Films I’ve seen so far in which female characters play a prominent or (as in the case of No Country for Old Men) a surprising role.
For example, in the case of Onimasa, it surprised me that much of the movie is about Onimasa’s adopted daughter. There is more focus on the women than I’ve seen in other stories of mob clans.
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers: Besides there being a female from jail (which I’ve rarely seen in American films from this time), the only thing that Martha Ivers doesn’t seem to be punished for is her success in business.
9/16/2013: Fritz Lang’s Nibelungen films consist of Brunhild’s and Kriemhild’s respective acts of revenge. The revenge film is a common genre for female leads, but the amount of power these women get to wield in parts of the film is portrayed to great effect in this movie adaptation.
I included Cold Prey 2, for while it does steal its premise from Halloween 2, it goes further and gives its Final Girl more realistic reactions as well as a sense of duty instead of only a fight for survival. Also included for the number of female survivors.
Brighton Rock (1947) is included for the earthy “angel” Ida Arnold. While the film doesn’t go as deep into her character as Graham Greene’s novel does, it’s still good to see her type of character as the crusader for justice.
Not yet in the database: Rosztanie, a 1961 Wojciech Has film focused on an older actress (Lidia Wysocka) and adapted by Jadwiga Żylińska from her own story.
The Banquet (Ye yan) is far from perfect, but it’s better if you consider that Zhang Ziyi’s Gertrude character is more of the lead over Daniel Wu’s Hamlet. The treatment of Zhou Xun’s Ophelia, however, is uneven in comparison.
Not yet in the database: the Kenyan educational film The Dreams of Elibidi (Ndoto Za Elibidi), for how the sisters (and eventually, the rest of the family and community) help each other.
Kawaita mizuumi is included for Shima Iwashita’s character.
Ant-Man and the Wasp gets special note for portraying Michelle Pfeiffer’s character as a competent, intelligent woman who survived in an extreme environment by herself for thirty years.
Not yet in the database: A Cidade das Mulheres (The City of Women), a documentary about the female leaders of Candomblé in Bahia. It does not even have an IMDb page, although director Lázaro Faria does.
One can make an interesting comparison of the characters played by Michelle Pfeiffer in Ant-Man and the Wasp and Nicole Kidman in Aquaman. I’m not sure we would have seen this kind of character in earlier superhero or even general mainstream films. One is more active in the plot than the other, and they are more isolated in comparison to the Vuvalini in Mad Max: Fury Road.