PIONEERS: FIRST WOMEN FILMMAKERS – Review by Cate Marquis

Women filmmakers are getting a lot of attention now but many don’t know that women directors were among cinema’s first, and the best. Now we get a chance to explore that forgotten history, as Kino Lorber is offering Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers, a six-disc box set of some of the best films by women directors in cinema’s early decades.

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WHAT THEY HAD – Review by Cate Marquis

What They Had draws a moving and remarkably accurate picture of the challenges grown children face when a parent has Alzheimers. It is a crisis increasing number of families will face with a disease that only ever gets worse. Writer/director Elizabeth Chomko drew on her own family’s experience for this family drama that is boldly truthful as well as engrossing.

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LIYANA – Review by Cate Marquis

In Amanda and Aaron Kopp’s touching documentary, an acclaimed South Africa storyteller, Gcina Mhope, guides a group of orphans in Swaziland as they craft their own fairy tale story about a girl named Liyana. The children live in a peaceful rural compound, surrounded by mountains and rolling fields, but their lives before they came to this idyllic spot have been anything but peaceful.

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CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? — Review by Cate Marquis

Melissa McCarthy gives a commanding performance in a rare dramatic role based on the true story of Lee Israel, a one-time New York Times bestselling biographer in the ’70s and ’80s, who has fallen on hard times and turns to a life of crime as a forger of letters from literary greats such as Noel Coward and Dorothy Parker.

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THE BOOKSHOP — Review by Cate Marquis

In 1950s Britain, a widow moves to a small English village, buys a old house in town that had stood empty for years, with the intention to open a bookshop. Sounds harmless enough, maybe even something the village would welcome. But Florence Green (Emily Mortimer) does not find it so. It isn’t so much the bookshop that is the problem, although one seemly friendly villager offers her the not-to-encouraging advice that people around there don’t read. Well, the villager admits, there is one reader, the reclusive Mr. Brundish (Bill Nighy) but he never leaves his decaying mansion. No, the real problem,as it turns out, is not lack of readers, but that Florence happened to pick as the spot for her bookshop the very old house that a powerful local aristocrat Violet Gamat (Patricia Clarkson) had her eye on, planning to turn the building that everyone in town calls “the old house” into an “arts center.”

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