Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The World's Best Female Lead Singer Movies

By José Alberto Hermosillo
The World's Best Female Lead Singer Movies  COPYRIGHT www.FestivalinLA.com
Cinema has taken on the glamorous, controversial, notorious, scandalous, tumultuous, and tragic lives of the most amazing female lead singers in the world.

Their music, talent, and hard work contrast with their privacy - many tragically sad stories of agony, sickness, addictions, alcohol, drugs, loneliness, depression, jail, suicide, and above all… redemption.

The motion pictures and documentaries based on women lead singers have taken some literary freedom that altered what actually happened in their lives - fans from around the world love and hate. 

For the right approach, filmmakers have chosen a musical, narrative/drama, documentary, or a television series to tell the story and serve justice to the singer's legacy.

The outstanding performers in the world whose lives have passed to an eternity in larger-than-life movies are:

“La Vie en Rose” 
Marion Cotillard as the great Édith Piaf in a larger-than-life epic. 
Oscar Winner for best actress and best makeup.
Directed by Oliver Dahan. 
Vocal, (2007).
France, U.K., Czech Republic.
Coal Miner's Daughter” 
Sissy Spacek won an Oscar for her work as 
Loretta Lynn
Directed by Michael Apted. 
A country, (1980), 
Lady Sings the Blues
Diana Ross as the great Billie Holiday
Directed by Sidney J. Furie. 
 Jazz, (1972),  
Jennifer Lopez as Selena 
jumped to the international fame with this film.
 Directed by Gregory Nava. 
Cumbia, Ranchero, Tex/Mex., (1997), 

 The Oscar Winner documentary about the life of the late singer 
Amy Winehouse,
Directed by Asif Kapadia, 
Pop, soul, jazz, and soft rock, (2015),
United Kingdom. 
Katy Perry: Part of Me
A documentary on Katy’s life and music, 
which follows her on the California Dream Tour. 
Directed by Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz. 
Pop-Rock, (2012), 

“What’s Love Got to Do with It” 
Angela Bassett was nominated for an Oscar for her incredible performance as  
Tina Turner
Directed by Brian Gibson. 
R&B Soul, Pop, and Rock, (1993), 
Actress Sveva Alviti plays the iconic singer DALIDA,
an Egyptian born woman with a beautiful voice who went to 
Paris sang in twelve languages and sold more than 
170 million records worldwide.
Directed by Lisa Azuelos, 
Ballad, pop, and disco, (2017), 
Callas Forever
Fanny Ardant as the great Maria Callas.
Directed by Franco Zeffirelli. 
Opera, (2002), 
Italy, France, Spain, 
U.K., and Romania.
“20 Feet from Stardom”
An irresistible Oscar Winner documentary  
narrates the lives of the backup singers 
of several big stars.
Directed by Morgan Neville.
Rock, Pop, and Gospel, (2013), 

“Nico, 1988”
Touring in Europe and Africa, this biopic follows the
last year of life of the German singer Christa Päffgen also known as Nico, 
who is has to deal with her demons and drug addiction while
her Velvet Underground music is a hit.
Directed by Susanna Nicchiarelli.
Underground, 2017. 
In this evocative flick, a film director wants to shot a biopic 
based on the life of the great 
French singer Barbara.
Actress Jeanne Balibar 
gets caught in the middle of an emotional roller-coaster.
Directed by Mathieu Amalric.
Ballad (2017).
“Lady Gaga: Five FootTwo”
Premiering at TIFF. This 
Netflix verité style documentary follows 
Lady Gaga during her concerts and behind 
the stage, rehearsals, 
and home videos that make 
this presentation a must see!
Director Chris Moukarbel.
Pop, (2017).
An unauthorized biopic of controversial Mexican singer 
Gloria Trevi played by Sofía Espinosa. 
Directed by Christian Keller. 
Pop-Rock, (2014),
“Violeta Went to Heaven/
 Violeta se fue a los cielos” 
Francisca Gavilán as Violeta Parra
Singer, poet, composer, and activist. 
She was the founder of the Universidad Andina,
a university dedicated to the Folklorist arts of
South America. 
Directed by Andrés Wood. 
Folklorist, (2011), 
Chile, Brazil, and Argentina.

