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 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 27, 2023: ONE FINE MORNING

A Parisian woman juggles the demands of motherhood and daughterhood while trying to claim a chance at love in writer-director Mia Hansen-Løve’s intimate drama One Fine Morning. Anchored by star Léa Seydoux’s authentic, naturalistic performance as single mom Sandra, the film is a quietly moving meditation on what it means to be a caregiver to others when what you may need more than anything is to be cared for yourself.

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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 December 30, 2022: BESTS of 2022

Team #MOTW looks back at the films we featured during 2022 and highlights our favorites. There are many things about 2022 that we want to forget, but these femme-helmed/femme centric films that brought inspiration, understanding, compassion, and respite replete with laughter are not among them — and they must not slip into oblivion. Add them to your watch list. Share the titles with friends. Enjoy all of AWFJ’s Best #MOTWs of 2022.

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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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In Memoriam: Julia Reichert (1946-2022)

Moviemakers, movie lovers social justice advocates are mourning the loss of the great Julia Reichert, known to those who admired and adored her as the “Godmother of American independent documentaries.” When she and In her partner Steven Bognar accepted the Robert and Anne Drew Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking at DOC NYC’s 2019 Visionaries Tribute, Julia Reichert, then fighting the disease that eventually took her life, tweaked the audience a bit with a teaser about “stumbling upon the secret to great documentary cinematography.” A full four minutes later, she finally revealed the answer: “Editing.”

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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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