Since their international breakthrough with 'Rosetta' (1999), Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have cemented their position as chroniclers of the dispossessed. With each riveting, heartfelt drama, they have created tenacious female characters willing to fight their cause and defend their way of life. This selection of films picks from the best of the Dardenne's work, but also champions films by other directors whose focus on unflinching and dedicated female protagonists makes for compelling cinema. Whether its Jennifer Lawrence's breakthrough role in 'Winter's Bone' (2010), Emily Blunt hunting down drug smugglers in 'Sicario' (2015), a housekeeper driven to crime in Russian auteur Andrey Zvyagintsev's 'Elena' (2011) or Agnès Varda's distraught heroine facing up to reality in the classic 'Cléo from 5 to 7' (1962) - these films all offer us fierce and determined female characters who are all completely committed to their own unique missions, whether self-assigned or bestowed upon them.

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