What Happened, Miss Simone?"
She was named the "High Priestess of Soul." 
An Oscar nominee documentary about the life of the Legendary Nina Simone
A Netflix production on the life of this great
American singer, pianist, and civil rights activist.
Directed by Liz Garbus. 
Soul, (2015), 
“Anna German/
      Ekho Lyubvi” 
Actress Darya Andreeva as the renowned 
Polish Singer Anna German.
She sang in more than 10 languages, and become very
famous in Russia. 
Directed by Ilya Malkin for Russian TV. 
Vocal, (2011), 
Lola Montez
Martine Carol plays Lola Montèz 
 An adventurous woman who
ends up as a circus performer. 
Directed by Max Ophüls. (1955),
France/West Germany.
“Funny Girl” 
Barbara Streisand as Fanny Brice
a singer who goes from the Jewish slums of 
N.Y. to the Ziegfeld Follies. 
Director William Wilder. 
Vaudeville, (1968), 
 “When I Leave/
Cuando me vaya” 
Argentinean actress Libertad Lamarque plays 
Maria Grever
the Mexican composer who lived in
N.Y. and wrote more than
800 Boleros and music for movies in Hollywood. 
Directed by Tito Davison. 
Bolero, (1954), 
Maria by Callas
A documentary abot the life of the Greek-American opera singer.
Directed by Tom Volf, 
Classic, (2017).
“Life with Judy Garland:
Me & My Shadows”
Judy Davis plays Judy Garland in this epic TV series.
Directed by Robert Allan Ackerman.
Musicals, (2001)
The most complete documentary about the life of late singer Whitney Houston
An emotional journey that took the image of Whitney
from her very beginning to the top of the world, her decadence and her tragic departure.
Directed by Kevin MacDonald.
Soul, pop, gospel, (2018).
U.K. / USA.
“Monica Z / Waltz for Monica”
The life of a Swedish iconic Jazz singer, actress, 
and performer
Monica Zetterlund (Edda Magnason). 
She evolves from stardom to hardship of her carrier.
Directed by Per Fly,
Jazz, (2013).
“Lola, la película” 
Gala Évora portrays one of the all-time greatest Spanish singers, 
the legendary Lola Flores 
Directed by Miguel Hermoso. 
Flamenco, (2007),
Courage, Passion & Glamour in Ethiopia” 
This documentary showcases and rescues from oblivion the infectious music
and beautiful voice of Asnaketch Worku, 
a cultural icon in her homeland, 
in entire Africa, and around the world. 
Directed by Rachel Samuel. 
“Amália the Film” 
Sandra Barata Belo as Amália Rodriguez
Directed by Carlos Coelho da Silva.
Fado, (2008),
Florence Foster Jenkins
Meryl Streep plays this heiress with
a great heart and voice.
She wanted to be an Opera Singer but not even all her money
can buy success.
Directed by Stephen Frears, 
Opera, (2016).
United Kingdom.

