In 1911, 9 years before Womyn were considered equal citizens & “allowedTO ROCK THE VOTE in the United States; International Womyn’s Day was born.  International Womyn’s Day is a day, simply put, TO CELEBRATE WOMYN!!!

Working Womyn.  Womyn Working in the Home.  Bookworm Womyn. Street Smart Womyn.  Political Womyn.  Polyamorous Womyn.  Womyn in the Military.  Womyn Abroad. Womyn Who Consider Themselves “Broads”.  You get the idea…

In Honor of the Centennial – 100th Anniversary – of International Womyn’s Day, held every year on March 8th, behold a listing of 10 International Womyn’s Day Films.  This list is intended to be a CELEBRATION OF WOMYNLY-WONDER-FILLED FLICKS THAT ARE EMPOWERING, INSPIRING A FUN, FIGHTING SPIRIT, AND JUST KICK ASS! (Wait, can I type “ass”…? HELL YES I CAN!!!)

Note: Women is spelled with a “y” for the following reasons: a) it’s a witty word alternative, redefining female identity b) it works like a dually-phonetic charm, standing for both “Women” and “Woman” c) it’s just more fun to wryte!

Another Note: This list in NOT a “Top 10 List” per se… just a collection of 10 cool International Womyn’s movies.  (I thought I’d take a break from the usual slant towards social hierarchy.)

~ All About My Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre)

Pedro Almodóvar, the Spanish Director of International acclaim, tells a dramatic story of a Womyn named Manuela, played by Cecilia Roth, who journeys from Spain’s capital of Madrid to Barcelona in search of her “Baby Daddy” after her son’s untimely death.  With a cast of Strong Womyn, including Marisa Paredes, and Academy Award Winner Penélope Cruz (who’s also Almodóvar’s muse, performing in 4 of his films to date), All About My Mother is a poignant tale of cross-dressing, community health, rekindling passions, and redefining family.  It also makes clever references to other films featuring Strong Womyn: A Streetcar Named Desire and All About Eve.

~ The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (and the sequel “2”!)

Based on the 4 International Bestselling books by Ann Brashares, these “chick flicks” (you knew I’d throw that in here somewhere) follow 4 Best Friends through high school and into college.  No matter what their Summer plans, traversing the US from Maryland to South Carolina to NYC, or traveling abroad to Mexico or Greece, these girls, growing into Womyn, keep a pact to pass along a pair of perfectly fitting “Traveling Pants” as a symbol of their bond despite their penchant for going the distance!

~ How Stella Got Her Groove Back

Mm-mm-MMM!  Embracing another Bestselling novel, penned by Terry McMillan, this film is based on Ms. McMillan’s true story of being a Successful, 40-year old, Single-Mom, played in the movie by Academy Award Nominee Angela Bassett, who’s convinced by her friend, played by Academy Award Winner Whoopi Goldberg, to “Get Her Groove Back” by taking a well-deserved Vaca’ to Montego Bay, Jamaica.  And she surely “Gets Her Groove ON” with a sexy, 20-year old Jamaican brotha, played by the talented–and tasty–Taye Diggs!

~ Frida

Salma Hayek is slammin’ in her Academy Award Nominated performance as Mexicana surrealist painter Frida Kahlo.  Through seemingly insurmountable obstacles such as crippling disabilities, severe illness, and a philandering hubby—legendary artist, and soul mate, Diego Rivera, played by Alfred Molina— Kahlo proves that her passion for life cannot be squelched or stifled.  Not only is Kahlo an artistic genius in her own right, she pushes all kinds of boundaries, from sexual to political, kicking down all kinds of doors for Womyn, while walking, wobbling, and being confined to her bed.

~ Monsoon Wedding

Such a cinematically stunning film, Monsoon Wedding, directed by Mira Nair, written by Sabrina Dhawan, details a lovely and lavish Indian wedding, highlighting Punjabi culture.  Featuring 4 hectic days before the Big Day, you feel swept up in the intricate chaos as family flies into New Delhi from America and Australia to participate in this traditionally arranged marriage complete with elaborate ceremonies, and flower-filled fanfare. Relationship drama and forbidden love ensue, while subplots of family secrets and taboo swell as the union draws near.  The Womyn of this gorgeous film gracefully persist and persevere, as they seek balance between the ways of the “Old World” and the Modern Day.

