Opening September 13 to 19, 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 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 September 20 to 26 that are of particular interest:  

Monday, September 20  

  • Aileen Wuornos: American Boogeywoman – Dark Star Pictures (Cinemas; VOD release October 8) – USA – Thriller starring Peyton List, based on Aileen Wuornos’s early life before she became America’s most notorious female serial killer.

Tuesday, September 21  

  • The Center: Gibbons and Guardians – Gravitas Ventures (VOD) – USA – Documentary. The sometimes funny, sometimes startling story of the Gibbon Conservation Center, featuring interviews with a number of the leading women who tirelessly champion these charming apes globally, including Dr. Jane Goodall.

  • Tethered – Gravitas Ventures (VOD) – USA – A sci-fi mystery set in the present day, starring Caroline Harris as detective Sam Morris, who takes on a missing-persons case that puts her own personal world into upheaval.

Wednesday, September 22 

  • Intrusion – Netflix – USA – Thriller starring Freida Pinto. A woman moves to a small town with her husband, but is rattled when she is targeted for a home invasion.

Friday, September 24 

  • Aware: Glimpses of Consciousness – Area23a (Cinemas: LA + SF Premiere) – Germany – Documentary co-written and directed by Eric Black and Frauke Sandig. The film presents some of the world’s most brilliant researchers approaching consciousness – each from radically different perspectives.

  • Birds of Paradise – Amazon Studios (Cinemas, VOD) – USA – Drama written and directed by Sarah Adina Smith. Two girls at an elite Parisian ballet academy have their bond and bodies tested as they compete for a contract to join the company of the Opéra national de Paris.

  • East of the Mountains – Quiver Distribution (Cinemas, VOD) – USA – Drama directed by S.J. Chiro, starring Tom Skerritt. When retired heart surgeon Ben Givens learns that he has terminal cancer, he takes his beloved dog back to his boyhood home in Eastern Washington, determined to end his life on his own terms.

  • El Planeta – Utopia (NY Theatrical Premiere; nationwide release October 8) – USA – Comedy written, directed by and co-starring Amalia Ulman. Amidst the devastation of post-crisis Spain, mother and daughter bluff and grift to keep up the lifestyle they think they deserve, bonding over common tragedy and an impending eviction.

  • I’m Your Man – Bleecker Street (Cinemas) – Germany – Romantic comedy directed by Maria Schrader, starring Jan Schomburg, Dan Stevens and Sandra Huller. In order to obtain research funds for her studies, a scientist accepts an offer to participate in an extraordinary experiment: for three weeks, she is to live with a humanoid robot, created to make her happy.

  • The Most Beautiful Boy in the World – Juno Films (Cinemas) – Sweden – Documentary co-written and directed by Kristina Lindström and Kristian Petri. In 1971, due to the world premiere of Death in Venice, Italian director Lucino Visconti proclaimed his Tadzio as the world’s most beautiful boy. 50 years later, that shadow still weighs upon Björn Andresen’s life.

  • The Starling – Netflix – USA – Dramedy starring Melissa McCarthy. After Lilly suffers a loss, a combative starling takes nest beside her quiet home. The feisty bird taunts and attacks the grief-stricken Lilly. On her journey to expel the starling, she rediscovers her will to live and capacity for love.

  • Through the Glass Darkly – Blue Fox Entertainment (Cinemas, VOD) – USA – Thriller directed by Lauren Fash, co-written by Fash and Susan Graham. A year after Charlie’s daughter disappears, another girl from Elrod goes missing. Convinced there is a connection, Charlie draws suspicion and contempt from local law enforcement and townspeople as she stops at nothing to expose its most devastating and darkest secret. Starring Robyn Lively.

Film descriptions are adapted from press releases. Titles highlighted in red have links 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

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.