Catherine Frot plays Marguerite Dumont,
a wealthy woman who wants to be an Opera Singer.
Directed by Xavier Giannoli, 
Opera, (2015).
France, Czech Republic, Belgium.
The Josephine Baker Story
A T.V. movie based on the life of the famous Afro-American 
singer and performer,
who left her country for racial discrimination and found fame in
Paris - making 12 films, numerous plays, and shows.
Actress Lynn Whitfield plays the exotic and brave
Josephine Baker.
Directed by Brian Gibson. (1995), 
A TV movie about the story of the blues performer Bessie Smith during
the Great Depression Era, 
portrayed by Queen Latifah.
Directed by Dee Rees, 
Blues, (2015),
Quién te cantará/
Who Will Sing You” 
The life of the amnesic Spanish singer Lila Cassen (Najwa Nimri) from the 1990s
to the big screen. She was reaching the peak of the fame when an accident made her to forget.
Directed by Carlos Vermut,
Pop, 2018.
Queen of the Night/
 La Reina de la Noche” 
Patricia Reyes Espindola as Lucha Reyes
the first woman in history to sing with Mariachi. 
(She has a monument at the Mariachi Plaza, 
East Los Angeles).
Directed by Arturo Ripstein. 
Ranchero, (1994), 
Sweet Dreams
The Story of Patsy Cline
Jessica Lange as Patsy Cline. A country singer who died in
a tragic plane crash at the peak of her the fame.
Directed by Karel Reisz. 
Country music, (1985), 
“Sister Smile/
Soeur Sourire” 
Cécile de France plays the rebellious Belgian singing nun Jeannine Deckers. 
(This is the second and more accurate movie version of “The Singing Nun”). 
She was a composer, singer, and guitar player – 
Her song “Dominique” was a worldwide success. 
Directed by Stijn Coninx, (2009), 
The Singing Nun
Debbie Reynolds plays Sister Ann. 
Her famous ballad “Dominique” gained worldwide success. 
(This biopic is loosely based on the real story, see “Sister Smile”). 
Directed by Henry Koster. (1966), 
“Hilary and Jackie” 
Emily Watson as the performer Jacqueline Du Pré and 
Rachel Griffiths as Hilary Du Pré.
Jackie is a renowned cellist, and her sister, 
a prodigy remained a housewife for the rest of her life. 
Directed by Anand Tucker. 
Classic, (1998),
United Kingdom.
With a Song in My Heart
The Jane Froman Story
Susan Hayward as Jane Froman.
Directed by Walter Lang.
American Medley, (1952),
“Interrupted Melody
Eleanor Parker plays Marjorie Lawrence, an Australian Opera Singer with polio. 
Directed by Curtis Bernhardt. 
Opera, (1955), 
I'll Cry Tomorrow
Susan Hayward as Lillian Roth
the Broadway, and Hollywood Star that merged into her sorrows, 
alcohol, and failing marriages. 
Directed by Daniel Mann. (1955),
Spice World
The Spice Girls Movie
The adventures of the famous Spice Girls 
traveling around London in a luxurious 
double-decker tour bus
performing for their fans.
Director Bob Spiers. 
Pop, (1997).
United Kingdom.

Madonna Truth or Dare
This documentary follows Madonna on her controversial 
Blond Ambition Tour in 1990.
Directed by Alek Keshishian.
Pop, (1991).

A documentary that follows the life of Chavela Vargas,
her journey and international fame
singing ranchero as well as any man could do.
The film is focusing on her sexual preference 
for other women.
Directed by Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi
Ranchero, (2017).
USA, Mex, Spain.
Actress Christine Ghawi portrayed the renowned Céline Dion.
This unauthorized biopic made for TV. 
Directed by Jeff Woolnough. 
Pop and soft rock, (2008), 

Grace Jones 
Bloodlight and Bami
This documentary is about the life of Grace Jones and her concerts around the world.
Directed by Sophie Fiennes, 
Disco, (2017).
United Kingdom.
Whitney: Can I Be Me
A documentary that follows Whitney Huston's journey 
from her start to her big success, 
including some very intimate moments of her life.
Directors: Nick Broomfield, Rudi Dolezal
R&B, (2017).
U.K. / USA.
 “Janis: Little Girl Blue” 
A documentary about the life of
the great Janis Joplin
narrated by musician Cat Power.
Directed by Amy Berg, 
Rock, (2015),

The Girls in the Band
This is a documentary about a female jazz band singers from the 1930s.
 Directed by Judy Chaikin. 
Jazz, (2013),

“The Star of Emi Bonilla” 
The documentary about the life of the Spanish singer
  Emi Bonilla
is narrated by Juanma Lara.
Directed by Jorge Agó, 
Copla, (2019),

