MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 25, 2023: OUR FATHER, THE DEVIL

Themes of identity, memory, trauma, and the possibility of second chances come together in a potent blend in writer/director Ellie Foumbi’s gripping debut feature Our Father, the Devil. Part character study, part thriller, it centers on a woman whose horrifying past unexpectedly comes back to haunt her years after she believes she’s left it behind — and she isn’t at all ready for what that might mean.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 28, 2023: SUSIE SEARCHES

Part Only Murders in the Building, part Nancy Drew, and part Wednesday, Susie Searches is a charming, appealingly quirky little mystery with some genuinely surprising twists. Stylish and well-acted, this story about an earnest, ambitious armchair detective (played by Kiersey Clemons) marks the feature directorial debut of Sophie Kargman, who co-wrote the screenplay with William Day Frank based on their 2020 short, also titled Susie Searches, in which Kargman originated the title role.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 12, 2013: THE MOTHER

Jennifer Lopez takes the concept of the “mama bear” and ratchets it up several notches to “raging grizzly mom” in Niki Caro’s tense action thriller The Mother. Lopez’s unnamed sniper/assassin mows down bad guys without flinching — or remorse — as she puts everything on the line to save the daughter she reluctantly gave up at birth to protect her from the evildoers who will stop at nothing to wreak their revenge.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 7, 2023: THE LOST WEEKEND: A LOVE STORY

Sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll — they’re all present in The Lost Weekend: A Love Story, the revelatory documentary from filmmakers Eve Brandstein, Richard Kaufman, and Stuart Samuels, about former music executive May Pang’s experiences with John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the 1970s. But this isn’t a salacious, Behind the Music-style expose. Rather, it’s a thoughtful, loving reminiscence about the formative role the relationship played in Pang’s life – and its lasting impact.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 31, 2023: A THOUSAND AND ONE

Teyana Taylor is fiercely compelling as Inez, a mother with a complicated history who will do anything for her son, Terry, in writer/director A.V. Rockwell’s powerful drama A Thousand and One. That includes pulling him out of the foster system without permission (in other words, kidnapping him) and giving him a new name to protect him and their life together. As the film follows Inez and Terry over more than a decade, it captures the highs and lows of their relationship and the bond that connects them.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 3, 2023: PALM TREES AND POWER LINES

A teenage girl looking for connection and affection falls prey to an older man who says all the right things — but has all the wrong intentions — in Jamie Dack’s wrenching drama Palm Trees and Power Lines. Often difficult to watch as it follows lonely Lea’s (Lily McInerny) willing entry into Tom’s (Jonathan Tucker) untrustworthy orbit, the film is ultimately part character study and part grooming cautionary tale.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK February 24, 2023: JUNIPER

Sam is hurting, still grieving the fairly recent death of his mother and angry at his father, Robert , for not finding a way to bridge the ensuing distance between them. In fact, Robert has packed Sam off to boarding school — and now expects Sam to spend his holidays helping care for his grandmother, Ruth, a former globe-trotting photo journalist who now needs somewhere to stay after suffering a particularly nasty broken leg. Not only is Ruth distant and irascible, but she’s also an alcoholic who literally hurls a glass at Sam when he dares to water down her drink. Charlotte Rampling is brilliant in the role.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK February 17, 2023: A RADIANT GIRL

There’s something incredibly poignant about watching someone happily going about their everyday life with no idea that history is coming for them, inescapably and inexorably. Such is the circumstance of Irène (Rebecca Marder), the young, exuberant, and Jewish main character of A Radiant Girl. That’s because writer/director Sandrine Kiberlain’s debut feature is set in German-occupied Paris in 1942, when being Jewish was quickly becoming very, very dangerous.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK February 3, 2023: BODY PARTS

“Penises are pornography; tits are art.” This pithy summary of the double standard when it comes to nudity in movies comes courtesy of delightfully frank trans actress Alexandra Billings about halfway through director Kristy Guevara-Flanagan’s engaging documentary Body Parts. Billings is one of a host of smart, thoughtful actors and filmmakers interviewed about the history of sexualizing female bodies on the screen — and the impact that’s had on the industry and the culture both on screen and off.

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BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2023: One-A-Day Movie Watch List

Welcome to the Alliance of Women Film Journalists’ 2023 Black History Month Movie Watch List of 28 essential movies, a one-a-day selection of films to view during February 2023. Our titles were selected from hundreds of the beautifully crafted, relevant and relatable films that elucidate Black experiences, tell stories of Black lives and illuminate Black history — and represent recent trending productions about Black history and culture. The films represent a variety of diverse perspectives as expressed in both obscure titles and blockbusters, covering genres ranging from romcom to horror, from sci fi fantasy to biopic and documentary, with release dates ranging from 1920 to the present. We amplify the work of women filmmakers, especially regarding films released during 2022, a year in which Black women directors provided the movie-going world with an outstanding collection of brilliant films that will be important and elucidating representations of Black stories and culture for decades to come.

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