A panel of over 368 “film experts” voted — their ranks are described as “critics, journalists, festival programmers and academics” from more than 80 countries, all selecting their picks for the greatest films ever directed by women for a poll on BBC.com. When their votes were tabulated the #1 choice for the best film by a female director was The Piano, the 1993 Jane Campion drama that won that year’s Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and went on to collect three Academy Awards, including Best Actress for star Holly Hunter.

Here’s how Hannah Woodhead describes the winning movie, on BBC.com:

It’s an exquisitely beautiful film, from Michael Nyman’s score of sombre and soaring piano and strings compositions to Holly Hunter’s performance, which rightly earned her the 1994 Academy Award for best actress. It’s hard to imagine anyone else playing Ada now, but Sigourney Weaver was actually Campion’s first choice.

And here are the critics and assorted other film experts’ full top ten of the best films directed by women:

  1. The Piano (Jane Campion)
  2. Cleo From 5 to 7 (Agnès Varda)
  3. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels (Chantal Akerman)
  4. Beau Travail (Claire Denis)
  5. Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola)
  6. Daisies (Věra Chytilová)
  7. The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow)
  8. Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade)
  9. Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold)
  10. Daughters of the Dust (Julie Dash)

To read the rest of their picks and each film’s essay, go to BBC.com.

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