Pamela B. Green on BE NATURAL and Alice Guy Blache’s Untold Story – Marilyn Ferdinand interviews

What would induce a woman with a successful entertainment and motion graphic design business to put it all on the back burner and become, in her words, “an official poor documentarian?” For Pamela B. Green, who produced titles and graphics for major motion pictures and the Academy Awards, it was a television show that included some information about a woman who would come to dominate her life for more than a decade—Alice Guy-Blaché.

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VAGABOND (Sans toit ni loi, 1985) – Review by Marilyn Ferdinand

In her 2000 documentary, The Gleaners & I, Agnes Varda examines the historical practice of gleaning the remains of harvests from the fields where they fell and then broadens it to include the salvaging of any refuse. Going back 15 years from this diverting, meditative documentary is Varda’s documentary-like masterwork about another type of refuse, the mysterious and sad Vagabond, a young social castoff named Mona.

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ROLL RED ROLL – Review by Marilyn Ferdinand

Any time I forget how so many people could vote for a candidate who was caught on tape describing how sexual assault is part of his nature, all I’ll have to do is watch Roll Red Roll again. Here, in graphic detail, is a portrait of rape culture in Steubenville, Ohio, a community like so many across the country and around the world that prizes feeling like a winner above all else.

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AWFJ’s REAL REEL WOMEN: Watch List For Women’s History Month

Released to celebrate Women’s History Month, AWFJ’s REAL REEL WOMEN List is an annotated roster of 50 fascinating real women whose lives are memorialized in narrative films. Since cinema’s earliest days, movies about iconic women pilots and poets, artists, actors, political activists, princesses and others from all walks of life have enthralled audiences, accrued awards and scored at the box office while influencing our social mores and enriching our cultural conversation. Read our REAL REEL WOMEN List and enjoy their stories on film.

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3 FACES – Review by Marilyn Ferdinand

Since the Iranian government imposed a 20-year filmmaking ban on Jafar Panahi in 2010, the scrappy director has made and smuggled out four films, including his latest, 3 Faces. The irrepressible Panahi is critical of Iran’s repressions against women and continues to plead for their freedom in this farcical, subversive film.

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Defining Feminist Film Criticism – Marilyn Ferdinand comments

If I feel a film does not honor the people and places it depicts, if it has a bias toward one group to the great detriment of another, if it is not honest, then I will likely give it a bad review. I also give bad reviews to films that are poorly written and executed, regardless of their humanity or lack thereof.

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10 Female-Directed Films to Watch for Black History Month – Marilyn Ferdinand reports

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists is proud to highlight the contributions of 10 outstanding black women directors — some quite familiar, others less so — whose accomplishments and distinctive voices deserve a much wider audience. We hope you will enjoy discovering the engaging, thought-provoking, and surprising films conceived and created by these truly exceptional women.

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CATCH THE WIND – Review by Marilyn Ferdinand

The primacy of the nuclear family in Western societies almost guarantees that when children mature and start their own lives, their parents will have fewer opportunities for meaningful contact with anyone. French writer-director Gaël Morel Morel’s Catch the Wind brings the loneliness of its central character, 45-year-old widow Edith Clarvel (Sandrine Bonnaire), into sharp focus as she is faced with the possibility of becoming unemployed.

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CAPERNAUM – Review by Marilyn Ferdinand

Capernaum is an angry cry, through the character of Zain, for people to pay attention to and do something about the misery of others. Labaki’s greatest achievement may be that she made a beautifully crafted film with such a deep understanding for her untrained actors that it’s nearly impossible to tear our eyes from the screen or forget what we’ve witnessed.

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PIONEERS: FIRST WOMEN FILMMAKERS – Review by Marilyn Ferdinand

The invaluable film distributor Kino Lorber has assembled a truly eye-opening collection of films from the silent era—all made by women. Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers is a DVD/Blu-ray box set that presents more than 50 silent feature and short films digitally mastered from 2k and 4K restorations from a variety of sources. The six disc set is divided by subject matter. Disc one is entirely devoted to the works of perhaps the most important woman filmmaker ever, Alice Guy-Blaché.

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