AWFJ ROUND TABLE: Defining Feminist Film Criticism

The term ‘feminism’ and the descriptor ‘feminist film critic’ are in frequent use these days, as the women in film movement stirs debate and demands change in the the movie industry. Women film critics are, like women working in all aspects of the industry, marginalized not only by disparity in employment opportunities, but also in the overall attitude — a lack of seriousness — with which our reviews and commentaries are evaluated. Reputable reports support this assertion with stats, and women film critics feel it in our guts 24365

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ROLL RED ROLL – Review by Jennifer Merin

Nancy Schwartzman’s harrowing documentary about the rape of a teenage girl by local high school football players in the ‘middle America’ community of Steubenville, Ohio, reveals the depth to which rape culture permeates our society. We’ve seen far too many other such true stories in documentaries chronicling the rape of girls on campus, of women in the military and in the workplace. It must be stopped. Roll Red Roll calls attention to this cultural crisis and should be mandatory viewing for every teenager, parent and educator in America.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 8, 2019: 3 FACES

The life of an actress isn’t always an easy one — even more so in a country like Iran, where traditional currents run strong and “following your dreams” isn’t so simple for any woman, let alone a woman who wants to take to the stage. In his latest uniquely crafted film, Jafar Panahi again defies the Iranian government’s ban on his film production to explore themes of dreams vs family and social obligations. 3 Faces, a compelling drama about craft and connection.

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3 FACES – Review by Jennifer Merin

Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi has been banned by the Iranian government from making movies for 20 years, yet he always invents creative ways to practice his craft by documenting his own interactions with actors and ‘civilians.’ In 3 Faces Panahi and actress Behnaz Jafari take to the road to try too solve a mystery about what happened to a young woman who wanted to escape her traditional family to become an actress. The plot twists itself into an intriguing mystery about weather the girl is alive or dead.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 1, 2018: SAINT JUDY

SAINT JUDY is director Sean Hanish’s fact-based drama about immigration attorney Judy Wood (Michelle Monaghan), whose tenacity, empathy, and intelligence

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK February 22, 2019: WOMAN AT WAR

motw logo 1-35Having a fearless, independent, complicated middle-aged woman at the center of this original comedy/drama is reason enough to distinguish the Icelandic film Woman at War. That director Benedikt Erlingsson, working from a script he wrote with Ólafur Egill Egilsson, has managed to make a film about environmental activism in the Icelandic countryside that’s fresh, quirky and compelling is an added bonus.

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JOSEPH PULITZER: VOICE OF THE PEOPLE – Review by Jennifer Merin

If you consider the study of history to be a route towards informed interpretation of the present, Oren Rudavsky’s Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People is essential and timely viewing. The film is an investigative biodoc about the legendary publisher who changed the face and flow of modern journalism, and rewrote the rule book on using newspapers — the prime media outlet during his life time — to influence the political, social and economic milieu at the heart of the American Dream.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK February 15, 2019: DAUGHTER OF MINE

motw logo 1-35A passionate exploration of the nature of motherhood, daughterhood, and connection, Laura Bispuri’s Daughter of Mine has a raw, naturalistic feel that makes its characters and their choices seem very real. Viewers are plunged right into the world of two Italian women who both lay claim to a young girl who finds herself torn between them.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK February 8, 2019: WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY

motw logo 1-35Every single Jew who died during World War II at the hands of Hitler and his Nazis had a story to tell — and the fact that so many of those stories died with them is an unfathomable tragedy. But some of their stories survived, including those preserved by the brave Polish Jews who risked their lives to create the Oyneg Shabes Archive. This astounding cache of documents and artifacts from the Warsaw Ghetto is the subject of Roberta Grossman’s moving, fascinating documentary Who Will Write Our History.

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