AWFJ @ Whistler Film Fest: Jurors and Nominated Films Announced – Jennifer Merin reports

For the ninth consecutive year, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists has had the honor to partner with Whistler Film Festival to recognize women filmmakers with presentation of EDA Awards for Best Female-Directed Feature Film and Best Female-Directed Short at the 2021 festival, held in person from December 1 to 5, and online through December 31, 2021.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 5, 2021: HIVE

Perseverance in the face of uncertainty and repression is at the heart of writer/director Blerta Basholli’s feature debut, Hive, which illustrates the devastating real-life impact of the Kosovo War through the story of a determined woman named Fahrije (Yllka Gashi). Left in the painful limbo of not knowing whether her long-missing husband is dead or alive, Fahrije must defy norms and expectations to protect her family, proving herself a true heroine in the process.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 29, 2021: PASSING

Based on Nella Larsen’s same-named novella, Rebecca Hall’s powerful 1920s-set directorial debut, Passing, tells the story of two friends — Irene (Tessa Thompson) and Clare (Ruth Negga) — who unexpectedly reunite after a long separation, only to discover that their lives have taken very different trajectories. As it reveals what happens after their paths re-cross, the film examines complex issues related to race, identity, marriage, motherhood, and more.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 22, 2021: WOMEN IS LOSERS

The patriarchy is far from dead, but every woman lucky enough to come of age in the United Stats in a post-RBG, post-Roe v. Wade world is likely to find Lissette Feliciano’s earnest, scrappy ’60-set drama Women Is Losers an eye-opening reminder of how much harder things used to be. It also serves as a powerful argument for why it’s so important not to lose the progress we’ve gained.

Read more

Horror Movies and Kids: A Scary Combination — Betsy Bozdech, Brandy McDonnell, Jennifer Merin, Nell Minow and Liz Whittemore comment

Research shows that, on average, kids see horror movies as young as 7 years old. And we’ve all noticed members of the PG crowd at decidedly R-rated movies — in fact, when my daughter was in the second grade, she had multiple classmates who’d seen “It.” It’s not realistic to expect that we can shield kids from scary or gory content forever. And, in fact, it can be counterproductive to prevent children from seeing any kind of conflict, loss, or trauma on screen. Far better to use these moments, when they come, as opportunities to help them through hard stuff in a safe place.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 15, 2021: BERGMAN ISLAND

Art imitates life and life imitates art in Mia Hansen-Løve’s leisurely, introspective drama Bergman Island. The film follows partners/fellow screenwriters Chris (Vicky Krieps) and Tony (Tim Roth) as they retreat to Fårö, the remote island that celebrated Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman called home. Eager for both inspiration and connection, the pair — especially Chris — instead find themselves restless and sometimes at odds. As their story unspools, so does that of the screenplay for which Chris is determined to find an ending.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 8, 2021: ASCENSION

A study in contrasts, director Jessica Kingdon’s observational documentary Ascension (her first feature) is a fascinating look at contemporary China, a country driven by both consumption and service, tradition and innovation. Kingdon’s camera captures a wide swathe of modern Chinese society — from phalanxes of factory workers to nouveau riche executives. Her remarkable level of access supports a fly-on-the-wall filmmaking style that lends itself to a truly intimate cinematic experience.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 1, 2021: STOP AND GO

Time has moved differently since March 2020, often slowing to a glacial crawl. For that reason, the charming road comedy Stop and Go — which is set during the early days of Covid-19 — already feels quaintly nostalgic. Remember when we doused everything in Lysol? And changed clothes after coming back from the store? And were terrified our loved ones would catch Covid and die? (Hmm. Maybe things haven’t changed so much since lockdown started after all.)

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK September 24, 2021: EL PLANETA

Part Grey Gardens, part Kajillionaire, and part Paper Moon, writer/director Amalia Ulman’s feature directorial debut, El Planeta, is also wholly its own beast. The film is a naturalistic, observational dramedy about a mother and daughter in Gijon, Spain, who find themselves facing impending eviction and doing whatever they need to in order to get by. Filmed in expressive black and white, El Planeta is a thoughtful, slice-of-life character study.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK September 17, 2021: I’M YOUR MAN

If Westworld had been a romcom instead of a gory sci-fi parable, it might have ended up looking something like Maria Schrader‘s winsome I’m Your Man, which follows a skeptical academic who agrees to test a “perfect partner” android in exchange for research funding support. Determined to poke the concept full of holes, she reluctantly finds herself drawn to her manufactured soulmate — and does a fair bit of self-analysis along the way.

Read more