AWFJ Presents: ANTONIA’S LINE – Review by Leslie Combemale

With Antonia’s Line, writer/director Marleen Gorris created a film that is a celebration of life and an unflinching look at the challenges intergenerational women faced throughout the 20th century. The feminist filmmaker achieved what many great female directors before her could not: Antonia’s Line (1994) is the first foreign-language film by a female filmmaker to win an Oscar. That’s almost 40 years after the introduction of the foreign language category. Given the Oscars’ rather spotty history in terms of truly rewarding the best films, the question is, “Is Antonia’s Line really that good?” The answer is a resounding yes.

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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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AWFJ Presents: Julie Taymor’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM – Review by Joan Amenn

Anyone who found themselves uninspired by their high school English classes might remember that there was a small spark of fun to look forward to, if they were lucky. Should your instructor assign you to read, or better yet, watch a performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, you could anticipate some magical entertainment. Julie Taymor staged her own version of the classic in 2014 and fortunately, it was captured on film because it is astonishing.

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AWFJ Presents: AMOUR FOU – Review by Marilyn Ferdinand

The careful framing, gorgeous period settings, brilliantly orchestrated set-pieces, and vibrant colors of this film are a feast for the eyes, and I admired the subtle performances of this uniformly fine cast, especially Birte Schnoeink. She initially emerges as a shallow hausfrau without a thought in her head that her husband and acquaintances haven’t put there. As her situation grows more dire and her choices narrow, our laughter gives way to concern and a contemplation of what we owe to society and what we owe to ourselves. There is a shocking ambiguity to her actions and a genuine poignancy to her growing attraction to the eternal, but is she the victim of yet another man dumping his desires into her empty cranium? Trapped between two equally distressing outcomes from the audience’s point of view, we wait anxiously for Henriette to make her choice.

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