FULL TIME – Review by Jennifer Green

Full Time (À Plein Temps) is a movie that is so well-structured and so naturally acted it completely absorbs you. Its rapid-fire pace, especially through the first hour, is supported by an extremely efficient editing that trims away anything superfluous and leaves a lean, quick and meaningful film where every scene matters, even the flash of maids whipping apron ties closed. Look away and you miss something.

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PETIT MAL – Review by Jennifer Green

It’s a brave thing to open up your life and home to a camera, even as a “real fiction,” as the throuple of Ruth Caudeli, Silvia Varón and Ana María Otálora have done in Petit Mal. They are full of the courage or arrogance (or both) of being young and in love and full of creative energy. Perhaps if director Caudeli had erred on the side of more fiction and less reality, their film would have been more entertaining. As it is, the Spanish-language film may make an important contribution toward representation of throuples on screen, but it ultimately plays like a home movie of three young women with very little to say.

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ALL EYES OFF ME – Review by Jennifer Green

The Israeli feature All Eyes Off Me feels like a very personal film. It might even blur some lines between fiction and reality. Writer-director Hadas Ben Aroya and cinematographer Meidan Arama take us up extremely close on a handful of Tel Aviv twenty-somethings as they talk about their lives, make love and party. The film is also ostensibly about intimacy. However, it feels like a superficial intimacy based mostly on physical connection. We learn little about the characters’ lives, feelings and motivations. The endeavor leaves you a little empty as a result.

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CLOSE – Review by Jennifer Green

Belgium’s International Oscar submission, Close, tells the story of two young boys who enjoy an exceptionally close relationship. Their fondness manifests in a level of physical comfort which prompts classmates to ask whether they’re “together.” The line of questioning, and some homophobic teasing that follows, motivates one of the boys to push the other away and seek alternative friendships and involvement in ostensibly more masculine activities. The break leads to tragedy.

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THE QUIET GIRL – Review by Jennifer Green

The Quiet Girl, Ireland’s submission for this year’s International Oscar, is the kind of film you watch with a knot in your throat, knowing its gentle beauty and suggestive foreshadowing may give way to sadness, if not outright tragedy, compounded by the unalterable reality of its setting. This time and place – early 1980s rural Ireland – would seemingly have it no other way.

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THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN – Review by Jennifer Green

Categorized as a “musical or comedy,” Banshees is indeed laugh-out-loud funny at some of its more absurd moments. But it’s a dark humor that can almost make you feel bad about laughing once you realize just how tragic the characters and events director Martin McDonagh has scripted are. Their horizons are as limited as the view from their island, where an endlessly overcast sky vanishes into a grey sea.

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ALCARRAS – Review by Jennifer Green

This is a deceptively simple movie. It’s filmed with non-professional actors in a documentarian’s naturalistic, day-in-the-life style. It captures the realities of rural farm life in northwestern Spain (Alcarràs is a town in Catalonia) in a way that is rare for an international audience to see, providing accurate cultural details about the different generations of a single family. But more than its anthropological value, the film is also a beautifully shot and structured timepiece with a stealthily absorbing story.

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ARGENTINA, 1985 – Review by Jennifer Green

Argentina’s nominee to this year’s International Feature Film Oscar, currently streaming on Amazon Prime, is an emotional tour-de-force, a film based on historical events whose dramatic tale is punctuated by both moments of humor and details of horrific human rights abuses that took place under that country’s military dictatorship and so-called “Dirty War,” between 1976 and 1983. The film is about the landmark trial that prosecuted the former president and military leaders for those abuses, ensuring democracy in Argentina

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SHE SAID – Review by Jennifer Green

Is She Said the portrayal of female journalists we’ve been waiting for? A lot has been written about the depiction of female journalists in She Said, director Maria Schrader and scriptwriter Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s adaptation of New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s book about their Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Reviewers have praised the film for offering what other investigative journalism movies have not — the female perspective, especially outside the newsroom.

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AWFJ Presents ONLY WHEN I DANCE – Review by Jennifer Green

It is only when he’s dancing that Brazilian teen Irlan Santos da Silva says he feels like himself. Born and raised in one of Rio de Janeiro’s impoverished favelas, ballet has offered Irlan an escape from the chaos of the city streets. He confides this to director Beadie Finzi’s omnipresent camera in the 2009 documentary Only When I Dance, an intimate character portrait of two young dancers following their passion to overcome the odds of their upbringing in the Brazilian metropolis.

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