Opening May 31 to June 6, 2021- Margaret Barton-Fumo reports

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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 31 to June 6 that are of particular interest:  

Tuesday, June 1  

  • Bullied – (VOD) – Australia – Debut feature written and directed by Angela How. Australian drama tackling bullying that also addresses the rise in Asian hate crime in the west while focusing on female talent in front of and behind the camera.
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  • Changing the Game – (Hulu) – USA – Documentary in which transgender high school athletes from across the country compete at the top of their fields, while also challenging the boundaries and perceptions of fairness and discrimination.
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  • It’s Not a Burden: The Humor and Heartache of Raising Elderly Parents – Gravitas Ventures (VOD) – USA – Documentary written and directed by Michelle Boyaner. An intimate, humorous, heartfelt journey into the stories of adult children navigating the challenges and joys of caring for their aging parents.
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  • Julia Scotti: Funny That Way – 1091 Pictures (VOD) – USA – Documentary about trans comedian Julia Scotti as she makes her comeback. Directed by Susan Sandler.
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  • The Sound of Identity – Shout! Studios (VOD) – USA – Documentary. In the spotlight of global media coverage, the first transgender woman ever to perform as Don Giovanni in a professional opera, makes her historic debut in one of the reddest states in the U.S.

Wednesday, June 2  

  • Kala azar – Mubi – Netherlands / Greece – Drama written and directed by Janis Rafailidou. Kala azar describes a place that cannot sustain animal life any longer. In a big city somewhere in the south of Europe, a couple takes care of dead animals and abandoned roadkill as an act to give meaning to their life.

Thursday, June 3 

  • Dancing Queens – Netflix – Sweden – Swedish dramedy co-written and directed by Helena Bergstrom. The story of Dylan Pettersson, a 23-year-old girl from a small island in the Swedish archipelago with big dancing aspirations.
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  • Night of the Kings – Neon (Hulu) – Fance / Côte d’Ivoire / Canada / Senegal – Drama written and directed by Philippe Lacôte. Official Oscar submission of the Ivory Coast. A young man is sent to “La Maca,” an Ivory Coast prison located in the middle of the forest, ruled by its prisoners. With the red moon rising, the boy is designated by the Boss to be the new “Roman” and must tell a story to the other prisoners.
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  • Tove – Juno Films (Cinemas) – Finland / Sweden – Finnish biography / drama that centers on the life of Tove Jansson, showing both her personal relationships and the creation of the popular Moomin books. Co-written by Eeva Putro and directed by Zaida Bergroth.

Friday, June 4 

  • All Light, Everywhere – Super LTD (Cinemas) – USA – Documentary directed by Theo Anthony (Rat Film). A far-ranging look at the biases in how we see things, focusing on the use of police body cameras. 
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  • Slow Machine – Grasshopper Film (Cinemas, virtual cinemas: Projectr) – USA – Experimental thriller starring Stephanie Hayes, Chloe Sevigny, Eleanor Friedberger. After her relationship with intelligence agent Gerard ends terribly, tired and disillusioned actress Stephanie hides in a house where a band is working on a record, which proves to be less of an escape than she imagined.
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  • Spirit Untamed – Universal Pictures (Cinemas) – USA – Animated film co-directed by Elaine Bogan and Ennio Torresan. Lucky Prescott’s life is changed forever when she moves from her home in the city to a small frontier town and befriends a wild mustang named Spirit.
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  • Trippin’ with the Kandasamys – Netflix – South Africa – South African Indian romantic comedy co-written and directed by Jayan Moodley. To rekindle their marriages, best friends-turned-in-laws Shanthi and Jennifer plan a couples’ getaway that comes with all kinds of surprises.
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  • Undine – IFC Films (Cinemas, VOD) – Germany / France – German drama written and directed by Christian Petzold (Phoenix, Transit). An industrial diver falls in love with a historian who may be a mermaid.

Film descriptions are adapted from press releases. Highighted titles link to full reviews. 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.