MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 30, 2020 – US KIDS

If there’s any upside to the turmoil and tragedy that the United States — and the world — has been experiencing in recent years, it’s the fact that it’s shaping and motivating a powerful surge of youth activism. While it’s certainly not fair for society to look to teenagers to solve problems caused by generations of adults, there’s no denying the passion, drive, and ingenuity of change-makers like Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg, and the Parkland shooting survivors. Filmmaker Kim A. Snyder introduces us to several of the latter in her moving documentary Us Kids.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 23, 2020: ON THE ROCKS

On the Rocks feels a bit like what you’d get if Woody Allen and Wes Anderson made a movie together — only with a lot more feminine energy, empathy, and understanding. Sofia Coppola’s dramedy tackles modern marriage, motherhood, career uncertainty, and parent/adult child relationships with a light touch and strong performances from a talented cast.

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Rama Rau Talks HONEY BEE and Trafficking- Jennifer Merin interviews

In Rama Rau’s Honey Bee, Natalie is an underage truck stop hooker working for a pimp who claims to love her, but regularly abuses She is stopped by authorities and sent to a home, actually a working farm, run by a tough love matriarch played with authority by Martha Plimpton. Honey Bee is a moving and credible drama that points out the dead-end choices that many young women are given little option but to make. The film won AWFJ’s EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Feature at 2018 Whistler Film Festival. The film is releasing online November 10.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK, October 16, 2020: YELLOW ROSE

Both a timely drama about the harsh nature of U.S. immigration policy and its impact on families, and a poignant coming-of-age story, Diane Paragas’ semi-autobiographical first feature Yellow Rose centers on a talented Filipina teenager living in Texas whose love of country music is one of the few things she has left after her world abruptly crumbles around her.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 9, 2020: THE GLORIAS

Modern feminism owes a lot to Gloria Steinem, and director Julie Taymor revels in explaining why in The Glorias, her creative biopic about a woman who has fought tirelessly throughout her life for the rights of all women. Taking the title of Steinem’s autobiography — My Life on the Road — literally, Taymor centers her story on a bus on which primary passengers are Steinem at different ages: child (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), young teen (Lulu Wilson), young woman (Alicia Vikander), and mature activist (Julianne Moore).

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 2, 2020: MISBEHAVIOUR

Activism and intersectionality are at the heart of Philippa Lowthorpe’s fact-based dramedy Misbehaviour, which follows the tumultuous events surrounding the 1970 Miss World pageant in London and their impact on the women’s liberation movement. While always firmly on the side of the feminists who disrupted the event to protest its objectification of women, the film also makes sure to include other important perspectives on women’s roles and representations — which ultimately makes its message all the more effective.

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An AWFJ Tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Not all cinema superheroines wear capes. In fact, one leader in the league of heroic women whose accomplishments are celebrated in cinema was the wearer of black robes and white lace collars, and she has been as much of a superheroine in real life as she has been on the screen. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on September 18 at age 87, championed women’s rights for her entire career and leaves a legacy of progressive positive change in the United States. Her ethos and accomplishments have been celebrated in film.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK September 25, 2020: BLACKBIRD

Centered on an emotional, moving performance by Susan Sarandon, Roger Michell’s Blackbird (a remake of the Danish film Silent Heart) is a powerful family drama about love and loss — and letting someone say goodbye on their own terms. It addresses the often-controversial issue of assisted death head on, ultimately depicting it as one of the hardest but most important choices a person can make for themselves.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK September 18, 2020: SIBYL

The line between life and art becomes very blurred in Sibyl, French feminist filmmaker Justine Triet’s intimate, ethically complex drama about the titular Sibyl (Virginie Efira), an emotionally fragile psychotherapist who finds inspiration for her novel in her patient’s complicated life. But can she deal with her own insecurities and past entanglements?

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK September 11, 2020: MULAN

This isn’t one of Disney’s shot-for-shot, song-for-song live-action remakes. Rather, Niki Caro’s Mulan is a serious, often-intense reimagining of the ancient Chinese ballad that also inspired the studio’s 1998 animated hit. More Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon than Disney Princess story, it’s a beautifully filmed epic that gives Hua Mulan increased agency and confidence. Mulan is a hero who may hail from olden times, but speaks to our own.

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