MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 30, 2020 – US KIDS

If there’s any upside to the turmoil and tragedy that the United States — and the world — has been experiencing in recent years, it’s the fact that it’s shaping and motivating a powerful surge of youth activism. While it’s certainly not fair for society to look to teenagers to solve problems caused by generations of adults, there’s no denying the passion, drive, and ingenuity of change-makers like Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg, and the Parkland shooting survivors. Filmmaker Kim A. Snyder introduces us to several of the latter in her moving documentary Us Kids.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 9, 2020: THE GLORIAS

Modern feminism owes a lot to Gloria Steinem, and director Julie Taymor revels in explaining why in The Glorias, her creative biopic about a woman who has fought tirelessly throughout her life for the rights of all women. Taking the title of Steinem’s autobiography — My Life on the Road — literally, Taymor centers her story on a bus on which primary passengers are Steinem at different ages: child (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), young teen (Lulu Wilson), young woman (Alicia Vikander), and mature activist (Julianne Moore).

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 2, 2020: MISBEHAVIOUR

Activism and intersectionality are at the heart of Philippa Lowthorpe’s fact-based dramedy Misbehaviour, which follows the tumultuous events surrounding the 1970 Miss World pageant in London and their impact on the women’s liberation movement. While always firmly on the side of the feminists who disrupted the event to protest its objectification of women, the film also makes sure to include other important perspectives on women’s roles and representations — which ultimately makes its message all the more effective.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK September 11, 2020: MULAN

This isn’t one of Disney’s shot-for-shot, song-for-song live-action remakes. Rather, Niki Caro’s Mulan is a serious, often-intense reimagining of the ancient Chinese ballad that also inspired the studio’s 1998 animated hit. More Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon than Disney Princess story, it’s a beautifully filmed epic that gives Hua Mulan increased agency and confidence. Mulan is a hero who may hail from olden times, but speaks to our own.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK September 4, 2020: THE MOLE AGENT

Both a charming story about a most unlikely spy and a poignant meditation on the loneliness of growing old, Maite Alberdi’s engaging film The Mole Agent isn’t your everyday documentary. Like the Chilean filmmaker’s previous films, it has its own rhythm and style, feeling like a hybrid of nonfiction and carefully observed drama.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 25, 2020: LINGUA FRANCA

In telling the story of undocumented transgender Filipina caregiver Olivia, writer/director/actress Isabel Sandoval’s quietly powerful drama Lingua Franca calls attention to an issue that too many people find easy to dismiss as not their concern. And it does so with empathy and humanity, hopefully opening hearts and minds before the credits roll.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 21, 2020: AFRICAN VIOLET

Both poignant and insightful, Mona Zandi Haqiqi’s African Violet is a slice-of-life drama set in a working class neighborhood in Tehran. With strong, naturalistic performances and a vivid sense of place, Haqiqi’s film draws you into its characters’ lives, sharing their triumphs and challenges and creating understanding and building strong feelings of empathy.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 14, 2020: THE GRIZZLIES

The Grizzlies, based on a true story, is about a fired-up white outsider coming into a close-knit Indigenous community full of confidence that, with his passion and approachability, he can connect with the skeptical teens he’s there to teach and make a difference. And, to be fair, he does exactly that. But not before he’s forced to learn some hard truths about the folly of thinking you can “fix” another culture — or understand people who’ve been traumatized for generations by colonialism if you haven’t been through it yourself.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 7, 2020: A THOUSAND CUTS

So timely that it includes scenes filmed just a few weeks ago that show people wearing masks against the coronavirus, Ramona S. Diaz’s documentary A Thousand Cuts is a passionate call to arms. Centered on persistent, feisty Filipina journalist Maria Ressa and her fearless pursuit of the truth behind the Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal, extrajudicial war on drugs, it will resonate with anyone who cares about preventing authoritarian attacks on the freedom of the press.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 17, 2020: JOHN LEWIS – GOOD TROUBLE

“It’s because of you, John.” That was the short, powerful note that President Barack Obama wrote to Congressman John Lewis on Obama’s first inauguration day, and director Dawn Porter’s moving documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble shows us exactly how right the president was. The film chronicles the highs and lows of Lewis’ life and career, set into the political and historical context of the 1960s to the present day.

Read more