MOVIE OF THE WEEK February 10, 2023: CINEMA SABAYA

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself having to confirm whether Israeli writer/director Orit Fouks Rotem’s Cinema Sabaya is a drama or a documentary. She takes such an authentic, cinema verite approach to her subjects — a disparate group of eight Jewish and Arab women who get to know each other while taking an introductory filmmaking class — that it’s easy to believe you’re watching real life unfold on screen.

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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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MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 20, 2023: AFTER LOVE

Grieving widow Mary (Joanna Scanlan) is dismayed to discover that her late husband, Ahmed (Nasser Memarzia), had a secret second life — and family — in writer/director Aleem Khan’s moving feature debut After Love. Anchored by the nuanced, authentic performances of Scanlan and co-star Nathalie Richard, the film explores the impact of grief and deception as it follows what h appens when the two women in Ahmed’s life cross paths.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 12, 2023: SAINT OMER

Saint Omer shows us that people are flawed and fragile, and that we all have a need to be seen and acknowledged. Our choices and actions define us, but we can’t always explain why we do what we do. In a world that seeks clear-cut motivations and places to lay blame, the complexity of personal history and traumatic experience means that there are shades of gray everywhere we look. Filmmaker Alice Diop understands this and lets this powerful, painful true story speak for itself.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 6, 2023: AFTERSUN

A woman’s sun-drenched recollections of a childhood holiday with her troubled father become poignant and melancholy as she revisits them two decades later in Scottish writer/director Charlotte Wells’ impressive feature debut Aftersun. Boasting excellent, authentic performances from stars Paul Mescal and young newcomer Frankie Corio, the film builds viewers’ empathy as it explores the nature of memory and the main characters’ loving but bumpy father-daughter relationship.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 21, 2022: WOMEN TALKING

Morality, autonomy, agency, and community intersect in writer/director Sarah Polley‘s absorbing drama Women Talking. Literary in its pedigree — it’s adapted from Canadian author Miriam Toews’ same-named 2018 novel — and play-like in its simplicity of setting and scope, the thought-provoking film explores what happens when a group of women in a conservative, isolated religious colony must make a decision that will affect all of their lives forever.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 16, 2022: CORSAGE

In Marie Kreutzer’s memorable drama Corsage, Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Vicki Krieps) is floundering. Bogged down by the weight of lifelong social obligations, relentless public scrutiny, restrictive gender roles, and even her own bountiful head of hair, she’s a woman who’s longing to break free. That urge to rebel, to follow her heart instead of the path she’s been forced to follow since birth, drives the action in this insightful film.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 9, 2022: HIDDEN LETTERS

A secret written language shared among Chinese women, empowering a centuries-long legacy of covert sisterhood, is at the heart of Violet Feng’s thought-provoking, insightful documentary Hidden Letters. Known as Nushu, this language is an incredibly important part of China’s cultural history — but now that it’s no longer secret, can it retain its purpose and power? And are Chinese women really free of the circumstances that led to its creation in the first place?

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 2, 2022: SCRAP

In a world overrun with stuff, it’s all too easy to turn a blind eye to what happens to that stuff when we’re done using it. In Scrap, Stacey Tenenbaum takes a deliberate, thoughtful look at the afterlife of everything from cars to cell phone components, introducing us to people around the world whose interest in old, worn-out things gives them a chance at rebirth — and gives us a glimpse at the potential hiding within even the rustiest piece of “junk.”

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK Nov 25, 2022: LAST FLIGHT HOME

Documentaries don’t get much more intimate than Ondi Timoner’s deeply personal Last Flight Home, which captures the last few weeks of her father Eli’s life before he chooses to end it through physician-assisted suicide. As Eli’s family gathers to bid him farewell and help each other through this heartwrenching transition, they celebrate his memorable life and their enduring love for him, as well as wrestle with their feelings about the decision he’s made.

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