BODY PARTS – Review by Leslie Combemale

Body Parts is eye-opening and fascinating in showing not only where the film industry has been in terms of portraying sex onscreen, but where the industry can go when guided by advocates with integrity and genuine concern. Certainly many female film fans and feminists already know change is needed, now through this documentary, many more out there will be made aware of why it’s needed, and how that can happen.

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AWFJ Announces 2022 EDA Award Winners – Jennifer Merin reports

In our 16th annual awards season, AWFJ presented EDA Awards in 25 categories divided into three sections, the BEST OF AWARDS, FEMALE FOCUS AWARDS and EDA SPECIAL MENTION AWARDS. We were especially pleased to see our EDA Award nominations show strong representation of women filmmakers in all EDA Awards categories, including non-gender specific categories, and not just those in the FEMALE FOCUS section. This year, three films are tied for the most EDA Awards wins:

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AWFJ Presents: WHITE RIOT – Review by Pam Grady

Punk rock met political activism when Rock Against Racism rose up in Britain, pushing back at the rise of racism, xenophobia, and the far-right National Front movement in the 1970s. It might seem like ancient history but in Rubika Shah’s electrifying 2019 documentary, an organization defunct since the early 1980s feels more vital than ever. In our own age of creeping fascism, it imparts lessons about pushing back against the darkness. History is not dead in Shah’s telling, but part of a continuum and what transpired four decades ago impacts our lives even now.

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POPPY – Review by Lois Alter Mark

If you’re thinking you really don’t need to see one more movie about a teenage girl, well, you do. It’s called Poppy and it’s not what you’re expecting. Sure, the 19-year-old title character (Libby Hunsdale) loves dancing in front of the mirror in her bedroom and has a penchant for music, cars and TV dating shows. She also has Down syndrome.

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Sherenté Harris and Stephanie Lamorre on BEING THUNDER – Leslie Combemale interviews

There’s a great new documentary out called Being Thunder that profiles and centers on what the indigenous people call a Two Spirit, a gender queer teenager, named Sherenté Harris. French filmmaker Stephanie Lamorre spent time living with Sherenté and their family at a crucial point in their teen years, between 14-17 years of age. Sherenté is a dancer who dances the Fancy Shawl dance at intertribal powwows, and the film is a witness to the discrimination and erasure they experienced in the course of their performances at these powwows.

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STELLAR (TIFF 2022) – Review by Leslie Combemale

Darlene Naponse, a member of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation in Northern Ontario, Canada, uses Stellar to create a world outside of time wherein She and He can, from a safe distance, examine a world that centers on white people. They are also witness to an apocalypse, one that seems to be about the genocide, assimilation, and betrayal of First Nation Canadians, and at other times speaks to the global warming and environmental disasters created by the white world.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK February 11, 2022: HERE BEFORE

Is it really possible for those we’ve loved and lost to return to us? That’s the question that grieving mother Laura (Andrea Riseborough) finds herself obsessed with in Irish filmmaker Stacey Gregg’s moody and compelling drama/thriller Here Before. Still mourning the tragic loss of her daughter, Josie, years before, Laura finds herself drawn to young Megan (Niamh Dornan) when the girl’s family moves in next door. Could Megan be more than she seems? The film seems determined to show that love, loss, and other big feelings are part of the everyday experience, for better or worse.

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REACHER – Review by Susan Granger

Based on Lee Child’s first novel, Killing Floor (1997), this new, eight-episode Amazon series is steered by astute showrunner Nick Santora (The Sopranos, Prison Break, Lie to Me), while charismatic Alan Ritchson cleverly incorporates Reacher’s physical stature with high intelligence and deadpan wit. Jack Reacher is a fascinating character. Living off his military pension, he’s a stealthy loner who relishes his anonymity, traveling around the country with only a folding toothbrush, lapsed passport and the clothes on his back.

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AIR DOLL – Review by Diane Carson

Air Doll watches an inflatable sex doll come to life and reveal Tokyo. Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda has a well-earned international following as well as numerous awards. The distribution company Dekanalog, dedicated “to the release of the most unique filmmaking voices,” will now provide on-demand access to Kore-eda’s 2009 Air Doll, a provocative look at contemporary Japanese society and the individual need for, as well as the elusiveness of, affection.

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AMERICAN RUST – Review by Susan Granger

Just like the collapse of that corroded bridge in Pittsburgh, the cancellation of American Rust – filmed in and around that same city – demonstrates the ruination or what can happen when a crime drama isn’t properly developed or cared for, making it of little use to anyone. Developed by showrunner Dan Futterman, the TV series is set in a small, fictional Pennsylvania town where the chief of police becomes involved in the murder investigation of a corrupt ex-cop.

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