CHICHINETTE: THE ACCIDENTAL SPY – Review by Leslie Combemale

For decades after the war, Marthe Huffnung Cohn, the subject of Nicola Alice Hens’s documentary Chichinette: The Accidental Spy, didn’t talk about her experience as a Holocaust survivor and Nazi fighter during World War II. Chichinette, loosely translated from French, means “little pain in the neck”. In watching the film, we get a sense of Cohn’s tenacity and the independent thinking that guided her from an early age. She was clearly a feminist from childhood, if feminism means believing women can and should be allowed to do all the things men do.

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THE WOMAN WHO LOVES GIRAFFES – Review by Leslie Combemale

Have you heard of Anne Innis Dagg? The answer is probably not, and people around the world should know her. Writer/director Alison Reid’s The Woman Who Loves Giraffes shines a spotlight on Dagg, a Canadian who traveled to Africa alone in the 50s to do some of the first studying ever of animals in their own habitat.

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LOST IN SPACE: Producers and Cast Chat Story, Character and Gender Balance – Leslie Combemale interviews

If you aren’t watching Netflix’s exciting, very engaging sci-fi series Lost in Space, you should be. Well-crafted, full of cliffhangers, and with characters that rise above the tiresome cliches viewers have come to expect in fantasies, Lost in Space is perfect for families looking for something they can watch and enjoy together. I’d argue this because their gender-balanced Writers’ Room continues to subvert gender norms and present characters and storylines in which women, girls, and indeed everyone, will see themselves.

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BOMBSHELL – Review by Leslie Combemale

The way Bombshell leaves viewers suggests that Ailes’ ouster left a softer, safer Fox News in his wake. That part of the film is a bit of what Fox excels in: fake news. How would you like to be a member of one of the diverse communities Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson have consistently insulted, only to see these women lionized? Watch the film for Charlize Theron’s spot-on portrayal. Let the rest go. The storyline is peak white feminism.

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WHAT SHE SAID: THE ART OF PAULINE KAEL – Review by Leslie Combemale

Pauline Kael famously said that critics need only do two things consistently. We must always work to be better at our craft, and we must always be courageous. Whether you love or hate her work, this is a great reminder to anyone, regardless of what part of the business world they are in, from a woman who proved an important part of film history.

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SPOTLIGHT December 2019: Leslie Iwerks, Filmmaker, THE IMAGINEERING STORY

Leslie Iwerks is either Disney royalty, or a Disney brat, depending on whether you’re talking to fans or the director herself. She’s the grand-daughter of animator and inventor Ub Iwerks, one of Walt Disney’s oldest friends, creator of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and co-creator with Disney of Mickey Mouse. She is the daughter of technical innovator, lifetime Oscar Award winner, and Disney Legend Don Iwerks. As documentary director/producer, she has a distinguished career in film and an Oscar nominee for her work on The Pixar Story.

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QUEEN & SLIM – Review by Leslie Combemale

Whoever you are, as an audience member Queen & Slim flows through you from the screen like music you’ve rarely heard played out loud. Visceral. Transcendent. Haunting…The film is all these things and more. To call this a ‘black Bonnie and Clyde’ is reductive and doesn’t do justice to the depth of the film.

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PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE – Review by Leslie Combemale

If there is such a genre as ‘Mystical Femme,’ and there really should be, French writer/director Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire belongs in it, placed at the top. Winner of the Queer Palm and Best Screenplay at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, the film features magnetic lead actresses whose chemistry with each other is off the charts.

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SHOOTING THE MOB – Review by Leslie Combemale

Battaglia had a fearlessness that is powerfully feminist, and the viewers experience her complicated perspective as an Italian woman with a passion for her work. We are drawn into her conflicted feelings about a subject matter that, at its core, expresses violence, cruelty. and pain. Shooting the Mafia is imperfect, but it shines a light on a complicated woman and truly compelling artist.

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