ABOVE THE SHADOWS – Review by Cate Marquis

Like most good science fiction/fantasy, Claudia Myers’ Above the Shadows is really about our world and the people who live in it. Actually, it is more a fairy tale or parable than science fiction, so analyzing how her invisibility works is pointless. You just have to go with it, but Above the Shadows will reward you for that journey.

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LATE NIGHT – Review by Cate Marquis

Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson make a great, if unlikely, team, with Kaling handling the comedy heavy lifting and Thompson taking on the dramatic, more reflective stuff. Together they cover issues that women at either end of their career face – a rare, ambitious two-pronged approach. It is a lot of ground for one film to cover, and not everything works perfectly, but Late Night handles in well enough that it comes out a comedy winner.

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ASK FOR JANE- Review by Cate Marquis

Director Rachel Carey couldn’t have known how timely this drama would be but it certainly is that. Ask for Jane is a modest-budget independent film but it covers a lot of ground in women’s rights. Besides telling these women’s bold story, the drama throws in other reminders of how things used to be for women, from being the one’s asked to make the coffee to needing their husband’s permission to use birth control.

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ASK DR. RUTH – Review by Cate Marquis

Dr. Ruth Westheimer always looked like an unlikely on-air sex therapist, which may have been part of her success. The documentary Ask Dr. Ruth is not about her advice but her even more unlikely personal story. Did you know she is a Holocaust survivor? Is an avid skier? Was a sniper in the Israeli armed forces? Yeah, neither did I.

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WINE COUNTRY – Review by Cate Marquis

Refreshingly, this is a female buddy comedy that is all about the women – and there is something cool about that. Wine Country follows the buddy comedy tropes of about long-time, aging friends, with familiar types and “getting older” jokes. But apart from some grumbling about one friend’s jerk husband, there are few conversations about men, and no obsessing over romance. Better yet, the story ‘s singular romantic subplot is with the one lesbian woman in the group. Basically, there is really only one male character, a houseboy/cook/driver/tour guide named Devon (Jason Schwartzman) who “comes with the house,” a character who is more a comic idiot than anything else.

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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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