SPOTLIGHT   

LIZ WHITTEMORE helms ReelNewsDaily.com, hosts Girls On Film Podcast, blogs horror at I SCREAM YOU SCREAM, serves as a member of Team #MOTW and as an AWFJ Board Member.

  Female Film Critics 24/365  Recent Blog Posts

MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 5, 2021: THE ORPHANAGE

Filmed with an intimate realism that feels as authentic as any documentary, Shahrbanoo Sadat’s The Orphanage is a compelling drama about life in Afghanistan in the late 1980s, near the end of the country’s Soviet era. Like Sadat’s first feature, Wolf and Sheep, it’s based on the unpublished diaries of Anwar Hashimi, and it offers a closely observed portrait of real teen life in this specific time and place.

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SPOTLGHT March 2021: Alice Guy-Blaché, Pioneering Filmmaker, Studio Founder and Iconic Cinema Influencer

Women’s History Month is the perfect time to shine a spotlight on Alice Guy-Blaché, the French pioneer filmmaker whose work introduced narrative fiction films to early cinema. She is credited for being first woman to direct a film. And, from 1896 to 1906, while she was most likely the only female filmmaker at work worldwide, she most certainly pushed the envelope on cinema aesthetics, technology and social relevance by working with color tinting and special effects, utilizing Gaumont’s Chronophone sync-sound system, casting women as leading characters and casting interracially.

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Releasing March 1 to 5, 2021 – Margaret Barton-Fumo previews

AWFJ 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. Our critical voices are widespread and diverse. We invite you to join us in tracking weekly releases of particular interest. And we welcome information about new films that will help us to keep our records updated and our critics alert.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Regina King to Portray Shirley Chisholm – Brandy McDonnell reports

Even as she’s building Oscar buzz for her directorial debut One Night in Miami, Regina King is lining up another big starring role in front of the camera. The Academy Award-winning performer (If Beale Street Could Talk) will portray trailblazing politician Shirley Chisholm — America’s first Black congresswoman — in the upcoming biopic Shirley. The film will be produced by Participant and is expected to begin production later this year.

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Women’s History Month Watch List: REAL REEL WOMEN

Throughout cinema history, films by and about women have enthralled audiences, accrued awards and honors worldwide and scored at the box office while influencing out social social mores and enriching our cultural conversation. Although some Hollywood honchos and haters assert that female-centric movies are less likely to be commercial successes, our list proves them wrong. Movies that tell women’s stories have legs. Released to celebrate Women’s History Month, AWFJ’s REAL REEL WOMEN List is an annotated roster of 50 fascinating real women whose remarkable true stories have been told in narrative features since the earliest days of moviemaking.

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THE UNITED STATES VS BILLIE HOLIDAY – Review by Liz Braun

There was a lot of pain and conflict in Billie Holiday’s short life, all of it right there in the music. That music is the saving grace of The United States vs. Billie Holiday, a new biopic about the legendary jazz singer that stars Andra Day and is directed by Lee Daniels, with a screenplay by Suzan-Lori Parks. It’s an uneven and often melodramatic undertaking, suffering from what looks like an inability to leave anything out. The United States vs. Billie Holiday won’t tell you anything new about Billie Holiday but it functions as lovely window dressing for Andra Day’s extraordinary singing talent.

It’s an uneven and often melodramatic undertaking, suffering from what looks like an inability to leave anything out

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SUPERNOVA – Review by Lois Alter Mark

“You’re not supposed to mourn someone while they’re still alive,” says Tusker (Stanley Tucci) in Supernova, a quietly powerful movie in which he and his longtime partner, Sam (Colin Firth), are doing just that. Tusker is suffering from early onset dementia and they both know that he doesn’t have long to remain himself. There’s a tenderness to their love that is so rare in movies – especially between two men – and it is a joy to watch. In fact, the world would probably be a better place if more moviemakers featured male characters with this depth of emotional intelligence.

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HOPE – Review by Loren King

It takes remarkable insight and confidence to create a devastating portrait of a marriage inside a film about a woman facing her own mortality. That’s what writer/director Maria Sødahl does with searing Hope, Norway’s entry for this year’s Best International Feature Film Oscar. The film is so specific in its truthfulness that it isn’t a surprise to learn that it’s based on Sødahl’s own experience of a terminal cancer diagnosis that led to a nine-year hiatus from filmmaking. Of course, personal experience doesn’t always translate into art but in this case, it does.

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KEEP AN EYE OUT – Review by Diane Carson

Experiencing the wildly inventive world of writer/director Quentin Dupieux’s Au poste!, translated as Keep an Eye Out, I had to abandon anticipated conventions of film comedy. And yet, laughing out loud, I happily embraced Dupieux’s surreal absurdity and creative storytelling produced on a miniscule $624,000 budget, set primarily in Chief Inspector Buron’s cluttered office, with only three main characters.

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THE PEOPLE VS AGENT ORANGE – Review by Rachel West

Presented through filmed interviews and archival footage, Adelson and Taverna give insider access in not just the current battle raging on, but the years the mostly women-led campaigns have dedicated to the cause. At times, the documentary plays out like a Hollywood spy thriller, noting shady business practices, government cover-ups, thinly-veiled threats against the families of activists, guerrilla tactics, theft, and surveillance are all happening on American soil outside the court system.

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