MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 7, 2022: The Best #MOTWs of 2021

Team #MOTW looks back at the films we featured during 2021 and highlights our favorites. There are many things about 2021 that we want to forget, but these femme-helmed/femme centric films that brought inspiration, understanding, compassion, and respite replete with laughter are not among them — and they must not slip into oblivion. Add them to your watch list. Share the titles with friends. Enjoy all of AWFJ’s Best #MOTWs of 2021.

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AWFJ Announces 2021 EDA Awards Nominations – Jennifer Merin reports

In our 15th annual awards season, we present EDA Awards in 25 categories divided into three sections, the BEST OF AWARDS, FEMALE FOCUS AWARDS and EDA SPECIAL MENTION AWARDS. Competition is particularly tight this year, and we are especially pleased to see our EDA Award nominations dominated by women filmmakers in all major craft categories, and not just those in the FEMALE FOCUS section.

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Rebecca Hall on PASSING, Family Identity and Heritage – Pamela Powell interviews

Passing, having premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, is taking its turn with a theater run before its arrival on Netflix, November 10. Rebecca Hall’s first-time writing and directing feature film is based on the 1929 novel of the same name by Nella Larsen. The story resonated personally with Hall who recently sat down to talk about the making of this film, sharing intimate glimpses into her struggles with her own family’s identity and proudly recognizing her heritage.

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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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PASSING – Review by Jennifer Merin

Passing is Rebecca Hall’s beautifully realized directorial debut. Written, produced, and directed by Hall, the film is an adaptation of Nella Larsen’s 1929 eponymous novel about two Black women who were best friends during their childhood days in Harlem and who, after having gone their separate ways for decades, are accidentally reunited in the tea room of a downtown NYC hotel.

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PASSING – Review by Sherin Nicole

There is a tension running through Passing that is mirrored in Tessa Thompson’s performance: the stiffness in her jaw, the tightness between her eyes, the rigidity of her spine. As the audience, we understand. It is the result of lies so brittle a whisper could break them apart. And if we are Black that tension goes beyond empathy, it is recognition. In the Rebecca Hall film, adapted from the lauded novel by Harlem Renaissance writer Nella Larsen, Tessa Thompson nd Ruth Negga are a pair of reunited friends. Both from uptown, both wives, both well-to-do; one white presenting and the other “passing” for white.

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PASSING – Review by Marilyn Ferdinand

Actor Rebecca Hall has chosen to make her directorial debut with a screen adaptation of Passing, a celebrated novella written in 1929 by Harlem Renaissance author Nella Larsen about the phenomenon of passing for white among light-skinned African Americans. Passing doesn’t live on the surface of its subject, but instead bores into the costs of living a lie. And passing is only one kind of lie.

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PASSING – Review by Liz Whittemore

Shot in black and white, Passing tells the tale of two childhood friends reuniting. Clare and Irene grew up in the same circle in Harlem. After a chance run-in at a hotel, Irene discovers that Clare had been passing for white for years. As their friendship slowly rekindles, their lives clash through fear and the reality of 1920s New York.

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