MIU MIU WOMEN’S TALES – Review by Marilyn Ferdinand

For roughly the past decade, Italian high-fashion brand Miu Miu, a subsidiary of Prada, has been commissioning and releasing short films from some of the world’s most renowned women directors. As long as the films include Miu Miu fashions and accessories, the directors have been free to express their own creative impulses and personalities. Within the series, film fans will recognize signature flourishes along with great invention.

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MR. SOUL! – Review by Marilyn Ferdinand

I knew nothing about Soul! or the estimable Ellis Haizlip before watching this documentary. I am so happy to have been introduced to both, and I hope that one day soon a show as intelligent, exciting, and unapologetic as Soul! was will return to the airwaves. Meanwhile, I’m very glad we have this documentary.

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SPOTLIGHT January 2020: Ava Duvernay, Filmmaker and Cinema Crusader

It’s hard to think of a more galvanizing, charismatic woman in film than Ava DuVernay. The 47-year-old producer, director, writer, distributor, and crusader for social justice has broken through boundaries and expanded professional and personal possibilities for women — especially women of color — working in film, and everywhere else. DuVernay has our greatest respect for her artistry, her dedication to freedom and equality for all people, and her innovative leadership by example.

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LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE – Review by Marilyn Ferdinand

Linda Ronstadt busted through every barrier niche marketers of the recording industry put in her way and sang every style of music she wanted to tackle. Folk, country, rock, pop, R&B, mariachi, classics from the American songbook, operetta, opera—she did it all, and did it well. The round-faced phenom from Tucson deserves a great documentary, and she gets one with Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice

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ONE CHILD NATION – Review by Marilyn Ferdinand

During the 1970s, China’s population reached 1 billion. Fearing widespread famine, the government imposed a limit of one child per family and began enforcing it in 1979 with propaganda and strong-arm tactics. Human population growth is a real problem, but One Child Nation argues through the stark emotions of the midwife, artist, family planning official, and affected families who spoke out for the camera that legislating it out of existence is not the answer.

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JOAN THE MAID 1 AND 2: THE BATTLES AND THE PRISONS – Review by Marilyn Ferdinand

French director Jacques Rivette’s acclaimed two-part, six-hour-long Joan the Maid 1 and 2: The Battles and The Prisons (1994) has been restored and released by Cohen Media Group, representing a huge improvement over the extant versions of the classic film, one of which cut the running time by two hours. Joan the Maid provides an accurate and complete version of a story known to many only in terms of fiery martyrdom. Rivette’s humanizing chronicle brings Joan back to life without disturbing her religious mystery.

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ABOVE THE SHADOWS – Review by Marilyn Ferdinand

The protagonist in Claudia Myers’ drama Above the Shadows is not only invisible, but also unheard. She started fading at the age of 10, just after her mother died, and is unremembered by her family. Myers challenges us to look at ourselves through the eyes of others and drop our self-centered grievances long enough to see what other people may be going through. Myers’ script is ingenious and her direction of her actors masterful in making scenes with a supposedly invisible character work.

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OPHELIA – Review by Marilyn Ferdinand

The genius of William Shakespeare has been a bottomless well of inspiration for creators down through the ages—flexible enough to absorb all manner of revision, from modern dress to modern English, and timeless enough to speak to successive generations with the common language of the human heart. Novelist Lisa Klein published Ophelia, her revisionist take on Hamlet in 2006, and now director Claire McCarthy and screenwriter Semi Chellas have brought her vision to the screen.

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MAYA ANGELOU: AND STILL I RISE – Review by Marilyn Ferdinand

Angelou was a certified renaissance woman whose one long lifetime ranged farther and higher than most people of any race or class, let alone an African-American woman from a broken home who was dropped into Jim Crow Arkansas following several years in more permissive California and then experienced the racial tumult of every decade to the present. As the directors of And Still I Rise put it, “An eloquent poet, writer and performer, Maya Angelou’s life intersected with the civil rights struggle, the Harlem Writers Guild, the New Africa movement, the women’s movement and the cultural and political realignments of the 1970s and ’80s.”

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