MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 7, 2018: CAPERNAUM

motw logo 1-35.Nadine Labaki’s painfully honest drama about a street-smart Lebanese boy who sues his parents for neglect (“for giving me life,” as he tells the judge) is relentlessly gritty, but it also never loses its humanity. The latter is largely thanks to 12-year-old Zain (Zain Al Rafeea), the compelling character at the center of the story. Because, despite every awful thing life throws in his path, he never stops caring for those who’ve earned his affection.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 30, 2018: Best 2018 #MOTWs

motw logo 1-35.AWFJ’s Movie of the Week focuses attention on excellent films directed by women and/or centered on the stories of complex and fully realized women characters who are grappling — directly or metaphorically — with the issues women face in daily life. From January 1 to November 23 of this year, we have designated 48 Movie of the Week films. All of these have had strong women characters and 36 of them have been directed by women. We heartily applaud the variety of style and story, we honor the moviemakers who’ve brought them to the screen. As year end holidays approach and the movie awards season heats up, Team #MOTW members revisit our selections to suggest their favorites for immediate viewing.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 23, 2018: PIONEERS: FIRST WOMEN FILMMAKERS

motw logo 1-35The invaluable film distributor Kino Lorber has assembled a truly eye-opening collection of films from the silent era—all made by women. Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers is a DVD/Blu-ray box set that presents more than 50 silent feature and short films digitally mastered from 2k and 4K restorations from a variety of sources. The six disc set is divided by subject matter. Disc one is devoted to the works of Alice Guy-Blaché. All together, the set is essential viewing.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK, November 2, 2018: WHAT THEY HAD

motw logo 1-35What They Had, the first feature from actress-turned-writer/director Elizabeth Chomko, is a stirring family drama in which adult siblings, Bridget (Hilary Swank) and Nick (Michael Shannon) are trying to cope with their mother’s (Blythe Danner) progressive dementia and their father’s (Robert Forster) denial of her disability. Chomko’s well-crafted script and sensitive direction, and the superb performances from the stellar ensemble bring a balance of heartbreak and humor to this painful and entirely relatable situation.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 19, 2018: CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?

Melissa McCarthy trades pratfalls and slapstick for wry wit and introspection in Marielle Heller’s keenly observed biopic “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” McCarthy plays biographer Lee Israel, whose brief time in the Manhattan publishing scene’s spotlight has passed, leaving her bitter, lonely, and strapped for cash, which ultimately leads to a life of literary crime. It’s a compelling role for McCarthy, who seems to relish the opportunity to take on more serious material.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK September 21, 2018: COLETTE

Keira Knightley shines as the star of Wash Westmoreland’s “Colette,” a beautifully realized biopic about the early years of the celebrated French writer. Knightly immerses herself in the role, bringing Colette’s personal struggles — and self-awakening — vividly to life within the lavish Belle Epoche environs established with gorgeous sets, costumes and cimenatography.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 10, 2018: SKATE KITCHEN

motw logo 1-35That Crystal Moselle’s Skate Kitchen often feels more like a documentary than a scripted drama is no surprise, given Moselle’s experience as a documaker and her cast of real-life NYC skateboarders playing fictionalized versions of themselves. The film delivers its story about female friendship with verve and authenticity.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 3, 1018: NIGHT COMES ON

motw logo 1-35Brilliantly authentic performances and a poignant, timely story, make Jordana Spiro’s superb debut feature a powerful drama about pain, regret, purpose, and sisterhood. It is the coming of age of a young Black woman named Angel (Dominique Fishback) whose once happy childhood fell victim to drugs and violence, leaving her angry and alone.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 20, 2018: 93Queen

motw logo 1-35Paula Eiselt’s documentary follows Rachel ‘Ruchie’ Freier, an Orthodox Jewish wife, mother and lawyer, as she launches an all-female ambulance corps to serve women of NY’s Hasidic community in Brooklyn. The result is a compelling glimpse inside an insular community and a fascinating portrait of a determined feminist.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 29, 2018: LEAVE NO TRACE

motw logo 1-35Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace is a gripping drama about a teenage girl living with her dissident father in survivalist mode in the woods, shunning society until authorities force them to enter the mainstream and conform. Granik’s subtle style creates an environment of fear, without relying on violence or dystopian elements.

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