MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 27, 2022: THE CONDUCTOR

Tenacious, focused, persistent, and tireless in her pursuit of her dream, Marin Alsop is the subject of Bernadette Wegenstein’s upbeat documentary The Conductor. The first woman to lead a major American symphony orchestra, Alsop has fought tooth and nail for every achievement in her impressive career, subverting the patriarchy as often as possible and using her success to lift others from traditionally marginalized groups up along with her. Her story is absolutely compelling.

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THE CONDUCTOR – Review by Loren King

The Conductor is an illuminating portrait of Marin Alsop, distinguished orchestra conductor, protégée of Leonard Bernstein, and the first woman to serve as music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, and the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. Bernadette Wegenstein’s supremely entertaining film succeeds as a compelling portrait of the artist. But it is about so much more: an inside look at the rigors and politics of the classical music world that denied Alsop opportunities because of her gender and how the low-key but tenacious Alsop achieved her dream despite the obstacles.

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THE CONDUCTOR – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

Watching Bernadette Wegenstein’s doc The Conductor is an uplifting and educational treat as we get to know Marin Alsop. Back in 2007, she broke the glass ceiling of classical music when she achieved her dream of becoming the first ever female to be chosen to be a music director for a major American orchestra — namely the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. She also became the first woman to conduct the Sao Paulo Orchestra as well as the first woman to conduct BBC’s Last Night of the Proms. In 2020, she became the first female ever appointed as chief conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony.

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THE CONDUCTOR – Review by Jennifer Merin

Using a wealth of archival and recently recorded footage with Marin Alsop’s on camera interviews and her voice over narration, docmaker Bernadette Wegenstein follows the extraordinarily gifted and utterly charming maestra from her childhood in a musical household through her studies at Yale, her days as a violinist in a swing band, her education at Julliard and tutelage under the legendary Leonard Bernstein to her current status as one of the few and arguably the most highly regarded and sought after women wielding batons in the world’s classical music realm.

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THE CONDUCTOR – Review by Leslie Combemale

So many people think that the fight for equality is over, and women are welcome with open arms in all fields of endeavor. Yet, it was only in 2007 that The Conductor subject Marin Alsop became the first woman to hold the position of music director with a major American orchestra, becoming the 12th with the title at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. To this day, she is still the only female conductor heading a major American orchestra.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 21, 2022: STOP-ZEMLIA

Named after an Eastern European version of the game of tag, the title of Kateryna Gornostai’s raw, naturalistic drama Stop-Zemlia translates to “stop the world” — a fitting phrase for a movie that’s all about the angst and emotional intensity of being a teenager. It’s set in Ukraine, but it could be the story of almost any teen equipped with a smartphone, social media, and the anxiety that comes along with living in the modern world.

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STOP-ZEMLIA – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

When you’re in your adolescence, every step ypu take on the road to maturity is fraught with emotion and exploration, whether it involves sex, under-age drinking, the use of illegal drugs or flirting with both sexes while defining yourself as a person. In Stop-Zemlia, Ukrainian filmmaker Kateryna Gornostai, known for her documentary work, uses her tools to crack open what it’s like to be Sweet 16 and in high school in this Eastern Europe country.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 14, 2022 – WHO WE ARE: A CHRONICLE OF RACISM IN AMERICA

Once more, for those in the back: The United States is a racist country. As lawyer Jeffrey Robinson, the deputy legal director and director of the Trone Center for Justice & Equality at the ACLU, clearly and eloquently reminds viewers in Sarah Kunstler and Emily Kunstler’s must-see documentary Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America, the U.S. was founded by White men who enslaved Black people, and that legacy has had an impact on everything that has come since.

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WHO WE ARE: A CHRONICLE OF RACISM IN AMERICA – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

In the documentary Who We Are, Black attorney Jeffrey Robinson, who has been a lawyer for 40 years, performs as the film’s screenwriter, presenter and star as he delivers a lecture on about how our country continues to push aside our increasing divisions when it comes to our ingrained culture that still embraces white supremacy and institutionalized racism in our society. Here is a man, we are told, who is about to argue his most important case.

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