Olivier Assayas (Personal Shopper, Clean, Clouds of Sils Maria, Summer Hours) is a fascinating filmmaker. This French auteur is comfortable making any kind of movie: Ghost stories, thrillers, period films, dramas — you name it, he can do it. And one of the most remarkable aspects in each of his movies is that, no matter what genre he chooses, Assayas undermines the rampant machismo of the film industry, shifting it into something more feminine and rich. In many of his films the story focuses on a female leading character; not only that, but these women are always complex, interesting, and real. They are simultaneously strong and disoriented: They feel lost and they are always looking for something. Maybe that's why, when it comes to Assayas’ filmography, it's easy to find the recurring image of a woman in movement — whether on foot, by train, or by motorcycle. Sometimes they possess a clear goal, and other times they are wandering without knowing exactly where they are going. Along with some amazing actresses, like Virginie Ledoyen, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Maggie Cheung, Juliette Binoche, and Kristen Stewart, Assayas has made some of the most moving female portraits of recent cinema.

Watch Now: Clean by Olivier Assayas.

Now that you’ve seen the video and have experienced firsthand how amazing actresses like Kristen Stewart and Maggie Cheung own the screen, check out these entries in our ongoing series, Women in Film: Ava DuVernay, Greta Gerwig, and Jane Campion.