Opening April 18 – 24, 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 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 April 12 – 19 that are of particular interest. Film titles highlighted in red have links to full reviews.

  • Girls Can’t Surf – Gravitas Ventures (VOD) – Australia – Documentary directed by Christopher Nelius and co-written by Julie-Anne De Ruvo, following the journey of a band of renegade surfers who took on the male-dominated professional surfing world to achieve equality and change the sport forever.
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  • White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch – Netflix – USA – Documentary directed by Alison Klayman. Abercrombie and Fitch conquered malls in the late ’90s and early ’00s with gorgeous models, pulsing dance beats and a fierce scent. But their “all-American” image shattered as exclusionary marketing and hiring practices came to light.

Thursday, April 21 

  • Brut Force – XYZ Films (VOD) – USA – Thriller written and directed by Eve Symington. Newly-fired reporter Sloane Sawyer reluctantly returns to her rural California hometown to investigate the harassment of local vineyard workers and uncorks a tangled web of crime and corruption behind wine country’s shiny façade.

Friday, April 22 

  • 9 Bullets – Screen Media Films (Cinemas, VOD) – USA – Thriller written and directed by Gigi Gaston, starring Lena Headey. A burlesque dancer must go on the run to save a young neighbor whose life is threatened by her ex-lover.
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  • Charlotte – Good Deed Entertainment (Cinemas in NY & LA) – Canada / France / Belgium – Animated account of German-Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon living in the south of France between 1941 and 1943. Voice acting by Keira Knightley and Marion Cotillard.
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  • A Cowgirl’s Song – Samuel Goldwyn Films (Cinemas) – USA – An aspiring teen singer goes to live with her grandmother, once a country music legend, but has fallen on hard times after the death of her husband five years earlier. Starring Cheryl Ladd and Savannah Lee May.
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  • Marvelous and the Black Hole – FilmRise (Cinemas) – USA – Comedy written and directed by Kate Tsang. A teenage delinquent teams up with a surly children’s party magician to navigate her dysfunctional family and inner demons. Starring Miya Cech, Rhea Pearlman and Leonardo Lam.
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  • Petite Maman – Neon (Cinemas) – France – Drama written and directed by Céline Sciamma. Nelly has just lost her grandmother and is helping her parents clean out her mother’s childhood home. She explores the house and the surrounding woods. One day she meets a girl her same age building a treehouse.
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  • The Revolution Generation – Greenwich Entertainment (Cinemas) – USA – Documentary co-written and directed by Joshua Tickell and Rebecca Harrell Tickell that shows how young people can deploy their strengths to revolutionize the system as they confront both the US political crisis and the global environmental crisis.
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  • Stanleyville – Oscilloscope (NY Premiere) – Canada – Comedy starring Susanne Wuest. A dissatisfied woman abandons her career and her family when she gets the chance to compete in a bizarre and dangerously flawed contest. The prize: a brand new habanero-orange compact SUV.
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  • The Survivor – HBO Max – Canada / Hungary / USA – Biographical drama written by Justine Juel Gillmer and directed by Barry Levinson. Post World War II, Harry Haft is a boxer who fought fellow prisoners in the concentration camps to survive. Haunted by memories and guilt, he attempts to use high-profile fights against boxing legends like Rocky Marciano as a way to find his first love again.
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  • Unplugging – Vertical Entertainment (Cinemas; VOD release April 29) – Romantic comedy directed by Debra Neil-Fisher, starring Eva Longoria and Matt Walsh. When Jeanine and Dan realize the only spark in the bedroom is from the wall socket, Dan proposes a quiet, relaxing weekend in a remote mountain town as the solution to rekindle and recharge.

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.