MOVIE OF THE WEEK Dec 6, 2019: PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE

A picture is worth a thousand words — and leads to a thousand longing glances — in writer/director Celine Sciamma’s passionate drama Portrait of a Lady on Fire. Set in remote mid-1700s Brittany, it follows the increasingly intense relationship between painter Marianne (Noemie Merlant) and her unknowing subject, Heloise (Adele Haenel), who has just left sheltered convent life.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 29, 2010: HALA

Just like romcoms, coming-of-age dramas often feel so familiar that it’s easy to be tempted to write them all off as trite or predictable. And then along comes a smart, engaging film like “Hala,” which brings fresh energy to the whole genre simply by reminding us how many diverse coming-of-age stories we haven’t yet heard.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 22, 2019: SHOOTING THE MAFIA

Anyone who’s ever winced at the mob violence and manipulation in The Godfather will quickly realize it has nothing on the real-life crimes of the Italian Mafia, as captured through Letitzia Battaglia’s talented eye and focused lens. The fearless photographer is the subject of Kim Longinotto’s fascinating documentary Shooting the Mafia.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK September 27, 2019: RIOT GIRLS

Scrappy and full of style, “Riot Girls” is a memorable first feature from director Jovanka Vuckovic, who shoots for cult-movie status with her story of warring teen factions in an alternate 1995 ravaged by a disease that’s wiped out everyone past the age of pimples and angst.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK September 20, 2019: EDIE

Fully embracing the idea that it’s never too late to follow a dream or try something new, Edie introduces us to a tenacious octogenarian who refuses to close the book on her life without — literally — climbing one last mountain. Sheila Hancock delivers a compelling lead performance as the titular Edie in director Simon Hunter’s poignant British dramedy about life, aging, friendship, and regret.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK September 13, 2019: ANGEL OF MINE

Moody and atmospheric, Kim Farrant’s Angel of Mine is part psychodrama, part thriller. Thanks to Farrant’s strong storytelling and confidently convincing performances from stars Noomi Rapace and Yvonne Strahovski, the film brings depth and nuance to its compelling tale of a woman convinced that her long-dead baby is actually alive and being raised by another family.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK September 6, 2019: TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID

Gritty and raw, Issa Lopez’ dark urban fairy tale Tigers Are Not Afraid (titled Vuelven in Spanish, which translates to They Come Back) centers on the devastating consequences of the drug trade, showing how the cartels’ criminal ways affect everyone in their path — including children, whose innocence disappears as quickly as the grown-ups in their lives.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 9, 2019: Jennifer Kent’s THE NIGHTINGALE

Beautifully filmed yet brutal to watch, Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale is a revenge drama that will resonate with any woman who’s been assaulted — or, for that matter, dismissed by society. Set in 1825 Tasmania, it follows the plight of Clare, an Irish convict who’s suffered years of abuse at the hands of a British officer and is driven by his brutality to seek brutal revenge. The Nightingale is difficult to watch, but it is most certainly a must see.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 26, 2019: FOR SAMA

Raw, intimate, and devastating, Waad Al-Khateab’s documentary For Sama is a powerful story of what it was like to live in Aleppo during several years of Syria’s destructive civil war. Co-directed by Edward Watts, the film explores the human consequences and casualties of battle, while simultaneously proving that life can continue — and even flourish — in even the most hellish circumstances.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 19, 2019: Claudia Myers’ ABOVE THE SHADOWS

Just about everyone ends up feeling invisible at some point during their teen years — but what if you actually disappeared? That’s what happens to Holly in writer/director Claudia Myers Above the Shadows, a drama/fantasy that serves as an allegory for what it’s like to be marginalized out of your very existence.

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