Opening May 22 – 28, 2023 – 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 May 22 to 28 that are of particular interest. Titles highlighted in red have links for full reviews:
Monday, May 22
- We Might As Well Be Dead – Aspect Ratio Sales / Hope Runs High Films (Cinemas) – Germany / Romania – Drama co-written and directed by Natalia Sinelnikova. In a tower block on the edge of a forest, people are hoping to join the building’s community as it is one of the last bastions of civilization in a world that has fallen apart.
Tuesday, May 23
- Afghan Dreamers – Paramount+ – USA – Documentary. Members of the all-girl robotics team from Afghanistan struggle to succeed in international competitions while combating their male-dominated culture and the threat of Taliban rule.
- Victim/Suspect – Netflix – USA – Documentary directed by Nancy Schwartzman. Young women tell the police they’ve been sexually assaulted, but instead of finding justice, they’re charged with the crime of making a false report, arrested, and even imprisoned by the system they believed would protect them.
Friday, May 26
- About My Father – Lionsgate (Cinemas) – USA – Comedy directed by Laura Terruso. When Sebastian tells his old-school Italian immigrant father Salvo that he is going to propose to his all-American girlfriend, Salvo insists on crashing a weekend with her tony parents.
- Being Mary Tyler Moore – HBO Max – USA – Documentary. Mary’s vanguard career, who, as an actor, performer, and advocate, revolutionized the portrayal of women in media, redefined their roles in show business, and inspired generations to dream big and make it on their own.
- Close to Vermeer – Kino Lorber (Cinemas, NY) – Netherlands – Documentary directed by Suzanne Raes that follows Gregor Weber, a globally renowned Vermeer expert and flamboyant curator at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. In the year before he retires, he works on his big dream: the largest Vermeer exhibition ever.
- The Little Mermaid – Disney (Cinemas) – USA – Family film starring Halle Bailey. A young mermaid makes a deal with a sea witch to trade her beautiful voice for human legs so she can discover the world above water and impress a prince.
- Unclenching the Fists – Mubi – Russia / France – Drama co-written and directed by Kira Kovalenko. In a former mining town in North Ossetia, a young woman struggles to escape the stifling hold of the family she loves as much as she rejects.
- White Balls on Walls – Icarus Films (Cinemas, NY) – Netherlands – Documentary written and directed by Sarah Vos. How can we be more inclusive? That is a question that many companies ask themselves, including the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. And there the search for more diversity turns out to be more difficult than expected.
- Wild Life – Picturehouse / Disney+ / National Geographic (Cinemas, Disney+) – USA – Documentary co-directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi. A sweeping portrait of conservationists Kris and Doug Tompkins chronicling their fight to preserve one of the last truly wild places on earth.
- The Wrath of Becky – Quiver Distribution / Amor Media (Cinemas) – USA – Horror film co-directed by Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote. Two years after she escaped a violent attack on her family, Becky attempts to rebuild her life in the care of an older woman – a kindred spirit named Elena. But when a group known as the “Noble Men” break into their home, attack them, and take her beloved dog, Becky must return to her old ways to protect herself and her loved ones.
- You Hurt My Feelings – A24 (Cinemas) – USA – Dramedy written and directed by Nicole Holofcener, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus. A novelist’s long standing marriage is suddenly upended when she overhears her husband giving his honest reaction to her latest book.
Film descriptions are adapted from press releases. Titles highlighted in red have links for full reviews. Stay tuned in for next week’s releases! Contact us if we’ve overlooked anything.