MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 15, 2019: ATLANTICS

Dreamy and full of unexpected twists, Mati Diop’s narrative debut Atlantics — Grand Jury Prize winner at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival — is simultaneously a tender tale of star-crossed lovers, an eerie ghost story, and a gritty procedural. That unusual combination keeps it surprising and engaging throughout and underlines writer/director Diop’s notable talent.

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ATLANTICS – Review by Loren King

What a stunning, original, visually striking feature debut from Mati Diop. Senegal’s entry for Best International Film Oscar consideration,Atlantics made history and generated wide interest when it won the Grand Prix at Cannes. Not just that, but Diop, who is of African and French heritage, became the first black woman to direct a film featured in the Festival’s Competition section.

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Mati Diop talks Patriarchy, Ghosts and ATLANTICS – Leslie Combemale interviews

With her new film Atlantics, writer/director Mati Diop has the distinction of not only being the first woman of color to have a film accepted into competition at the Cannes Film Festival, she is also the first to win the Grand Prix. In the film, a group of Senegalese construction workers in Dakar have been denied months of pay. Mati Diop was present at the Middleburg Film Festival, where we discussed the origin of the film’s story and character, as well as some of its powerful messages.

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Middleburg Film Festival 2019 Wrap-Up – Sandie Angulo Chen reports

Now in its seventh year, the Middleburg Film Festival in bucolic Virginia horse country continues to feature a well-curated slate of top-notch narrative and documentary feature films from around the world. Washington D.C.-area AWFJ members in attendance included Nell Minow and Susan Wloszczyna, both of whom participated in the Talk Back to the Critics’ session, as well as Leslie Combemale and Sandie Angulo Chen. Between us, we saw at least 40 films, and we’ve picked our favorite women-focused films and performances from the festival for readers to put on their must-watch lists.

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ATLANTICS – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Atlantics is set in Senegal, where a young man called Souleiman (Ibrahima Traoré) is one of many young construction workers we meet in the midst of their discovery that they have been exploited by their employer, their promises of long-overdue wages now revealed to be empty. Hot and crushed into the back of a truck as he returns home, the desperate young men are forced to look for alternate ways to survive; these are the circumstances that leads Souleiman to the ill-fated decision to join many of the others in attempting the perilous journey to Spain in a poorly-equipped boat to find a better life as refugees.

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NEW YORK FILM FEST ’19: Great (but too few) Female Filmmakers – Jennifer Merin reports

Programming for this year’s 57th New York Film Festival, held from September 15 to October 23, suggests that this highly regarded cinema showcase has little regard for the 5050×2020 gender parity initiative. Of the 66 feature films presented in this year’s 26-day schedule, just 11 were directed by women. That’s a mere 16.666666666667%, and a very long short fall from the 50/50 by 2020 goal. That said, the female-directed films that were showcased in this year’s NYFF program are absolutely brilliant. Here’s a run down.

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