MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 28, 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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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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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 31, 2021: THE VELVET QUEEN

Introspective and breathtakingly beautiful, Marie Amiguet and Vincent Munier’s documentary The Velvet Queen is about much more than tracking down the elusive snow leopard — although the quest to film that majestic beast is central to the story. In capturing the musings of Munier, an award-winning wildlife photographer, and novelist Sylvain Tesson as they pursue the leopard in the mountains of Tibet, the film offers insight into the power of patience, resilience, and determination.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 24, 2021: PARALLEL MOTHERS

Pedro Almodovar is no stranger to telling compelling stories about complex women, from Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown to All About My Mother to Volver and more. His streak continues with Parallel Mothers, an emotional drama about connection, coincidence, and the ties that bind us. Penelope Cruz and Milena Smit star as two women whose lives are irrevocably entwined after they give birth in the same hospital on the same day.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 17: THE LOST DAUGHTER

A meditation on the tension between motherhood and personal identity, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s feature directorial debut The Lost Daughter — adapted from Elena Ferrante’s same-named novel — is frank in its admission that, for all of its rewards, parenting can be a pretty rough gig. No one knows that more than Leda (Olivia Colman, in a stellar performance), whose life choices come back to haunt her during what’s intended to be a relaxing Greek vacation.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 3, 2021: THE POWER OF THE DOG

It has been 12 years since film titan Jane Campion released a feature film. Now, with The Power of the Dog, the New Zealand director shows she has lost not a step. Her adaptation of Thomas Savage’s 1967 Western novel offers the vivid landscapes and hothouse emotions reminiscent of the film that put her on the world map, The Piano (1993). A piano even serves as an important plot point.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 19, 2021: LADY BUDS

By turns idealistic and realistic, hopeful and frustrating, Chris J. Russo’s documentary Lady Buds is an engaging look at the budding (pun intended) legal marijuana business and a few of the determined, persevering, independent women who see opportunities for themselves and their friends/family members amid the cannabis plants’ verdant green leaves. As it tells their stories, it explores the impact that legalization has had on small businesses as large corporations swoop in on a new market.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 12, 2021: JULIA

Documentarians Betsy West and Julie Cohen treat their subject, the inestimable Julia Child, with both respect and honesty, building a portrait of a woman who was as complex as the food she so adored. Ultimately, Julia is very much like one of Child’s beloved French recipes: a proven quantity that’s made with excellent ingredients, flavored with the right blend of spices, and assembled with care and enthusiasm. And the cooking footage will leave you drooling.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 5, 2021: HIVE

Perseverance in the face of uncertainty and repression is at the heart of writer/director Blerta Basholli’s feature debut, Hive, which illustrates the devastating real-life impact of the Kosovo War through the story of a determined woman named Fahrije (Yllka Gashi). Left in the painful limbo of not knowing whether her long-missing husband is dead or alive, Fahrije must defy norms and expectations to protect her family, proving herself a true heroine in the process.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 29, 2021: PASSING

Based on Nella Larsen’s same-named novella, Rebecca Hall’s powerful 1920s-set directorial debut, Passing, tells the story of two friends — Irene (Tessa Thompson) and Clare (Ruth Negga) — who unexpectedly reunite after a long separation, only to discover that their lives have taken very different trajectories. As it reveals what happens after their paths re-cross, the film examines complex issues related to race, identity, marriage, motherhood, and more.

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