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Writer, director and actor Desiree Akhaven has made her name as a significant presence among a new wave of female filmmakers with her hilarious feature debut 'Appropriate Behavior'.
Andrea Arnold went from being an actor on British children's television to an Oscar and Cannes-winning filmmaker with apparent ease. Her films are visceral and beautiful, ramshackle yet carefully constructed, and possess a breathtaking emotional volatility. 'Wasp' (2003) won an Academy Award for Best Short Film. Set on an English council estate, it is both angry and tender as it details a young single mother's attempts to re-connect with the world outside her flat. A collaboration with Lars von Trier on a project led to 'Red Road' (2006), about a grieving woman who works in a CCTV surveillance room. Stylish and often discomforting in tone, Arnold's skill with actors is revealed through Kate Dickie's extraordinary performance. For 'Fish Tank' (2009), Arnold cast Katie Jarvis, whom she encountered on the street, in the lead role. Her intuition paid off, as it would with Sasha Lane in 'American Honey' (2016). Jarvis is a time bomb in the film – as a young girl who wants more out of life. The canvass for 'American Honey' is larger but Sasha Lane's character in the film echoes Mia's in 'Fish Tank'. But the film's expansiveness allows Arnold to explore the notion of Americana and youthful abandon in great depth, highlighting the importance of her relationship with regular cinematographer Robbie Ryan. He also worked with Arnold on the critically divisive 'Wuthering Heights' (2011). Though Arnold's casting choices didn't work out so well on this film, the sense of place and the grime and ever-present decay of 19th century rural English life is palpable. Outside of film, Arnold's recent sojourn in the US also saw her direct episodes of 'Transparent' and 'I Love Dick'.