Most Notable Movie: White Material (2009)

Denis' signature strength lies in her ability to combine a country's history with her own personal history. The French auteur grew up in West Africa and it remains one of the strongest themes of her films, which often deal with colonialism and post-colonialism. Her debut feature film, Chocolat, which deals with African colonialism, was praised by critics as an astounding first film at the Cannes Film Festival.

In the case of her other films, like U.S. Go Home and Beau Travail, she's been lauded for her skill of blending the lyricism of French cinema while still capturing the harsh reality of contemporary France. 

However, what truly makes her a great filmmaker is that her filmography is never confined to one genre. One minute she can make you feel the most disturbed you've ever felt in your life (with the horror in Trouble Every Day), the next she can make you bawl your eyes out (with the romantic drama Friday Night).