Carmen Miranda: 
Bananas are My Business
The life and fame of Carmen Miranda told in this fantastic documentary
she was known in Hollywood as
the Brazilian Bombshell. 
Director Helena Solberg. 
Tropical, (1995), 
United Kingdom, Brazil.
“Whisper If I Forget/
Unutursam Fidilda” 
Actress Farah Zeynep Abdullah played Humeyra
a Turkish Pop Star with Alzheimer. 
Directed by Çagan Irmak. 
Pop, (2014), 
Mercedes Sosa: 
The Voice  of Latin America
A documentary regarding the music and lyrics were written by Mercedes Sosa in her 
“Nuevo Cancionero.” 
One of the greatest composers of South America Andina Music.
Directed by Rodrigo H. Vila. 
Folklorist, (2013), 

“Anita O'Day:
The Life of a Jazz Singer”
A heartfelt documentary made a tribute to one of the greatest
Jazz vocalist, unfortunately, Anita O’Day couldn’t see the work finished
due to her passing.  
Directed by Robbie Cavolina and Ian McCrudden
Jazz, (2007).
“Umm Kulthum: A Voice Like Egypt”
Egypt’s superstar came to alive in this beautiful documentary narrated by the legendary actor Omar Sharif
Directed by Michal Goldman
Vocal, (1996).
Egypt, USA.
Shooting the Moon
"Pumpuang Duangjan"
Actress Paowalee Pornpimol plays the Queen of
Thai Country Music 
Pumpuang Duangjan
Directed by Bundit Thongdee. (2011),
“Somebody Loves Me” 
Betty Hutton plays Blossom Seeley
Directed by Irving Brecher. (1952), 
“The Helen Morgan Story” 
Ann Blyth played the torch singer Helen Morgan
Directed by Michael Curtiz. (1957), 
The USA.
“Love Me or Leave Me.” 
Doris Day plays Ruth Etting performing at the Ziegfeld Follies. 
Directed by Charles Vidor. 
Jazz, (1955), 
"Demi Lovato Simply Complicated" 

Singer Demi Lovato opens up in an interview about her drug addiction.
Hannah Lux Davis, 
Vocal, 2017.
Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B” 
Alexandra Shipp plays the tragic life of a music and video star Aaliyah for American T.V. 
Directed by Bradley Walsh. 
Soul/R&B, (2014), 
“The Linda McCartney Story” 
Elizabeth Mitchell as Linda Eastman McCartney.
The story focuses on Paul McCartney and the group they had after
the Beatles breakup in 1970 named Wings. 
Directed by Armand Mastroianni. 
Rock, (2000), 
A Broadway musical based on the early days of “The Supremes.”
Directed by Bill Condon.
R&B and Soul, (2006),

"The Rose"
Bette Midler plays a self-destructive rock star, 
in a story loosely based on the life of 
Janis Joplin
Directed by Mark Rydell. 
Rock, (1979), 
“Walk the Line” 
A superb Oscar-winning performance by Reese Witherspoon as the singer, 
musician, and composer 
June Carterthe second wife of Johnny Cash.
Directed by James Mangold. 
Country, (2005), 
“The Runaways” 
A biopic about the 1970’s teenage all-girl rock band named The Runaways
Directed by Floria Sigismondi. 
Rock, (2010), 
"The Sapphires" 
Loosely based on a true story, tells the journey of four 
Australian aborigines singers who traveled to Vietnam to perform for the troops  
during the war in 1968.
Directed by Wayne Blair. 
Cellist, (2012),
United Kingdom, Australia.
A drama based on 
the life of the legendary singer and activist Nina Simone,
 portrayed by Dominican actress Zoe Saldana.
Directed by Cynthia Mort, 
Soul, (2016),
"Nini's Movie/
La Pelicula de Nini."
The greatest Argentine comedy actress and singer who made a career in Mexico during the 
Golden Age of Mexican Cinema. 
She is still in the memory of many Argentinians who remember her dearly. 
Directed by Raul Etchelet. 
“The Night of My Love/
A Noite does Meu Bem” 
Regina Célia as the great Dolores Duran. 
This Brazilian film is lost, and it needs to be found.
Directed by Jesse Valadâo. 
Samba, (1968), 
all music
"Mary Lou Williams: 
The Lady Who Swings the Band"
A documentary about the famous jazz pianist
Mary Lou Williams.
Directed by Carol Bash. (2015), 
"Carefully, Carefully/

