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. Our members are feature writers, columnists and regular contributors to a variety of media outlets and many of us publish regularly on the festival circuit. 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. Below is a concise list of new releases set for the week of April 12 to 18 that are of particular interest:
Thursday, April 15
- Ride or Die – Netflix – Japan – Japanese romance/thriller based on a female-written manga. Rei is a lesbian in her 20s who, upon learning that her former classmate Nanae is suffering brutal domestic violence from her husband, decides to kill him to show her love for Nanae.
Friday, April 16
- Beate – Corinth Films (Cinemas) – Italy – Italian comedy set in the Northeast, partially inspired by true stories. When the employees of a lingerie factory discover they’re to be fired, they take matters into their own hands and borrow equipment to produce their own garment line. Encouraged by their plucky forewoman, they join forces with the nuns of a nearby convent for a surprising collaboration: a line of sexy lingerie.
- Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts – Kino Lorber (NY+LA, Virtual Cinemas) – USA – Documentary capturing the vivid life of Bill Traylor, who in his late 80s, living homeless on the street in the thriving segregated black neighborhood of Montgomery, produced a body of extraordinary art.
- Gunda – Neon (Virtual Cinemas) – Norway, USA – Documentary about the daily life of a pig and its farm animal companions: two cows and a one-legged chicken. Shot in black-and-white and without dialogue.
- Hope – KimStim (Virtual Cinemas) – Norway, Sweden, Denmark – Drama/romance about the relationship between artist-partners Tomas and Anja, put to the test after Anja gets a life-threatening diagnosis. Starring Andrea Bræin Hovig and Stellan Skarsgård. Norway’s official selection for the 2021 Academy Awards.
- Jakob’s Wife – RLJE/Shudder (Cinemas, Shudder) – USA – Horror film starring scream queen Barbara Crampton as the disgruntled wife of a small-town minister (Larry Fessenden). After a chance encounter with “The Master” (Bonnie Aarons), she discovers a new power and an appetite to live bigger and bolder than before.
- Reefa – Vertical Entertainment (VOD) – Drama written and directed by Jessica Kavana Dornbusch. Based on a true story of a 2013 police confrontation. Israel “Reefa” Hernandez Jr, an 18-year-old Colombian immigrant and talented artist, is spending his last summer in Miami with friends, family and his new girl Frankie when a fatal encounter with a police officer leaves his family and friends devastated, the Miami community outraged, and the country reeling from another case of police brutality.
- Wander – Saban Fims (Amazon Prime) – Canada, USA – Action/drama directed by April Mullen, starring Aaron Eckhart and Tommy Lee Jones. After getting hired to probe a suspicious death in the small town of Wander, a mentally unstable private investigator becomes convinced the case is linked to the same ‘conspiracy cover up’ that caused the death of his daughter..
- We Broke Up – Vertical Entertainment (VOD) – USA – Romantic comedy starring Aya Cash and William Jackson Harper as Lori and Doug, a longtime couple who break up before Lori’s sister’s wedding but decide to pretend they’re still together until the weekend is over. Co-written by Laura Jacqmin.
Film descriptions are adapted from press releases. Stay tuned in for next week’s releases! Contact us if we’ve overlooked anything.