This will be the lazy woman's version of Jennifer Merin's very cool Top 25 list of docs by and/or about women that she feels are must-sees. Here, instead of a description by me, you get a link to the film's website, or to a site that says something interesting about the film--infinite numbers of worlds to choose from, that I would never deny anyone. Writing film synopses right now, not so much.
However, I have supplied an extra added bonus--a special mention to a special film about girls/women that was one of the first things I saw that countered every rubric about genre in one movie, and made me weep like a baby, to boot. (Herzog's Little Dieter Needs to Fly was another one, but Werner makes man-films, so has no place in this conversation.) Apologies to my friends on the Continent if this is still too much of a US-centric list; I tried to give it some international flava. We white Europeans overlook lots of stuff. In no particular order, just as they came to me:
The Gleaners and I, Agnès Varda, 2000. (Still above of Varda's hand holding a heart-shaped potato.)
The Devil's Playground, Lucy Walker, 2002.
Flag Wars, Linda Goode Bryant and Laura Poitras, 2003.
Prodigal Sons, Kimberly Reed, 2008.
Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman, Jennifer Fox, 2006.
Protagonist, Jessica Yu, 2007.
Blue Vinyl, Daniel B. Gold and Judith Helfand, 2002.
A Lion in the House, Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, 2006.
The Boys of Baraka, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, 2005.
My Country, My Country, Laura Poitras, 2006.
Freeheld, Cynthia Wade, 2007.
Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer, Nick Broomfield, 2003.
To See If I'm Smiling, Tamar Yarom, 2007. (Still pictured.)
The Mother, Pavel Kostomarov and Antoine Cattin, 2008.
Family Affair, Chico Colvard, 2010.
Off and Running, Nicole Opper, 2009.
3 Rooms of Melancholia, Pirjo Honkasalo, 2005.
O Amor Natural, Heddy Honigmann,1996.
The Monastery: Mr. Vig and the Nun, Pernille Rose Grønkjaer, 2006.
La Sierra, Scott Dalton and Margarita Martinez, 2005.
Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement, Susan Muska and Gréta Olafsdóttir, 2009.
Sisters in Law, Kim Longinotto and Florence Ayisi, 2005.
Billy the Kid, Jennifer Venditti, 2007.
Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo, Jessica Oreck, 2009.
The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins, Pietra Brettkelly, 2008. (Still pictured.)
BONUS FILM!! Rabbit-Proof Fence, Phillip Noyce, 2002.
I hope this helps to further generate an epidemic of lists of kick-ass women and their accomplishments--in film or in anything. Personally, I think we should get rid of International Women's Day and just take over the world already.