MOONLIGHT – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

moonlight-poster I’ve been trying to think about the best way I could advocate for writer-director Barry Jenkins’s luminous and plaintive Moonlight: this is one of those reviews that I feel very keenly that I must get right. That I must do the film justice. That I must sell it in such a way that I convince everyone reading to see it. Because Moonlight isn’t just a good film. It’s not even “just” a great one. It’s perfect in a way that too few films are. Perfect in one of the ways that I appreciate movies most: it puts you right inside a character so that you are irresistibly drawn into his life, that you feel everything he feels and understand almost instinctively who he is. Read more>>

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AWFJ EDA Awards @ IDFA 2016 Filmmaker Interview: Mette Carla Albrechtsen and Lea Glob on VENUS

mettecarla-and-lea-cropped-300x216Danish filmmakers Mette Carla Albrechtsen and Lea Glob explore the subject of young women’s sexuality by setting up an open ‘casting call’ at which they interview the film’s subjects about their sexual experiences and attitudes towards sexuality and their bodies as they develop from adolescence to womanhood. Through this compilation of interviews, the filmmakers contemplate their own attitudes towards sex, and offer the opportunity for women who see the film to do as, as well. Read what they have to say about Venus and filmmaking on THE FEMALE GAZE

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TROLLS — Review by Susan Granger

Back in 1959, a Danish woodcutter named Thomas Dam came up with the idea of a Good Luck Troll doll. As the story goes, he couldn’t afford to buy a doll for his young daughter, so he carved one. It became so popular among her friends that Dam became a toymaker, founding Dam Things, producing Trolls in soft plastic with colorful, cotton-candy hair. In 2003, the Toy Industry Assoc. elevated the squat, fuzzy Troll to its Century of Toys list, and now DreamWorks Animation has created a musical comedy about the search for happiness – and just how far some will go to get it. Read on…

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AWFJ EDA Awards @ IDFA 2016 Filmmaker Interview: Lucija Stojevic on LA CHANA

lucija-stojevic-smallLucija Stojevic’s La Chana profiles the career and artistry of Antonia Santiago Amador, the hugely popular flamenco dancer, revered by dance afficiandos for her passionate spirit and extraordinary footwork. Her career peaked during the late 1960s, before she inexplicably vanished from the dance world and celebrity. Stojevic delves into Amador’s complex personality by intertwining spectacular footage of her emotional performances with current footage of her quiet live in Barcelona, coaching talented young dancers and preparing a comeback recital — and revealing, for the first time, why she stepped out of the spotlight at the height of her career. La Chana is nominated for the IDFA 2016 AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Film. Read Lucija Stojevic’s comments about La Chana on THE FEMALE GAZE.

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SHUT IN — Review by Susan Granger

This wannabe thriller begins in rural Maine as Mary Portman (Naomi Watts) bids farewell to her incorrigible teenage stepson, Stephen (Charlie Heaton), who is being banished to a boarding school. En route, as Stephen scuffles with his father, a horrific car crash ensues. The father dies and Stephen emerges totally paralyzed and catatonic. Now-widowed Mary, who works out of her home as a child psychologist, becomes Stephen’s sole caregiver. By nature, she’s a nurturer, so it’s not surprising that she becomes attached to Tom (Jacob Tremblay from “Room”), a deaf youngster who has become violent with his playmates. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, November 14 – November 18: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

fantastic-beasts-poster“The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters.” – Antonio Gramsci’s famous phrase has been making its way around the internet at the moment. If anyone knows a thing or two about beasts and monsters, it is author J.K. Rowling. Way back in June, Ms. Rowling wrote a rather interesting and timely essay. Read on….

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AWFJ EDA Awards @ IDFA 2016 Filmmaker Interview: Elvira Diaz on EL PATIO

elvira-diazFilmmaker Elvira Diaz was born in 1975 in France, after her father fled from Chile as a political refugee. El Patio is her third documentary about the consequences of Pinochet’s dictatorship on witnesses and victims’ lives. In the film, she follows aging gravediggers as they reveal, for the first time, their haunting memories of surreptitiously burying ‘disappeared persons’ during the dark days of the Pinochet regime. The film is nominated for the IDFA 2016 AWFJ EDA Award of 2,500 Euros. Read Diaz’s comments about making the film on THE FEMALE GAZE

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ARRIVAL — Review by Susan Granger

Denis Villenueve’s “Arrival” is an exciting, provocative, intellectually stimulating sci-fi thriller! Combining the wonderment of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” and Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” while jettisoning the perception of linear time, it’s about Earth’s first contact with an alien civilization. When 12 mysterious spacecraft touch down around the globe, renowned linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is summoned by Col. Weber (Forest Whitaker) to try to decipher their intergalactic intentions. Read on…

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ARRIVAL – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

arrivalposter Gravity in October 2013. Interstellar in November 2014. The Martian in October 2015. And Arrival right now. Is autumn Hollywood’s new go-to time for intelligent, intense, grownup science fiction drama? It looks like. It’s a shame we appear to have only one slot for such a film each year, but, you know, baby steps. Arrival is a wonder, a beautiful movie that will thrill fans of real science fiction, of the literature of paradigm-busting ideas, as well as those who may have been turned off the genre because of the shallow way in which cinema too often uses it. Because this is a science fiction movie that does what SF does best: it asks us to consider what it means to be human. Read more>>

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AWFJ EDA Awards @ IDFA 2016 Filmmaker Interview: Alice Schmid on THE GIRL DOWN LOCH ANZI

alice-schmid-headshotAlice Schmid, filmmaker and novelist, tells stories from around the globe, mostly focusing on children. The Girl Down Lock Anzi, nominated for the IDFA 2016 AWFJ EDA Award, is set in rural Switzerland, where 12- year-old Laura is fascinated by and works up the courage to explore a legend about a maiden who is supposedly imprisoned in caves close to her family’s farm. The film is nominated for the IDFA 2016 AWFJ EDA Award of 2,500 Euros. Alice Schmid comments about making the film and filmmaking on THE FEMALE GAZE

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