UNORTHODOX – Review by Martha K Baker

Netflix’ four-part series about a young woman seeking liberation fromNew York’s Hasidic community is positively riveting. The series, impressively directed by Maria Schrader, is based on the memoir by Deborah Feldman entitled, significantly, Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots.

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I AM NOT AN EASY MAN – Review by Leslie Combemale

Imagine we lived in a world where women have been seen as the stronger sex and in charge of everything. It’s true that women, in large part, raise the children, do the lion’s share of domestic chores, all while still working outside the home for less, often in lower positions, and therefore arguably keep the world from devolving into complete chaos, but it’s still hard to do, isn’t it? Yet that’s the fertile environment in I Am Not An Easy Man. Our unprecedented times call for all the comedy and wish fulfillment we can safely get our hands on. For that, I give you I Am Not an Easy Man.

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FROM BAGHDAD TO THE BAY (OXFF2020) – Review by Diane Carson

Documentary director Erin Palmquist’s From Baghdad to the Bay takes the viewer on a roller coaster ride, following Ghazwan Alsharif from Baghdad to San Francisco, as the title accurately announces. With apologies to Charles Dickens, this modern-day tale of two cities does encompass the best of times and the worst of times for Alsharif.

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AN ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM (SXSW2020) – Review by Marina Antunes

Katrine Philp’s An Elephant in the Room follows children in mourning for deceases parents. The film comes at a difficult time when conversations about death and grief may be central to the lives of many families. It’s reassuring to see that regardless of how deep the grief may be, we can get through it — but it’s easier if you don’ t go at it alone.

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RESISTANCE – Review by Carol Cling

Resistance recounts an undeniably fascinating, fact-based WWII story involving, among others, a young man who would become world famous — and another who became forever infamous. It’s a tale well worth telling — and remembering. Sometimes because of, and sometimes despite, the way it’s told.

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THE WRETCHED – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Make no mistake, The Wretched is a strikingly polished feature debut that’s a thoroughly fun way to kill an hour and a half. A film that succeeds in its exploration of child abuse but is less accomplished in its broader gender politics, The Wretched is clearly driven by a spirit of nostalgia for older horror adventure films, it’s just a shame it let some pretty outdated clichés come along for the ride.

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THE PERFECT CANDIDATE – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

A few years ago, Haifaa Al-Mansour made history with her Wadjda, a delightful tale of a little girl in Riyadh who really just desperately wants a bicycle. After a few detours into English-language, Western-set films, Al-Mansour returns home with The Perfect Candidate, about a young doctor who runs for her local Riyadh municipal council.

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THE RABBI GOES WEST (OXFF2020) – Review by Lois Alter Mark

Did you hear the one about the Brooklyn rabbi who moves to Montana and celebrates his daughter’s birthday at a shooting range? There’s no punchline to this. It’s a real scene from The Rabbi Goes West, a fascinating and surprising documentary about the Jewish community in Big Sky Country.

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