ANNETTE – Review by Barbara Goslawski

Part fantasy, part cheeky treatise on modern life, Annette is very much a film of extremes, one that struggles to reconcile its differences. Director Leos Carax deservedly won the Director’s prize at Cannes– this is certainly an athletic effort on his part – but Annette remains a frustrating experiment in form and content.

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Women Filmmakers Score at HOT DOCS 2021- Barbara Goslawski reports

In its second pandemic digital edition, the 2021 Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival generated a lot of healthy, happy buzz, especially for women filmmakers. With a slate that presented 222 films from all over the world, 50 per cent of the directors in the festival program were female. But not only were women present in equal numbers; their films dominated the conversation, showing that women helmers are digging deep into the real struggles that affect us all. That is perhaps the most fascinating thing about gender parity at the Hot Docs Canadian International or any other festival.

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WHAT LIES WEST – Review by Barbara Goslawski

Jessica Ellis’s What Lies West has a quiet grace that stays with you long after the storylines have neatly concluded. This deceptively simple coming of age tale slips under your skin to become a complex exploration of people at varying stages sharing this distinctly fulfilling experience. Ingeniously, the film questions whether this kind of growth can only happen at a specific time of life. Instead, writer/director Ellis reminds us that real change can be a shared experience, one in which people inspire each other.

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SAINT FRANCES – Review by Barbara Goslawski

Saint Frances tackles some familiar issues in a refreshingly original way, exemplifying the importance of involving female voices in the telling of women’s stories. Written by star Kelly O’Sullivan and directed by Alex Thompson, Saint Frances dives deep into some of the most serious issues facing young women today and deftly invokes a distinctively lighthearted but compassionate vision of hope and healing.

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