MOUTHPIECE – Review by Leslie Combemale

Mouthpiece is not an easy watch, especially for those still emotionally bruised by the recent loss. of a loved one. However, films that capture grief with a female gaze are too few in number, and there is catharsis for film lovers willing to invest in a viewing. It will stay with you. It might even spur some inner inquiry. Isn’t that what good films should do?

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WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE – Review by Leslie Combemale

It’s summer, yes, but don’t we all have time for a good gothic yarn? We Have Always Lived in the Castle might be the perfect recalibration to bring nihilistic ennui into your summer time fun. The film gets under your skin, making you consider what you would do for the ones you love. It will also serve to make nearly everyone grateful for the family they live with, so egregious is the one portrayed onscreen..

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TELL IT TO THE BEES – Review by Leslie Combemale

This love story, which happens in a small town, in post-war Scotland, speaks to the judgement and fear of imprisonment same-sex couples had at the time, since homosexuality was only decriminalized in England in 1967. It also exposes the lack of agency, and often suffocating restrictions and expectations set for women, while showing that love, and the falling into it, is always beautiful.

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RAFIKI – Review by Leslie Combemale

The word rafiki means “friend” in Swahili. Kenyan same-sex couples often have to refer to or introduce their partners as rafiki in public, and to many of their friends and family. One of the best qualities of this film is that the lead characters, while clearly drawn to each other, genuinely want to get to know each other, and to build their love on a foundation of friendship.

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UNTOGETHER – Review by Leslie Combemale

Untogether examines creativity and intimacy, how they intertwine, give rise to inspiration and feelings of inadequacy, and often self-destruct under the pressure we put on them. There are moving scenes that will ring true to anyone who has struggled to keeping their inner fire stoked, but is likely to evoke frustration in viewers forced to watch such self-obsessed characters over the 98 minute running time.

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SPOTLIGHT February 2019: Kirsten Schaffer, Executive Director, Women In Film Los Angeles

AWFJ’s February SPOTLIGHT illuminates the career and accomplishments of one of the most inspiring women making a difference in Hollywood. Kirsten Schaffer, Executive Director of Women in Film: Los Angeles, has been a leader in the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements, and has been in the forefront of the fight for parity and safe working environments for women in the film industry through the Weinstein and other abuse scandals.

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RUST CREEK – Review by Leslie Combemale

Female moviegoers have had to learn to accept that they aren’t going to be represented three-dimensionally in a large percentage of films released. This is particularly true in thrillers, which are often made inside the studio system. Watching Rust Creek, a realization dawns about how rare it is to see a capable, strong everywoman work her way through a dangerous situation that has put her very life at risk.

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Jen McGowan talks RUST CREEK and FilmPowered Women – Leslie Combemale interviews

In the world of cinema, sometimes filmgoers don’t know what they are missing until they see it. Director Jen McGowan’s Rust Creek is an escape thriller that centers on college student Sawyer Scott (Hermione Corfield) who gets lost in the back roads of Kentucky only to be attacked and hunted deep into the forest by two local men. Rust Creek reframes the genre.

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