Opening October 4 to 10, 2021- Margaret Barton-Fumo reports
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 October 4 to 10 that are of particular interest:
Monday, October 4
- Fruits of Labor – PBS POV (TV) – USA – Documentary. Debut feature from director / writer Emily Cohen. Subject Ashley Solis is a high school senior who must divide her time between school and supporting her family as a second-generation Mexican American.
Wednesday, October 6
- V/H/S/94 – Shudder – USA / Indonesia – Anthology horror film that includes segments directed by Chloe Okuno and Jennifer Reeder.
Friday, October 8
- Ascension – MTV Documentary Films (Cinemas) – China – Documentary directed by Jessica Kingdon that explores the pursuit of the “Chinese Dream.” This observational documentary presents a contemporary vision of China that prioritizes productivity and innovation above all else.
- Christmas Collision – Gravitas Ventures (VOD) – USA – Holiday romance directed by Lana Read, co-written by Read and Nancy Pushkar. Theodora, a time-consumed professional crosses paths with Charlie, a writer, when she travels to his hometown for business just before Christmas.
- Delphine’s Prayers – Icarus Films (Cinemas) – Cameroon / Belgium – Documentary written, directed and filmed by Rosine Mfetgo Mbakam. The film is a portrait of Delphine, a young Cameroonian girl. Like others, she belongs to the generation of young African women crushed by our patriarchal societies and abandoned to Western sexual colonization as her only means of survival. Through her courage and strength, she exposes these patterns of domination that continue to lock up African women.
- The Gig Is Up – Gravitas Ventures (Cinemas, VOD) – France / Canada – Documentary co-written and directed by Shannon Walsh. App developers lured a massive labor force by promising flexible hours with no offices or bosses, but with gig workers from Uber, Amazon, Lyft and more.
- Jacinta – Hulu (Cinemas, Hulu) – USA – Documentary shot and directed by Jessica Earnshaw. With unparalleled access and a gripping vérité approach, director Jessica Earnshaw paints a deeply intimate portrait of mothers and daughters and the effects of trauma over generations. Filmed for over three years, the film begins at the Maine Correctional Center where Jacinta, 26, and her mother Rosemary, 46, are incarcerated together, both recovering from drug addiction.
- Knocking – Yellow Veil Pictures (Cinemas; VOD release Oct. 19) – Sweden – Thriller directed by Frida Kempff. A woman leaves a psychiatric ward after a nervous breakdown, only to start hearing mysterious knocking sounds in her apartment.
- Lamb – A24 (Cinemas) – Iceland / Sweden / Poland – Icelandic horror-drama starring Noomi Rapace. A childless couple, María and Ingvar, discover a mysterious newborn on their farm in Iceland. The unexpected prospect of family life brings them much joy, before ultimately destroying them. Cinematography by Eli Arenson.
- Madres – Amazon Prime – USA – Horror co-written by Mario Miscione and Marcella Ochoa. A Mexican-American couple expecting their first child relocate to a migrant farming community in 1970’s California. When the wife begins to experience strange symptoms and terrifying visions, she tries to determine if it’s related to a legendary curse or something more nefarious.
- The Manor – Amazon Prime – USA – Horror written and directed by Axelle Carolyn, starring Barbara Hershey. After suffering a stroke, Judith Albright moves into a historic nursing home, where she begins to suspect something supernatural is preying on the residents. In order to escape she’ll need to convince everyone around her that she doesn’t actually belong there after all.
- Prism – Icarus Films (Cinemas) – Belgium – Documentary co-written and directed by Rosine Mfetgo Mbakam, An van Dienderen and Éléonore Yaméogo. Prism explores the legacy and effects of the racism inherent in photographic technology, which was developed with white skin in mind.
- The Rescue – Greenwich Entertainment / National Geographic (Cinemas) – USA – Documentary co-directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi following the story of the Wild Boars youth soccer team who were trapped and rescued in 2018 from a flooded cave in Thailand.
- Suzanna Andler – Icarus Films (Cinemas) – France – French drama written and directed by Benoît Jacquot, adapted from a play by Marguerite Duras. Trapped in a marriage to a wealthy, unfaithful businessman, a middle aged mother takes a break and goes with her young lover to a Riviera beach house where she plans a family vacation for the summer. Starring Charlotte Gainsbourg.
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.