MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 15, 2022: GABBY GIFFORDS WON’T BACK DOWN

In a time when “thoughts and prayers” are all that too many politicians can offer in the face of tragic mass shootings like the ones in Buffalo and Uvalde, Gabby Giffords’ tireless advocacy for smart gun control is more meaningful than ever — especially when you know that every word she says on the subject is a hard-fought victory over the lasting impact of the brain injuries she sustained when she was shot in the head in 2011.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 8, 2022: FIRE OF LOVE

Part romance, part breathtaking nature film, and wholly engrossing, Fire of Love tells the story of Katia and Maurice Krafft, two of the world’s foremost volcanologists. Their dedication to their calling — and each other — is captured deftly by director Sara Dosa, who mines extraordinary historic footage and pairs it with narration by Miranda July to produce a film that’s both quirky and a loving homage to two very passionate people.

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THE MARTHA MITCHELL EFFECT – Review by Jennifer Merin

This June marks the 50th anniversary of the Watergate break-in and the political scandal that led to President Richard Nixon’s eventual resignation from office on August 8, 1974. It was a turning point in US history, one in which Martha Mitchell played a role, Martha was the whistleblower wife of former US Attorney General John Mitchell, a close Nixon advisor and ally who was jailed for his complicity in the Watergate case. Two films currently in release commemorate the Watergate events and era by taking another look at Martha’s perspective on Watergate, how it happened and its impact on our nation.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 1, 2022: CLARA SOLA

The powerful need for expression and agency are at the heart of Nathalie Alvarez Mesen’s debut feature Clara Sola. The film centers on a 40-year-old Costa Rican woman named Clara (a mesmerizing Wendy Chinchilla Araya), whose deep connection to nature and animals seems to include the mystical ability to heal — but whose body and soul are constantly repressed, particularly by her devout mother, Fresia (Flor María Vargas Chavez). When Clara dares to test those constraints, the consequences are volatile.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 24, 2022: BITTERBRUSH

A unique coming-of-age story, Emelie Mahdavian’s immersive, observational documentary Bitterbrush takes viewers fully into a world many aren’t likely to have experienced. Following friends Colie Moline and Hollyn Patterson through their final summer herding cattle together on a remote ranch before life takes them in new, separate directions, it conveys emotions that are as big as the Idaho sky while maintaining a tight focus on the two young women and their relationship with each other.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 17, 2022: GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE

“Brave” is a word that gets thrown around a lot when it comes to acting, often when a performer — particularly a woman — dares to look unattractive on screen. Think Charlize Theron in Monster, Jennifer Aniston in Cake, and even Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones. Well, those ladies are all cowards compared to Emma Thompson, who boldly bares it all, literally and lovingly, in Sophie Hyde’s intimate drama Good Luck to You, Leo Grande.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 10, 2022: OFFICIAL COMPETITION

As long as there have been movies, there have been movies about making movies. Some are serious, some are silly; some are dark, some are light. One thing most have in common is that they always seem to bring those involved that particularly satisfying form of glee that comes from casting a critical light on something you have a complex relationship with. All of that is in play in Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat’s sharp showbiz satire Official Competition.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 3, 2022: THE JANES

It would be nice if Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes’ documentary The Janes could be viewed strictly as part of the historical record — a detailed account of “how things used to be.” But with women’s right to choose still under relentless attack and Roe v. Wade seemingly on the brink of being reversed, this film about a group of young women who worked tirelessly in the late 1960s and early ’70s to help provide access to safe illegal abortions couldn’t be more timely.

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THE JANES – Review by Jennifer Merin

Filmmakers Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes’ compelling documentary is a deep dive into the lives and labors of a group of extraordinarily brave, generous and socially conscious activist women, collectively known as Jane, who worked clandestinely in Chicago to help women terminate unwanted pregnancies at a time when anyone seeking, facilitating and/or conducting abortions faced criminal charges and long term imprisonment.

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