QUEEN & SLIM – Review by Leslie Combemale

Whoever you are, as an audience member Queen & Slim flows through you from the screen like music you’ve rarely heard played out loud. Visceral. Transcendent. Haunting…The film is all these things and more. To call this a ‘black Bonnie and Clyde’ is reductive and doesn’t do justice to the depth of the film.

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PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE – Review by Leslie Combemale

If there is such a genre as ‘Mystical Femme,’ and there really should be, French writer/director Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire belongs in it, placed at the top. Winner of the Queer Palm and Best Screenplay at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, the film features magnetic lead actresses whose chemistry with each other is off the charts.

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SHOOTING THE MOB – Review by Leslie Combemale

Battaglia had a fearlessness that is powerfully feminist, and the viewers experience her complicated perspective as an Italian woman with a passion for her work. We are drawn into her conflicted feelings about a subject matter that, at its core, expresses violence, cruelty. and pain. Shooting the Mafia is imperfect, but it shines a light on a complicated woman and truly compelling artist.

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Mati Diop talks Patriarchy, Ghosts and ATLANTICS – Leslie Combemale interviews

With her new film Atlantics, writer/director Mati Diop has the distinction of not only being the first woman of color to have a film accepted into competition at the Cannes Film Festival, she is also the first to win the Grand Prix. In the film, a group of Senegalese construction workers in Dakar have been denied months of pay. Mati Diop was present at the Middleburg Film Festival, where we discussed the origin of the film’s story and character, as well as some of its powerful messages.

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SAUDI WOMEN’S DRIVING SCHOOL – Review by Leslie Combemale

director Erica Gornall’s new documentary Saudi Women’s Driving School examines the changes in the lives of women in Saudi Arabia resulting from a lift of the driving ban. As of June 24th, 2018, women could apply for licenses. Before that day, the country had been the only one in the world in which women were forbidden to drive motor vehicles.

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DOWNTON ABBEY – Review by Leslie Combemale

You don’t really know the fans of Downton Abbey until you sit in a darkened theater as the first strains of the theme song start playing, to a bust of applause, and even a few gasps. Thus begins the feature film that feels like its only raison d’etre is to tie all the storylines and character arcs into big, flouncy bows, of the kind one sees on the back of a bejeweled 20s-era frock.

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RIOT GIRLS – Review by Leslie Combemale

Imagine a post-apocalyptic Stand By Me where queer girls rule and save the day, and you have a vague idea of the aesthetic of the Canadian uber-indie thriller Riot Girls. The film is filled with up-and-coming female filmmakers, including director Jovanka Vuckovic, writer Katherine Collins, producer Lauren Grant, and a host of other below-the-line artists, including cinematographer Celiana Cardenas, production designer Jennifer Morden, and editor Maureen Grant.

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Kim Farrant on acting, emotional health and ANGEL OF MINE – Leslie Combemale interviews

Kim Farrant’sAngel of Mine is an intense thriller about a woman whose tenuous emotional health is jeopardized when she encounters a girl she believes to be her daughter, whom she thought died in a fire years before. Farrant worked with the actors on expressing the enormity of grief and the power of healing in this gripping film with a big surprise ending.

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