MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 21, 2022: STOP-ZEMLIA

Named after an Eastern European version of the game of tag, the title of Kateryna Gornostai’s raw, naturalistic drama Stop-Zemlia translates to “stop the world” — a fitting phrase for a movie that’s all about the angst and emotional intensity of being a teenager. It’s set in Ukraine, but it could be the story of almost any teen equipped with a smartphone, social media, and the anxiety that comes along with living in the modern world.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 14, 2022 – WHO WE ARE: A CHRONICLE OF RACISM IN AMERICA

Once more, for those in the back: The United States is a racist country. As lawyer Jeffrey Robinson, the deputy legal director and director of the Trone Center for Justice & Equality at the ACLU, clearly and eloquently reminds viewers in Sarah Kunstler and Emily Kunstler’s must-see documentary Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America, the U.S. was founded by White men who enslaved Black people, and that legacy has had an impact on everything that has come since.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 7, 2022: The Best #MOTWs of 2021

Team #MOTW looks back at the films we featured during 2021 and highlights our favorites. There are many things about 2021 that we want to forget, but these femme-helmed/femme centric films that brought inspiration, understanding, compassion, and respite replete with laughter are not among them — and they must not slip into oblivion. Add them to your watch list. Share the titles with friends. Enjoy all of AWFJ’s Best #MOTWs of 2021.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 31, 2021: THE VELVET QUEEN

Introspective and breathtakingly beautiful, Marie Amiguet and Vincent Munier’s documentary The Velvet Queen is about much more than tracking down the elusive snow leopard — although the quest to film that majestic beast is central to the story. In capturing the musings of Munier, an award-winning wildlife photographer, and novelist Sylvain Tesson as they pursue the leopard in the mountains of Tibet, the film offers insight into the power of patience, resilience, and determination.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 24, 2021: PARALLEL MOTHERS

Pedro Almodovar is no stranger to telling compelling stories about complex women, from Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown to All About My Mother to Volver and more. His streak continues with Parallel Mothers, an emotional drama about connection, coincidence, and the ties that bind us. Penelope Cruz and Milena Smit star as two women whose lives are irrevocably entwined after they give birth in the same hospital on the same day.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 17: THE LOST DAUGHTER

A meditation on the tension between motherhood and personal identity, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s feature directorial debut The Lost Daughter — adapted from Elena Ferrante’s same-named novel — is frank in its admission that, for all of its rewards, parenting can be a pretty rough gig. No one knows that more than Leda (Olivia Colman, in a stellar performance), whose life choices come back to haunt her during what’s intended to be a relaxing Greek vacation.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 10. 2021: THE UNFORGIVABLE

Based on the virtually same-named 2009 British miniseries, director Nora Fingscheidt’s somber drama The Unforgivable stars Sandra Bullock as Ruth Slater, a woman released from prison after serving a 20-year sentence for murder. As she tries to find the younger sister she had to leave behind so long ago, Ruth discovers that life on the outside is full of pain and pitfalls, as well as occasional moments of empathy and hope.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 3, 2021: THE POWER OF THE DOG

It has been 12 years since film titan Jane Campion released a feature film. Now, with The Power of the Dog, the New Zealand director shows she has lost not a step. Her adaptation of Thomas Savage’s 1967 Western novel offers the vivid landscapes and hothouse emotions reminiscent of the film that put her on the world map, The Piano (1993). A piano even serves as an important plot point.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK Nov 26, 2021: WRITING WITH FIRE

Feminism meets the fourth estate in Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas‘ powerful documentary Writing With Fire. As it tells the story of Khabar Lahariya, India’s only female-run news outlet, it both examines the media’s critical role in supporting democracy and celebrates the women who won’t let anything get in the way of telling the truth. Armed with smartphones and determination, they shed light on those whose stories are far too often kept hidden in the dark.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 19, 2021: LADY BUDS

By turns idealistic and realistic, hopeful and frustrating, Chris J. Russo’s documentary Lady Buds is an engaging look at the budding (pun intended) legal marijuana business and a few of the determined, persevering, independent women who see opportunities for themselves and their friends/family members amid the cannabis plants’ verdant green leaves. As it tells their stories, it explores the impact that legalization has had on small businesses as large corporations swoop in on a new market.

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