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 September 19 to 25 that are of particular interest. Titles highlighted in red have links to full reviews:
Friday, September 23
- The American Dream & Other Fairy Tales – USA – Documentary co-directed by Abigail Disney and Kathleen Hughes. Abigail Disney looks at America’s dysfunctional and unequal economy and asks why the American Dream has worked for the wealthy, yet is a nightmare for people born with less. As a way to imagine a more equitable future, Disney uses her family’s story to explore how this systemic injustice took hold.
- Blank – Brainstorm Media – UK – Sci-Fi thriller directed by Natalie Kennedy. A desperate writer signs up for a fully A.I. operated retreat to cure her writer’s block, but when an unforeseen software glitch occurs, she gets trapped inside her unit with an unstable android and no communication with the outside world.
- Carmen – Good Deed Entertainment (Cinemas, VOD) – Malta / Canada – Drama written and directed by Valerie Buhagiar, starring Natascha McElhone. In a small Mediterranean village, Carmen has looked after her brother, the local priest, for her entire life. When the Church abandons Carmen, she is mistaken for the new priest. Carmen begins to see the world, and herself, in a new light.
- Catherine Called Birdy – Cinemas (Amazon Prime release Oct. 7) – UK / USA – Adventure film written and directed by Lena Dunham. A 14 year old girl in medieval England navigates through life and avoiding potential suitors her father has in mind.
- Control – Saban Films (Cinemas; VOD release September 27)) – Canada – Sci-Fi. A mother locked inside a stark room is tasked by an unknown voice to complete increasingly difficult challenges if she wants to save her daughter’s life. As the frequency and intensity of the tasks threaten to overwhelm her, she must piece together half-remembered chapters of her life before imprisonment if she wants to secure her freedom, rescue her child, and escape a waking nightmare.
- Don’t Worry Darling – Warner Bros. (Cinemas) – USA – Thriller directed by Olivia Wilde. A 1950s housewife living with her husband in a utopian experimental community begins to worry that his glamorous company may be hiding disturbing secrets.
- Grand Jete – Altered Innocence – Germany – Drama directed by Isabelle Stever, written by Anna Melikova. Adapted from the novel by Anke Stelling. In order to concentrate on her career, a ballet teacher lives estranged from her young son, who grew up with her mother. When she meets him again after years, an affection develops that goes far beyond maternal love.
- The Justice of Bunny King – FilmRise (Cinemas) – New Zealand – Drama directed by Gaysorn Thavat, starring Essie Davis and Thomasin McKenzie. A triumph over adversity tale about women fighting their way back from the bottom of society.
- Lou – Netflix – USA – Action film directed by Anna Foerster, starring Jurnee Smollett and Allison Janney. A storm rages. A young girl is kidnapped. Her mother teams up with the mysterious woman next door to pursue the kidnapper, a journey that tests their limits and exposes shocking secrets from their pasts.
- On the Come Up – Paramount (Cinemas) – USA – Dramedy directed by and starring Sanaa Lathan, written by Kay Oyegun. Adapted from the novel by Angie Thomas. 16-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Facing controversies and with an eviction notice staring down her family, Bri doesn’t just want to make it, she has to make it.
- The Swearing Jar – Gravitas Ventures (Cinemas) – Canada – Drama directed by Lindsay MacKay, written by Kate Hewlett. “It is a rare and miraculous thing to find your one true soul mate.” Carey soon learns that finding two of them can pose an even greater problem. Starring Adelaide Clemens.
- We Are Art: Through the Eyes of Annalaura – Italy – Documentary directed by and starring Annalaura di Luggo. Filmed on location in Naples Italy, We Are Art documents Annalaura di Luggo’s journey as she undertakes her most artistic creative challenge, creating “Colloculi”, an immersive, multi-media, interactive art installation constructed in the shape of a Giant Eye made of recycled aluminum.
- Young Plato – Soilsiú Films (NY Premiere) – Ireland / Belgium / France – Documentary co-written and directed by Declan McGrath and Neasa Ní Chianáin. Set in post-conflict Belfast’s Ardoyne, where a marginalized, working class community has for generations been plagued by poverty, drugs and guns. This film charts the dream of Headmaster Kevin McArevey and his dedicated, visionary team.
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.