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MOVIE OF THE WEEK Sept 30, 2022: MONA LISA AND THE BLOOD MOON

To the pulsing beat of an EDM soundtrack, a young woman desperate for agency and connection makes her way through the chaotic streets of New Orleans in Ana Lily Amirpour’s compelling Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon. The fact that she’s just escaped from the asylum where she’s been kept under lock and key for years due to her ability to control others with her mind means that she should play it safe — but it turns out that safe is not her strong suit.

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Opening Sept 26 – Oct 2, 2022 – Margaret Barton-Fumo reports

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists highlights movies made by and about women. With a vigilant eye toward current releases, we maintain an interactive record of films that are pertinent to our interests. Be they female-made or female-centric productions, they are films that represent a wide range of women’s stories and present complex female characters. As such, they are movies that will most likely be reviewed on AWFJ.org and will qualify for consideration for our annual EDA Awards, celebrating exceptional women working in film behind and in front of the camera.

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AWFJ Presents: THE WHITE KING – Review by Lonita Cook

Frequently when we try to create perfection, something gruesome emerges instead. Unyielding, unforgiving. This is certainly the dystopian nature of the fictitious Homeland where Djata and his mother, Hannah, reside as outcasts after Djata’s father, Peter, is taken as a traitorous prisoner, punished for speaking out. This fairytale isn’t about the bullying fist of a shadowed government and a lean sense of personal autonomy but rather the lifting haze over a child’s consciousness as the authority of their parent’s word wears off. Djata is okay with the way of the world until his mother transforms from a mythological god in his eyes to a mere mortal who lies.

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INHOSPITABLE – Review by Liz Braun

InHospitable is an indictment of the U.S. health care system, specifically the mega-hospitals disguised as non-profit organizations. It should be said that it may have been a mistake to let a (full disclosure) Canadian review this film, because to those of us accustomed to a very different medical system, InHospitable plays more like a horror movie than a documentary. The film focusses on a David and Goliath battle that played out in Pennsylvania over the ruthlessness of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre (UPMC), a behemoth that was prepared to cut off care for hundreds of thousands of people. Director Sandra C. Alvarez tells the tale of what’s at stake in in the UPMC debacle through the stories of individual medical patients, immediately getting a viewer emotionally engaged.

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VESPER – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

With a story as immersive as its lived-in world, the sci-fi adventure Vesper grabs the heart and the imagination. It unfurls ideas about ecology and social responsibility as gently and unobtrusively as those tendrils, with images and ideas that linger. It also features an engaging 13-year-old protagonist, curious about her world and wanting to make a better one.

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RESERVATION DOGS – Review by Diane Carson

Teenage driven narratives stretch back to earliest films and television dramas. But, to its immense credit, the two season series Reservation Dogs breaks new, extraordinary ground. Set on an Oklahoma Indian reservation, and there are many in Oklahoma, we’ll learn four young men and women face what they consider bleak futures on the rez and envision better lives elsewhere. Typical, eh? But several unique elements elevate and recommend Reservation Dogs above what certainly could be formulaic struggles.

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THE GOOD HOUSE – Review by April Neale

Sometimes, the illusion of having it all together is an art in survivor subterfuge, especially when you are a kingfisher in a small Massachusetts coastal town where the prime properties are the big catch. The Good House is a bittersweet dramedy starring Sigourney Weaver as Hildy Good, a well-educated local New England real estate agent whose story shows us how the ignored loose ends of our lives can be the undoing of the fabric that holds us together, and that the value of old and real friendships that stand the test of time is a priceless commodity to preserve at all costs.

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ART & KRIMES BY KRIMES – Review by Carol Cling

Focusing on the life, times — and crimes — of artist Jesse Krimes, this award-winning documentary offers a compelling portrait of the artist as a young man, delving into how and why art helps artists discover not only their artistry but themselves. Krimes’ recollects his “train wreck” youth, which culminated in losing a college art scholarship — and being convicted of selling cocaine, ultimately landing him in federal prison. For Krimes, incarceration leads to a true artistic breakthrough. After experiencing Krimes’ journey, chances are you’ll understand how this artist’s mind works — and appreciate the opportunity to do so.

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PINOCCHIO – Review by Susan Granger

If you have young children, they’ll probably enjoy Robert Zemeckis’ live-action/animation reboot of Pinocchio, starring Tom Hanks and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. This timeless tale opens with Jiminy Cricket (Gordon-Levitt) singing “When You Wish Upon a Star,” which was first introduced in the 1940 cartoon. After fashioning a boy marionette made of pine, the lonely, widowed woodcarver Geppetto (Tom Hanks) makes a heartfelt wish for a ‘real’ son.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Chinonye Chukwu’s TILL premieres at NYFF opening weekend Brandy McDonnell reports

Chinonye Chukwu’s anticipated feature film Till will have its world premiere at the 60th New York Film Festival on opening weekend.
The 60th New York Film Festival, presented by Film at Lincoln Center, will take place Sept. 30-Oct. 16. Till” tells the true story of Mamie Till Mobley’s relentless pursuit of justice for her 14-year-old son Emmett Till. In 1955, Emmett was lynched while visiting his cousins in Mississippi. In Mamie’s poignant journey of grief turned to action, audiences will witness the universal power of a mother’s courage and its ability to change the world.

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