CUNNINGHAM – Review by Martha K Baker

Merce Cunningham changed the face — and the feet and the feats — of dance. People who know next to nothing about dance have probably heard of him, but Alla Kovgan’s documentary will fill in the blanks of this choreographic force. The Russian director interfaces vintage film with recreated dances in inventive spaces.

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BUCK RUN – Review by Loren King

The mood of loss and regret is palpable in this gritty indie drama about how neglected 15 year old Shaw Templeton (Nolan Lyons) struggles to cope in the days following his mother’s death.

Director Nick Frangione, working from a script by David Hauslein, creates a believable dead-end atmosphere in rural Pennsylvania (there are shots of Amish in the community) where Shaw lives with his mother (Amy Hargreaves) who has just died at home. A wig on the dresser and her relative youth is all we need to know about the cause; particularly affecting are flashbacks of Shaw as he helps his mother into the bathroom — he appears to be her sole caretaker — and his shock and denial when he finds her dead.

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AWFJ EDA Award 2019, Best Film: PARASITE – Review by Diane Carson

South Korean director Joon-ho Bong’s Parasite lives up to its name, meaning that it feeds off several film genres while remaining impressively unique. As with his earlier works (The Host, Mother, Snowpiercer, and Okja), Bong embeds a biting social critique in a dynamic narrative with unexpected risks and satisfying surprises. In Parasite, social inequality and class collision take center stage.

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CHICHINETTE: THE ACCIDENTAL SPY – Review by Leslie Combemale

For decades after the war, Marthe Huffnung Cohn, the subject of Nicola Alice Hens’s documentary Chichinette: The Accidental Spy, didn’t talk about her experience as a Holocaust survivor and Nazi fighter during World War II. Chichinette, loosely translated from French, means “little pain in the neck”. In watching the film, we get a sense of Cohn’s tenacity and the independent thinking that guided her from an early age. She was clearly a feminist from childhood, if feminism means believing women can and should be allowed to do all the things men do.

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CHICHINETTE: THE ACCIDENTAL SPY – Review by Pam Grady

Someday, some enterprising filmmaker will no doubt turn into thrilling drama Marthe Cohn’s eventful life as a Jewish woman who resisted the Nazis in France. But Cohn has lived a long enough life that filmmaker Nicola Alice Hens was able to commit the real woman and her memories to film in this entrancing documentary.

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CHICHINETTE: THE ACCIDENTAL SPY – Review by Sheila Roberts

Like many of her brilliant contemporaries — U.S. Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Holocaust survivor and renowned sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer, and acclaimed Canadian zoologist Dr. Anne Innis Dagg come immediately to mind – World War II spy Marthe Cohn’s crucial work behind enemy lines is finally receiving some well-deserved recognition in an inspiring documentary.

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CHICHINETTE: THE ACCIDENTAL SPY – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

During this chaotic time of near-constant political upheaval, we need all the heroes we can get. Thanks to documentary filmmaker Nicola Alice Hens, we meet one in the unlikely form of a tiny yet feisty 96-year-old German-born Jewish woman named Marthe Cohn who managed to change the course of World War II by working for the French Resistance and saving the lives of countless Allied soldiers as the conflict came to a close.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK: January 10, 2020: THE WOMAN WHO LOVES GIRAFFES

What’s not to love about a passionate, confident Canadian scholar who fought her way to Africa in the 1950s to study the animals she’d loved since she was a toddler? As chronicled in Alison Reid’s engaging documentary The Woman Who Loves Giraffes, the story of Dr. Anne Innis Dagg is full of warmth, intelligence, and — above all — spunk.

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DARK WATERS – Review by Diane Carson

In the vein of Erin Brockovich and Spotlight, Dark Waters charts the marathon, eighteen-year legal investigation and fight to hold DuPont responsible for lethal contamination of water in and around Parkersburg, West Virginia. This gripping, true story uncovers DuPont’s appalling dumping of over seven thousand tons of the toxic, nonbiodegradable chemical known as C8 or PFOA.

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