Opening May 20 – 26, 2024 – 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 May 20 – 26 that are of particular interest. Titles highlighted in red have links to full reviews:  

Friday, May 24

  • 20,000 Species of Bees – Film Movement (Cinemas) – Spain – Drama written and directed by Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren. During a summer in a village house linked to beekeeping, an eight-year-old and her mother experience revelations that will change their lives forever.
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  • Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga – Warner Bros. (Cinemas) – Australia – Action/adventure prequel starring Anya Taylor-Joy. The origin story of renegade warrior Furiosa before her encounter and team-up with Mad Max.
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  • Queen of the Deuce – Greenwich Entertainment (Cinemas, VOD) – Greece / Canada / Switzerland / USA – Documentary co-written and directed by Valerie Kontakos. The unbelievable story of Chelly Wilson, who escaped the Holocaust and built a porn cinema empire in New York City in the 1970s.
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  • Maestra – Worldwide Pants (Cinemas) – USA / Poland / France – Documentary directed by Maggie Contreras. Follows five international women who participate in ‘La Maestra’, the only competition in the world for female orchestra conductors. Personal stories of survival in this one-of-a-kind event created to break another glass ceiling for women.
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  • Solo – Music Box Films (Cinemas) – Canada – Drama written and directed by Sophie Dupuis. Follows Simon, who must deal with the disappointment of two impossible loves: a passionate but destructive crush on Oliver and a distant and cold relationship with his mother Claire, who has just moved back in after a 15-year absence.
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  • Songs of Earth – Strand Releasing – Norway – Documentary written and directed by Margreth Olin. Being connected to nature, what does it mean? Father knows and father shows. The director’s father is 84. We follow in his footsteps into the mountain home. Into nature’s smallest life and out to grand panoramas, where he grew up.

Saturday, May 25

  • Chromatica Ball – HBO (Max) – USA – Music film co-directed by Kerry Asmussen and Lady Gaga. In front of 52,000 people, Lady Gaga delivers a career-defining performance at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles during her 2022 Chromatica Ball Tour.

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.