NYFF 2022’s Unfamiliar Faces: Where are they now? – Margaret Barton-Fumo reports

A lot of big titles screened at the NYFF this year, many of which were directed by esteemed women filmmakers, including festival darlings Claire Denis, Kelly Reichardt and Joanna Hogg. Also of note were new films by Sarah Polley and Maria Schneider. Several women directors snuck in under the radar with films that largely challenged the status quo. Most of them were first-time directors or unfamiliar faces, infusing fresh blood into a somewhat tired festival circuit. We should be on the lookout for such women who enrich our filmgoing experience, introducing us to new methods of filmmaking. But where do these films go after the festival screening? The answer is not always clear-cut.

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ZOLA – Review by Liz Braun

A stripper gets more than she bargained for in Zola, a bawdy road trip about sex work, female friendship and the messy world of men. This is ostensibly a comedy, but there’s a dark side to it all that makes Zola a real innocence-to-experience trip, most of that captured through the performance of Taylour Paige in the title role. To put the best possible light on things, it’s a great yarn about storytelling.

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ZOLA – Review by April Neale

Noir dramedies based on “real people” and “true events” always resonate deeper and more receptively with those who find the characters familiar, relatable, and through the magic of great scriptwriters and stellar acting, redeemable.

In Zola, writer and director Janicza Bravo gives us a female “almost buddy” film that goes horribly south, showing off the worst of a particular class of white people, black people, and skeevy characters in-between the lot. Nobody, save for Zola, is someone you would want to know, but they sure can be funny.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Claire Denis’ HIGH LIFE Acquired by A24 – Brandy McDonnell reports

French filmmaker Claire Denis’ long-awaited English-language debut “High Life” is coming to theaters. A24 has acquired North American distribution rights to the Beau Travail helmer’s new sci-fi drama, which recently made its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. The distribution deal is reportedly in the low seven figures.

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