Cuidadito, Cuidadito"
The subject of this documentary is the famous singer, actress, 
and comedian María Victoria
who sang and in more than forty films
including some from 
The Golden Age of Mexican Cinema,
 and fifteen TV shows.
Directed by Sergio Muñoz Güemes. 
Bolero, (2013), 
A two-part TV film about Dalida’s life
played by Italian actress Sabrina Ferilli. 
Dalida was born in Egypt and became a French citizen, 
ranking as one of the top six most popular singers in the world.
The “Tragic Diva” sang in more than 15 languages. 
She sold more than 170 million albums. 
Directed by Joyce Buñuel. 
Pop, (2005), 
Yaya DaCosta plays Whitney Houston in this biopic made for TV. 
Directed by Angela Bassett.
"Toni Braxton"
The TV movie about the life of the singer Toni Braxton
Special mention:
- “La Mala,” young vocalist Lena Burke gets inspired by Cuban Singer La Lupe (2008), Puerto Rico.
- "Pina," the Oscar nominee documentary based on the work of the German Choreographer Pina Bausch, directed by Wim Wenders (2011), Germany.
- "ABBA: The Movie," a documentary about a DJ that follows the famous Sweden group on tour in Australia. Directed by Robert Caswell and Lassie Hallström (1977), Australia/Sweden.
In the works:
Destiny's Child project. 
Jenni Rivera project.
Celia Cruz project
Rocio Durcal project.
La Lupe project.
Lupe Velez, 3 projects.

World Lead Singers Who Deserve a Movie:
Ailee, South Korea.
Alejandra Guzmán, Rock, Mexico.
Aretha Franklin, Soul, USA. 
Björk, Vocal, Iceland.
Cesaria Evora, Cape Verde.
Chabuca Granda, Afro-Peruvian, Perú.
Coco Lee, Pop, Hong Kong.
Consuelo Velazquez, Bolero, Mexico.
Delia Derbyshire, Electronica, U.K. 
Elis Regina, Bosa Nova, Brazil.
Ella Fitzgerald, Jazz, USA.
En Voge, Rap/Pop, USA. 
Flans, Pop, Mexico.
Karina, Pop, Venezuela.
Lata Mangeshkar, Bollywood, India.
Libertad Lamarque, Tango, Argentina/Mex.
Linda Ronstadt, USA/Mexico.
Liza Minnelli, USA.
Liza Wang, Opera, Hong Kong.
Lola Beltrán, Ranchero, Mexico.
Lolita, Ballads/Flamenco, Spain.
Lucha Villa, Ranchero, Mexico.
Madonna, Pop, USA.
Margarita, Cumbia, Colombia.
María Dolores Pradera, Spain.
Marinella, Greece.
Melina Mercouri, Greece.
Mina, Italy.
Mireille Mathieu, France.
Nacha Guevara, Argentina.
Ninón Sevilla, Rumba, Mexico/Cuba.
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Pakistan.
Patty Smith, Punk, USA.
Raffaella Carrà, Pop, Italy. 
Rosetta Tharpe, Rock, USA.
Sade, Vocal, USA.
Sonia Amelio, castanet player, Mexico.
Sara Gonzales, Cuba.
Sarita Montiel, Spain.
Vera Lynn, Vocal, U.K.
Research by: José Alberto Hermosillo.

Special thanks to:
Julián Hernández, Mexican filmmaker, and music in film specialist;
Eve Holmes, Performer, and Singer, Palm Springs; Vladek Juszkiewicz, Polish Film Festival L.A.; Ozan Aybey, Turkey; Daniel Camargo, Brazil; Antonio Albella, Spain; Masaki Arai, Japan; Michael Villalobos, Los Angeles.


CLICK AT THE END: View web version.


25 Great Foreign Films that Did Not Get Distribution in the US

Images may be subject to copyright.

Copyright © 2018 Festival in LA