BE NATURAL: THE UNTOLD STORY OF ALICE GUY BLACHE – Review by Cate Marquis

Presented in a visually lively style, Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy Blache goes way beyond merely chronicling the facts of Alice Guy Blache’s life – her innovations, her many awards while working at Gaumont, her marriage to fellow filmmaker Herbert Blache, their immigration to the US where they opened their own movie studio – but gives examples of her films and puts her work in context of both film history and feminist history.

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GIRLS IN THE SUN – Review by Cate Marquis

French director Eva Husson’s Girls of the Sun (Les Filles du Soleil) is a moving wartime drama about a troupe of Kurdish women soldiers, all former captives of ISIS. Inspired by real events, the narrative centers on a Western journalist embedded with the Kurdish women and their charismatic leader Bahar, played powerfully by Golshifteh Farahani.

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BLOWIN’ UP – Review by Cate Marquis

Stephanie Wang-Breal uses an unobtrusive fly-on-the-wall approach, with no narration and few interviews. Mostly, we just see the court and the people around it doing their good work, but we also follow a few individual stories. The court room footage proves surprisingly involving and even gripping at times. We come to care about these young women who have fallen into this life, often out of economic need and now have no way to escape, as well as the people with the court and non-profit striving to open that door for them.

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WOMAN AT WAR – Review by Cate Marquis

In the Icelandic film Woman at War, an attractive, fit, middle-aged Icelandic woman Halla (Hallora Geirhardsdottir) uses her skill with a bow, like a real-life Katniss Everdeen, to knock out power lines. Her goal is to disable an aluminum smelter owned by multinational corporations, who plan to bring in more polluting heavy industry.

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DAUGHTER OF MINE – Review by Cate Marquis

Laura Bispuri’s strikingly honest Daughter of Mine, an Italian-language drama that explores the meaning of motherhood through the tense struggle between two women who both have claims on a 9-year-old girl. Set in the wind-swept, sandy island of Sardinia off Italy’s coast, the drama is both specific to this location and these people, and universal.

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WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY – Review by Cate Marquis

There has been concern that public awareness of the Holocaust is declining, particularly among younger people, which makes the documentary Who Will Write Our History timely now. Director Roberta Grossman’s moving documentary is especially well-suited to the task, as it focuses on a secret group in the Warsaw Ghetto, led by a Polish Jewish historian, who set out to create a history and record of Jewish culture, to counteract the version of Jewish life they saw Nazi propaganda creating.

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RUST CREEK – Review by Cate Marquis

Rust Creek is a genre film, aiming just to entertain, and there is no reason women directors can’t make those kinds of films too rather than ones with social commentary. And there is enough there in Rust Creek, largely thanks to the cast, to give the promise of an intriguing crime story – enough to make you frustrated when the film takes wrongs turns.

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