THE NIGHTINGALE – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

In Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale, the monsters are white human males of privilege who commit horrifying atrocities in order to maintain their presumed superior status. Set in early 19th-century Tasmania, the gorgeous primordial surroundings are in stark contrast to the constant acts of ugliness and brutality primarily committed by British soldiers against convicts from England and Ireland who are constantly debased and abused. Women and native Aborigines are placed on even lower rungs, meant to serve the needs of the ruling military class.

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THE NIGHTINGALE – Review by Loren King

Writer/director Jennifer Kent knows just what she wants in The Nightingale. There’s no soft-pedaling around the brutality and violence central to her story about the dehumanizing and vicious treatment of women and the indigenous people of Australia by men with power during colonization.

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THE NIGHTINGALE – Review by Sheila Roberts

Jennifer Kent’s masterful writing and direction foster empathy for the plight of all the characters, both good and bad. She avoids the usual cathartic violence and exploitative storytelling tropes of revenge thrillers we’re accustomed to, and elicits strong, compelling performances. She takes an unflinching look at Colonialism — how racism and gender violence affect us, how they have always been used as weapons of war to marginalize and destabilize a vulnerable society, and why compassion is so essential.

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THE NIGHTINGALE -Review by Leslie Combemale

Chilling, haunting, bracing, repulsive, heartbreaking…these are all apt descriptors of various parts of writer/director Jennifer Kent’s sophomore feature. It may be excruciating to watch, but it is also spectacularly good, and likely to remain on the top of my best of 2019 list. But I’m not watching it again to make sure. If you are as a viewer triggered by scenes of rape, torture, and murder, move along. This is not the feminist revenge drama you’re looking for.

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Waad al-Khateab, Hamza al-Khateab, Edward Watts Talk FOR SAMA – Sarah Knight Adamson interviews

For Sama has been championed as, “One of the most important films you’ll ever see in your life.” At the age of 21, Wadd al-Khateab, a college student in Aleppo, began filming the uprising in Syria. She continued filming for five years, capturing over 500 hours of film. “For Sama” is a love letter to her daughter Sama, a record of war conditions that presents Waad and husband Dr. Hamza al-Khateab’s reasons for staying in Aleppo until the end. Sarah Knight Adamson interviews Waad, Hamza and co-director Edward Watts about For Sama.

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HONEYLAND – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

The best saints are those who would strenuously deny that they are one. That is because their basic humanity is so hard-wired inside their being, they don’t have to think about how to treat others or how to not abuse what Mother Nature has provided us. Kindness, consideration and decency are just how they roll, no matter the hardships and negativity that might arise in their lives. Meet Honeyland‘s central character, Hatidze Muratowa, a traditional beekeeper in rural Macedonia.

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HONEYLAND – Review by Sheila Roberts

Honeyland is a riveting, deeply human story about a vanishing way of life. Kotevska and Stefanov enjoy a comfortable rapport with their subjects who appear natural and at ease revealing themselves in front of the camera. It makes for a breathtaking cinematic journey that’s not to be missed.

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HONEYLAND – Review by Cate Marquis

Honeyland is a documentary but it plays out so much like a narrative film, a touching drama, perhaps even an epic, that one has to remind oneself that it is documentary. There is no introductory text at the start to tell us who she is or where we are, and there is no voice-over. Instead it is just the fly-on-the-wall camera, some strikingly beautiful photography, and a dramatic story that unfolds like a narrative film, with moments of drama, of humor, and an unspoken message about cultural change and caring for the earth.

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FOR SAMA – Review by Loren King

“We never thought the world would let this happen.” That’s the haunting phrase from 26-year old filmmaker and activist Waad al-Kateab, who chronicles her life during the five years that her beloved city of Aleppo, Syria was destroyed by the corrupt government of Bashar al-Assad. If not turning away is how we must confront the violence, inhumanity and senselessness of war, this brutal, heart-wrenching film is essential viewing.

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FOR SAMA – Review by Susan Wlosczcyna

Never mind all those so-called superheroes that have dominated movie screens for the past two decades. Now is not the time for escapist fantasies. For Sama is the reality wake-up call we as a country desperately need right now, one that shows what happens to a society when corruption, injustice and oppression goes unchecked.

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