~ Eat Pray Love

Freshly divorced Elizabeth Gilbert, played by another Academy Award Winner Julia Roberts, decides to let go of the past holding her back, and venture boldly into the most foreign, forbidden, and frightening territory of all: the space within herself.  Liz spends 4 months in 3 countries: “Eating Herself” in Italy, “Praying Herself”—nearly to death—in India, and finally learning to “Love Herself” in Bali, Indonesia.  The best quote ever is from Felipe, played by yet another Oscar Winner, Javier Bardem: “Balance? Listen. Balance, my darling, is not letting anybody love you less than you love yourself.”  Preach!

~ Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Did someone say Javier Bardem?  Well, this lucky Spanish lover held his own amongst 3 distinctly unique Womyn in this romantic comedy meets melodrama.  Two young Womyn, played by Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson, away on a Summer Holiday to Barcelona, Spain, encounter new experiences upon meeting an intriguing man.  Directed by Woody Allen, naturally the plot is laden with sex, sensuality, and quirks, lots of quirks, and idiosyncrasies too.  We’re talking Penélope Cruz—Bardem’s Baby Mama in real life—who’s performance as Bardem’s off-again, on-again wife was so sensational, I just don’t think that even the Oscar she did snag for it spoke highly enough about the character she embodied.  It was smart.  (Smart? Who said “smart”?!  It was genius.  GEN-I-US!!!)

~ Bend It Like Beckham

Jess (Parminder Nagra) and Jules (Keira Knightley) are Young London Womyn who love the game of football (soccer if you’re in the US), and proceed to “Bend it like Beckham”, despite their parents’ all-too apparent dismay. Jess, who is a huge fan of football great David Beckham, of “Posh & Becks” fame, particularly faces conflict with her Orthodox Punjabi Sikh parents, while Jules’ parents assume she and her “mate” (that’s British-speak for “friend”) are lesbian lovers.  Even when Jess and Jules’ friendship is tested by their mutual crush on their coach Joe, played by a strapping Jonathan Rhys Meyers, their solidarity prevails, taking them to the next level, in the game of life, together.

~ Sex in the City 2

Samantha, Miranda, Charlotte, and Carrie thought they’d been through it all, that is, until Samantha invites “the girls” to accompany her on a trip of a lifetime to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.  There, in the UAE, these ladies are treated like Queens, perhaps even Goddesses, at least for a spell, swashbuckling their way about town, much like they would “in the City”.  Is this Part Deux over-the-top?  Perhaps.  Is the storyline, with its hair-raising happenstance, believable?  Not really.  Yet, the very fact that these NYC Womyn, with their husbands, babies, boyfriends, careers, and sex lives at home, decided to travel abroad, with only “the girls” by their side, is priceless.

~ Last Holiday

Forget being treated like a Queen, how about being one?!?!  Well, Queen Latifah’s character Georgia Byrd certainly doesn’t feel like royalty in this whimsical tale, a remake of the Last Holiday film from 1950.  Wrapped tightly with her passions to prepare fine cuisine, unknowingly keeping her department store co-worker Sean, played by LL Cool J, rapt with interest, Georgia longs to see the world.  Clipping out all her dreams, including to marry Sean, into her book of “Possibilities”, this New Orleans Cookware Sales & Food Demo Queen (think Costco), is abruptly told she only has a few weeks left to live.  Cashing out her savings, Georgia leaves the US for the first time, setting off to Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.  Finally she lets it all hang out, “blowing” all her dough on spa treatments, ski trips, and the Presidential Suite of the Grandhotel Pupp, enchanting all around her, including herself, along the way.

Honorable Mention

~ Thelma & Louise

By popular demand, I had to acknowledge this gruesome tale of an awesome twosome, that garnered Academy Award nods for each of these Leading Womyn for their portrayals of Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon).  On the run to Mexico after Louise kills a man who tries to rape Thelma, this pair sticks together, through trials and tribulations, until the bittersweet end.  A nice pick-me-up in this thrilling film is the breakout performance of a young, often shirtless, Brad Pitt, who now has a couple Oscar nods under his belt to date.  If Thelma & Louise had a join tombstone, it might read: “Here Lies Two Badass Broads!” (No?  Too soon…?)

Surely, you have picks all your own to add to this rousing collection of International Womyn’s Day films.  What might they be, pray tell?