Opening January 18 – 21, 2022 – 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 January 17 to 23 that are of particular interest:  

Tuesday, January 18 

  • Borrelia Borealis – Freestyle Digital Media (VOD) – USA – Drama written, directed by and starring Kathryne Isabelle Easton. In a global pandemic, chronically ill Beth is forced to confront her personal demons in quarantine. When she answers a call from a mysterious man, an unlikely romance opens a lush, new cosmic world through astral projection.

  • Ditched – Epic Pictures (VOD) – Canada – Horror starring Marika Sila. After a routine prison transfer crashes in the forest, young Inuit paramedic Melina finds herself surrounded by murderers with a mere 100 feet to climb out of a ditch to escape. When they are attacked by an unseen force in the forest, Melina’s short journey to safety becomes the ultimate contest of wills.

  • Road to Perth – Gravitas Ventures (Cinemas) – Australia / USA – Drama co-written by and starring Hannah Lehmann, Tommy O’Brien and Chad Peter. Stuck in a mild state of shock, Alex crosses paths with Ronnie – a woman on an adventure of her own – and together they take a grand road trip across Australia’s Nullarbor Plain, on their way to Perth.

Thursday, January 20 

  • Aline – Samuel Goldwyn Films (Cinemas) – France / Canada – Drama written, directed by and starring Valérie Lemercier. The youngest of a hardworking French-Canadian couple’s 14 children is propelled to global music superstardom in this fictional musical dramedy freely inspired by the life of Céline Dion.

  • The Last Thing Mary Saw – (Shudder) – USA – Horror film starring Isabelle Fuhrman, Stefanie Scott and Rory Culkin. Winter, 1843. A young woman is under investigation following the mysterious death of her family’s matriarch. Her recollection of the events sheds new light on the ageless forces behind the tragedy.

  • The Royal Treatment – (Netflix) – New Zealand / USA – Romantic comedy written by Holly Hester. New York hairdresser Izzy seizes the chance to work at the wedding of a charming prince, but when sparks between them fly, will love or duty prevail?

Friday, January 21 

  • A Shot Through the Wall – Vertical Entertainment (Cinemas, VOD) – USA – Drama written and directed by Aimee Long. A Chinese-American police officer’s life unravels after he accidentally shoots an innocent Black man. Facing trial, he wades through his guilt as he navigates the complicated worlds of media, justice, racial politics and his own morality.

  • Definition Please – (Netflix) – USA – Dramedy written and directed by Sujata Day. A former Scribbs Spelling Bee champion must reconcile with her estranged brother when he returns home to help care for their sick mother. Costarring Katrina Bowden and LeVar Burton.

  • Donkeyhead – (Netflix) – Canada – Drama written and directed by Agam Darshi. Mona, a failed writer, carves out a life of isolation while caring for her ailing Sikh father but when he has a debilitating stroke her three successful siblings show up on her doorstep determined to take control of the situation.

  • Redeeming Love – Universal Pictures (Cinemas) – USA – Drama directed by D.J. Caruso, co-written by Caruso and author Francine Rivers. Sold into prostitution as a child, Angel knows nothing but betrayal. Can her heart ever be mended? Starring Abigail Cowen, Famke Janssen and Tom Lewis.

  • Salt in My Soul – Giant Pictures (Cinemas) – USA – Documentary. Based on Mallory Smith’s posthumously published memoir, Salt In My Soul offers a look inside the mind of a young woman trying to live while dying. Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, Mallory turned to a secret diary to record her thoughts.

  • Stop-Zemlia – Altered Innocence (Cinemas, VOD) – Ukraine – Drama written and directed by Kateryna Gornostai. Navigating the emotional turmoil of waiting for life to begin while hanging around with classmates – a radical, authentic, and sensitive insight into the unsettling feeling of being young and an inside perspective on Ukrainian youth.

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.