Opening May 11 to 16, 2021 – Margaret Barton-Fumo previews

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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 May 10 to 16 that are of particular interest:  

Tuesday, May 11  

  • Specialish – Self-Distributed (VOD) – USA – Documentary directed by and starring Jessica Watkins, a struggling standup comedian who decides to jump start her career by walking across the United States.
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  • Together Together – Bleecker Street Media (VOD)- USA – Romantic comedy written and directed by Nikole Beckwith. A 40-year-old man hires a young woman to be a gestational surrogate and their relationship challenges their perception of love. Starring Patti Harrison, Ed Helms and Rosalind Chao.
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  • What Lies West – Self-Distributed (VOD) – USA – Drama written and directed by Jessica Ellis. A reluctant babysitter and her defensive teenage charge unexpectedly bond over their mutual love of hiking.

Wednesday, May 12  

  • Dance of the 41 – Netflix – Mexico / Brazil – Historical drama written by Monika Revilla about Ignacio de la Torre, who married the daughter of the president of Mexico in the late 19th century. Ignacio led a double life: he thrived in the traditional world of politics while being a member of a clandestine society of queer men.
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  • Oxygen – Netflix – France / USA – French sci-fi drama directed by Alexandre Aja, starring Mélanie Laurent as a woman who wakes in a cryogenic chamber with no recollection of how she got there, and must find a way out before running out of air. Also starring Mathieu Almharic. Written by Christie LeBlanc.
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  • Knots: A Forced Marriage Story – Self-Distributed (Cinemas: LA Premiere) – USA – Documentary written and directed by Kate Ryan Brewer that explores the sinister truth about forced marriage in the United States through the harrowing experiences of those who have survived it.

Friday, May 14  

  • Los Hermanos / The Brothers – First Run Features (Cinemas+Virtual Cinemas) – USA – Documentary co-directed by Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider about the virtuoso musician brothers Ilmar and Aldo who live parallel lives in New York and Havana.
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  • The Perfect Candidate – Music Box Films (Cinemas) – Saudia Arabia / Germany – Co-written and directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour (Wadjda, Mary Shelley). A determined young Saudi doctor’s surprise run for office in the local city elections sweeps up her family and community as they struggle to accept their town’s first female candidate.
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  • Those Who Wish Me Dead – New Line Cinemas / HBO Max (Cinemas, HBO Max) – Canada / USA – Action / thriller starring Angelina Jolie and Nicolas Hoult. A teenage murder witness finds himself pursued by twin assassins in the Montana wilderness with a survival expert tasked with protecting him — and a forest fire threatening to consume them all.
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  • Us Kids – Greenwich Entertainment (Cinemas, VOD) – USA – Documentary directed by Kim A. Snyder. Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida speak out against the national gun violence epidemic after a mass shooting at their school kills 17 people.
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  • The Woman in the Window – Netflix – USA – Mystery / drama directed by Joe Wright starring Amy Adams as an agoraphobic woman living alone in New York who begins spying on her new neighbors, only to witness a disturbing act of violence.

Sunday, May 16  

  • Honesty Weekend – Vision Films (Amazon Prime) – USA – Comedy written and directed by debut filmmaker Leslie Anne Thomas. An ensemble relationship comedy about a young couple whose marriage is in crisis.

Film descriptions are adapted from press releases. Stay tuned in for next week’s releases! Contact us if we’ve overlooked anything.

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Margaret Barton-Fumo

Margaret Barton-Fumo

Based in New York, Margaret Barton-Fumo has contributed to Film Comment since 2006. Her monthly online column, “Deep Cuts,” focused on the intersection of film and music. She has interviewed such directors, actors, and musicians as Brian De Palma, James Gray, Harry Dean Stanton, and Paul Williams, and has additionally contributed to Senses of Cinema and Stop Smiling. She is the editor of Paul Verhoeven: Interviews, published by the University Press of Mississippi.