MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 30, 2020 – US KIDS

If there’s any upside to the turmoil and tragedy that the United States — and the world — has been experiencing in recent years, it’s the fact that it’s shaping and motivating a powerful surge of youth activism. While it’s certainly not fair for society to look to teenagers to solve problems caused by generations of adults, there’s no denying the passion, drive, and ingenuity of change-makers like Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg, and the Parkland shooting survivors. Filmmaker Kim A. Snyder introduces us to several of the latter in her moving documentary Us Kids.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 23, 2020: ON THE ROCKS

On the Rocks feels a bit like what you’d get if Woody Allen and Wes Anderson made a movie together — only with a lot more feminine energy, empathy, and understanding. Sofia Coppola’s dramedy tackles modern marriage, motherhood, career uncertainty, and parent/adult child relationships with a light touch and strong performances from a talented cast.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK, October 16, 2020: YELLOW ROSE

Both a timely drama about the harsh nature of U.S. immigration policy and its impact on families, and a poignant coming-of-age story, Diane Paragas’ semi-autobiographical first feature Yellow Rose centers on a talented Filipina teenager living in Texas whose love of country music is one of the few things she has left after her world abruptly crumbles around her.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 9, 2020: THE GLORIAS

Modern feminism owes a lot to Gloria Steinem, and director Julie Taymor revels in explaining why in The Glorias, her creative biopic about a woman who has fought tirelessly throughout her life for the rights of all women. Taking the title of Steinem’s autobiography — My Life on the Road — literally, Taymor centers her story on a bus on which primary passengers are Steinem at different ages: child (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), young teen (Lulu Wilson), young woman (Alicia Vikander), and mature activist (Julianne Moore).

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 2, 2020: MISBEHAVIOUR

Activism and intersectionality are at the heart of Philippa Lowthorpe’s fact-based dramedy Misbehaviour, which follows the tumultuous events surrounding the 1970 Miss World pageant in London and their impact on the women’s liberation movement. While always firmly on the side of the feminists who disrupted the event to protest its objectification of women, the film also makes sure to include other important perspectives on women’s roles and representations — which ultimately makes its message all the more effective.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK September 4, 2020: THE MOLE AGENT

Both a charming story about a most unlikely spy and a poignant meditation on the loneliness of growing old, Maite Alberdi’s engaging film The Mole Agent isn’t your everyday documentary. Like the Chilean filmmaker’s previous films, it has its own rhythm and style, feeling like a hybrid of nonfiction and carefully observed drama.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 25, 2020: LINGUA FRANCA

In telling the story of undocumented transgender Filipina caregiver Olivia, writer/director/actress Isabel Sandoval’s quietly powerful drama Lingua Franca calls attention to an issue that too many people find easy to dismiss as not their concern. And it does so with empathy and humanity, hopefully opening hearts and minds before the credits roll.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 21, 2020: AFRICAN VIOLET

Both poignant and insightful, Mona Zandi Haqiqi’s African Violet is a slice-of-life drama set in a working class neighborhood in Tehran. With strong, naturalistic performances and a vivid sense of place, Haqiqi’s film draws you into its characters’ lives, sharing their triumphs and challenges and creating understanding and building strong feelings of empathy.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 31, 2020: RADIOACTIVE

In a time when we seem forced to plead with society daily to believe both women and science, the story of Marie Curie feels especially relevant, despite taking place more than a century ago. Marjane Satrapi’s Radioactive brings this fierce, opinionated, passionate woman (played powerfully by Rosamund Pike) to vivid life, chronicling how she changed the course of history with her discovery of radium.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 24, 2020: WE ARE THE RADICAL MONARCHS

Director Linda Goldstein Knowlton may have started filming We Are the Radical Monarchs in 2015, but this compelling documentary about a scouting troop specifically and intentionally centered on girls of color couldn’t feel any more timely than it does in mid-2020, with social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement (finally) at the forefront of the public consciousness.

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