Racial equity and inclusion in Hollywood still have a long way to go. Hollywood has historically favored white and male directors into the mainstream – in 2019, for example, 80% of American films were led by white males (although they only make up a third of the population of the United States). While it will take decades of continuous work to change systemic racism and make Hollywood more representatively diverse, there are encouraging signs that the status quo is slowly but surely changing.
Just look at the latest Oscars ceremonies: in 2021, Chloé Zhao became the first woman of color to win the award for best director for “Nomadland”, while Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” broke barriers by becoming the first non-english-speaking film to win the Best Picture award in 2020. Of course, while many great American directors of color do work that reflects the lives of people in the United States, it’s important to remember that directors of the color of the the world has been making iconic art for decades, even though the Oscars have been slow to catch up. Just look at Abbas Kiarostami’s slice of life Iranian parable “Ten” or how Zacharias Kunuk portrays Inuit folklore in “Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner”.
To appreciate the work of these filmmakers, Stacker set out to compile a list of the top 50 movies directed by people of color. This was done by compiling Metacritic data on all feature films and ranking them according to Metascore, with ties broken by IMDb user rating. To be eligible, the film had to be directed by a person of color and have at least seven reviews. Without further ado, here are 50 Movies That Are Truly Necessary Watches.
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