy on the big screen, and add to the Netflix queue.

From Sperm Donors to Kids’ Flicks

By now, you may have caught some of the critical acclaim that’s been coalescing around Debra Granik’s film, Winter’s Bone, which opened this past week. A hit at this year’s Sundance Festival, Granik’s gritty, unflinching film tells the tale of a teenage girl in the Ozarks, whom the New York Times compared to “a modern-day Antigone.” And you might have already seen Catherine Keener’s knockout performance in Nicole Holofcener’s Please Give, which opened a few weeks ago.

Now, mark your calendar for Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right (opens July 7). With a cast headed by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a lesbian couple coping with a wild-card sperm donor, Cholodenko’s film promises family drama of a highly sophisticated order.

Veering off in anot her intriguing direction, The Extra Man, co-directed by Shari Springer Berman, introduces an impressionable young writer to the world of the “walker,” squiring wealthy Manhattan women through their social calendars (opens July 30). Patricia Clarkson heads the cast of Egyptian director Ruba Nadda’s Cairo Time, a story of growing attraction between two people thrown together by a political emergency (opens August 6). On the indie front, Kate Aselton directs and co-stars in The Freebie, as half of a married couple who give themselves a night off from their relationship, with unexpected results (opens August 27).

Leave it to a woman director, Elizabeth Allen, to bring to the screen one of the scrappiest heroines ever to grace a children’s book series with Ramona and Beezus (opens July 23). The following month, Susanna White guides Emma Thompson and Maggie Gyllenhaal through the second installment of another popular children’s fantasy, Nanny McPhee Returns (opens August 20).

Documentary Focus

As you might imagine, it’s not the filmmaking that grabs the spotlight in Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, which opened last week—it’s la Rivers herself, in all her outrageous, howling glory. On a more sober note, Madeleine Sackler’s The Lottery, which also opened last week, follows the fortunes of four Harlem families as they vie for slots for their children in the local charter school.  Lucy Walker’s Countdown to Zero tackles the threat of nuclear destruction in today’s rapidly shifting geopolitical realities (opens July 9), while Jessica Oreck’s Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo—made in 2009 but only now in general distribution—takes a whimsical look at the Japanese obsession with insect life.

Biography and profiles are naturals for documentary film, and Angela Ismailos takes an approach that should delight movie buffs, interviewing ten Great Directors—including French filmmakers Agnès Varda and Catherine Breillat (opening July 2). Tamra Davis also pulls in many famous faces for Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child, her portrait of the mercurial contemporary artist who died in 1988 at age 27. (opens July 21).

Pass the Popcorn

And then there are the women we love to see on screen, no matter who’s behind the camera. Top of the list is Julia Roberts, whose Eat, Pray, Love opens August 13. But there’s plenty to keep us in our seats until then, including the highly praised, intensely erotic Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, which recently opened in New York, and Tilda Swinton in the equally steamy I Am Love, which opens next week (June 18). At the end of this month, look for Helen Mirren playing opposite Joe Pesci as the married co-owners of one of the first legal bordellos in Nevada in Love Ranch (opens June 30).

Is this summer’s bounty a glimpse of film calendars to come? Has the tide truly turned? We can only hope so. Meanwhile, we’ll enjoy, and support, this year’s stellar crop of women behind the camera and on screen.

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