MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 25, 2021: REBEL HEARTS

Watching Pedro Kos’ documentary Rebel Hearts, it’s hard not to wonder what the world would be like if every person of faith was as accepting, loving, committed, and progressive as the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Since that is (very obviously) not the case, the Sisters’ story of standing up to the oppressive Catholic church in the 1960s and finding their own way to fulfill their vows is all the more inspiring.

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MICKEY SUMNER on WITH/in, iPhone filmmaking and Trudie Styler – Jennifer Merin interviews

Mickey Sumner’s I’m Listening was shot in response to Maven Screen Media’s WITH/IN short film initiative for Tribeca Film Festival 2021. The directive was simple: Using an iPhone and whatever’s easily at your disposal, shoot a short film dealing with quarantine life in 2020. It’s not as if there wasn’t a surplus of storytelling angles, themes and emotions available, considering how much everyone’s lives changed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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SWEAT – Review by Marietta Steinhart (Guest Post)

Few films have pictured the Social Media phenomenon as empathically as Sweat. Thanks to a powerhouse performance by Magdalena Koleśnik, Sweatallows for a very nuanced and kind look at a profession that has been demonized and mocked. Watching movies about people staring at their phones is usually about as stimulating as watching grass grow. This is not the case here. Koleśnik’s energy is contagious.

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REBEL HEARTS – Review by Jennifer Merin

Rebel Hearts is a compelling from-the-heart documentary that follows The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a sisterhood of devoted nuns who bravely stood up to the demeaning and oppressive patriarchy of the Catholic Church to fight for the right to be treated as equals, especially with regard to education and the expression of their credo through art, particularly the controversial graphics of Sister Mary Corita Kent.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 18, 2021- LES NOTRES

Emilie Bierre delivers a gripping performance as 13-year-old Magalie in Quebecois writer/director Jeanne Leblanc’s wrenching drama Les Notres. Unexpectedly pregnant and left feeling adrift and out of control as her life constricts around her, Magalie is a child who’s forced to make adult decisions after a trusted family friend — literally — abuses that trust. But, as she learns, decisions have consequences.

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AWFJ PRESENTS: Inaugural curated film series on KinoMarquee – Jennifer Merin reports

AWFJ PRESENTS, a curated film series that offers movie lovers access to great films by some of the world’s finest women directors, is streaming on demand on Kino Lorber’s digital platform KinoMarquee. Selected by a curatorial team of AWFJ members from Kino Lorber’s vast catalog of hundreds of important titles, the inaugural selections include exceptionally entertaining and relevant films by women directors.

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LES NOTRES – Review by Jennifer Merin

Les Notres, Quebecois writer/director Jeanne Leblanc’s beautifully crafted, taut and extremely gripping coming-of-age drama, centers on 13-year old Magalie (Emillie Bierre), a joyful and talented schoolgirl whose life falls apart when she realizes she’s pregnant and circumstances force her to face and experience the full impact of sexual predation by – no spoiler because it’s evident early in the narrative — the beloved mayor of the tight-knit community in which she lives.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 11, 2021: HOLLER

The American Dream feels almost as far out of reach as the moon in Nicole Riegel’s compelling feature debut, Holler, which follows an enterprising teenager named Ruth (Jessica Barden) who would do just about anything to escape her inevitably bleak future in a dying Southern Ohio town. She’s smart, and college could be her ticket out, but paying for it means taking dangerous chances with a not-exactly-legal scrap-metal scavenging crew.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 4, 2021: TOVE

It’s no surprise by now to discover that the private lives of the authors and artists behind some of the world’s most beloved children’s books were anything but calm (or G-rated). But it’s always fascinating to get a glimpse into the events, people, and places that shaped them and led to their iconic creations, and Zaida Bergroth’s Tove — which stars the excellent Alma Pöysti as Finnish Moomin mastermind Tove Jansson — is no exception.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 28, 2021: AHEAD OF THE CURVE

Just as Curve has been more than simply a magazine for the lesbian community since it was founded by Franco Stevens in the early 1990s, Jen Rainin and Rivkah Beth Medow’s spirited documentary Ahead of the Curve is much more than simply a film about the history of that magazine. It’s an engaging look at the progress of the lesbian movement over the last 30 years — and where it’s headed in the future.

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