LES NOTRES – Review by Sandie Angulo Chen

Canadian writer-director Jeanne Leblanc’s family drama centers on 13-year-old Magalie, whose unexpected pregnancy throws her small Quebec town into a state of constant gossip. Everyone is quick to blame Magalie’s best friend and neighbor Manuel, who happens to be the Mexican-born teen foster child to the town’s beloved mayor -and his wife.

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SPRING BLOSSOM – Review by Sandie Angulo Chen

There’s something inherently uncomfortable about age-gap romances when one person is underaged. Even when the older party isn’t a teacher, coach, or other authority figure, it’s still problematic. What’s remarkable about the French film Spring Blossom is that unlike similar films made by men, this one is from the perspective of the young woman and doesn’t shy away from showing precisely how intelligent but also naive and young the protagonist really is… probably because writer-director-star Suzanne Lindon penned the script when she was 15 (and shot the film when she was 19).

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Jessica Bruder and Bob Wells on NOMADLAND – Sandie Angulo Chen interviews

Knowing the fascinating backstory of Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland gives audiences additional appreciation of this film’s unique style and universal appeal. Sandie Angulo Chen get the inside scoop from two of the film’s backstory principals, Jessica Bruder who wrote the book behind the adapted script and Bob Wells, a Nomad clan leader who added his own unique voice to the screenplay. Both were mentioned by Chloe Zhao in her Golden Globes acceptance speech. Sandie Angulo Chen chats with Bruder and Wells for their take on Nomadland.

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Sarah Megan Thomas on A CALL TO SPY and Female Stories – Sandie Angulo Chen interviews

Sarah Megan Thomas is a filmmaker dedicated to telling women’s stories, especially in cinema genres where they’ve been left out of the canon. Thomas wrote, produced and stars in her latest film, A Call To Spy, a truth-based narrative about women in the Special Operations Executive (SOE), a secret British intelligence organization that embedded spies in occupied France during WWII. The film focuses on three women who gathered intelligence essential to the defeat of Germany. Their gripping story is important. So are Thomas’ comments about how the female perspective differs and how to get more of it on screen.

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Middleburg Film Festival 2019 Wrap-Up – Sandie Angulo Chen reports

Now in its seventh year, the Middleburg Film Festival in bucolic Virginia horse country continues to feature a well-curated slate of top-notch narrative and documentary feature films from around the world. Washington D.C.-area AWFJ members in attendance included Nell Minow and Susan Wloszczyna, both of whom participated in the Talk Back to the Critics’ session, as well as Leslie Combemale and Sandie Angulo Chen. Between us, we saw at least 40 films, and we’ve picked our favorite women-focused films and performances from the festival for readers to put on their must-watch lists.

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BOY GENIUS – Review by Sandie Angulo Chen

Boy Genius is a comedy about a 12-year-old prodigy who teams up with his eccentric test-prep instructor to figure out who’s behind a series of thefts at his high school. Like many comedies about super-smart kids, the movie makes jokes about Emmett’s personality — his maturity level, his overly formal speech, and his borderline-inappropriate unrequited crush on a girl who’s at least 4-5 years older than he is.

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