Challenging stereotypes and conventions for nearly 30 years, Kathryn Bigelow is one of the most successful female directors to date.
While most female filmmakers have risen to power by directing films that appeal to women, Bigelow has broken the mould with challenging and engaging topics, and largely directing men in high-adrenalin action films, such as "Point Break" and "Strange Days" making her an exception to the rule.
The American film director, producer and screenwriter, received high critical acclaim for her 2008 film The Hurt Locker, including two Oscars for Best Film and Best Director - making her the only woman to ever win this prize in the 84 years of the Academy’s history.
In honour of her latest film, the highly anticipated Zero Dark Thirty, about the decade long hunt for Osama Bin Laden, we have compiled a list of Kathryn Bigelow’s films over the years, showing what it is that makes her a strong force within the entertainment industry -- and that the best is yet to come.
- The Loveless (1982)
The year 1982 marked Kathryn Bigelow’s first full-length feature film debut with the biker film The Loveless, which she co-directed with Monty Montgomery.
The film follows Willem Dafoe as a biker wrecking havoc in the conservative Deep South of America in 1959, and announced Bigelow’s entry into the film world.
- Near Dark (1987)
Often considered one of Bigelow’s best films in her early career, Near Dark is a vampire film with a twist.
The film follows a family of dysfunctional bloodsuckers as they journey across America in search of their next victims.
- Blue Steel (1989)
Filmed during her short marriage to fellow director James Cameron, Kathryn Bigelow’s Blue Steel, starred Jamie Lee Curtis as a rookie police officer who is stalked by a psychopathic killer, played by Ron Silver.
Despite a mixed reaction from critics, Blue Steel foreshadows the greatness that will later become apparent in Bigelow’s blooming career.
- Point Break (1989)
Considered a 90’s classic, Point Break starred Keanu Reeves as an FBI agent who poses as a surfer to catch the "Ex-Presidents", a group of surfing armed robbers led by Patrick Swayze who wear masks when they hold up banks.
Bigelow’s most profitable film until the 2008 release of The Hurt Locker, yet one of her critically least well-received film.
- Strange Days (1995)
Strange Days follows a cop turned street-hustler as he discovers a police conspiracy on New Year’s Eve in 1999 in Los Angeles.
A visually surprising sci-fi thriller that encompasses the pre-millennial tensions of the year 2000, Strange Days reminds audiences of the flaws of society and the uncertainties of the future.
Written and produced by her ex-husband James Cameron, Bigelow was the first woman to win the Saturn Award for Best Director in 1995, following this film.
- K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)
Starring Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson, K-19: The Widowmaker tracks a group of men aboard the Soviet Union’s first Nuclear powered submarine, showing the tensions that rise as the crew attempts to divert disaster.
- The Hurt Locker (2008)
Critically acclaimed, The Hurt Locker follows the daring duties of a bomb specialist (played by Jeremy Renner) and the encounters of his day to day missions in the Iraq war.
The film went on to win six Oscars at the 82nd Academy Awards, including Best Director for Bigelow -- the first woman to win this award -- and Best Picture.
- Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
The most recent film in Kathryn Bigelow’s repertoire is the highly anticipated Zero Dark Thirty -- the story of history's greatest manhunt for the world's most dangerous man -- an intense and highly intellectual film, starring Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt and Mark Strong.
The film has already won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director, making Bigelow the first woman to win the award twice.
Zero Dark Thirty has also won her the National Board of Review Award for Best Director (another first for a female director) and already garnered many nominations and awards leading up to the 2012 awards season.
Zero Dark Thirty will be in UK cinemas from 25 January 2013