MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 23, 2021: PLAYING WITH SHARKS: THE VALERIE TAYLOR STORY

Valerie Taylor started diving with sharks back when, as archival footage reveals, it was considered droll to refer to her as a “mermaid” who was there to support and presumably fawn over the male divers. But based on what we learn of her in Sally Aitken’s entertaining documentary Playing with Sharks, it seems likely that if Taylor ever heard that description, she probably rolled her eyes and left the guys eating her bubbles.

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COUSINS – Review by Liz Braun

The criminal mistreatment of indigenous populations is not limited to North America. Cousins is a superb New Zealand drama about three Maori women and their paths in life, from childhood to late middle age. Mata, Missy and Makareta are girl cousins, close in age. One of them gets completely cut off from Maori culture, one is immersed in it and one moves between Maori and white settler cultures. No coincidence that this deeply affecting film is of, for and by women, of course.

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COUSINS – Review by Leslie Combemale

If there was ever a film for fans who celebrate indigenous voices across the world, the new intergenerational narrative Cousins, out of New Zealand, is it. Cousins celebrates talented women of color, Māori traditions and worldview, and the value of not only family, but sisterhood and relationships uniquely found between women.

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PLAYING WITH SHARKS: THE VALERIE TAYLOR STORY – Review by Loren King

If underwater photographer, filmmaker and conservationist Valerie May Taylor didn’t exist, the movies would have to invent her. Lucky for us she does, and Sally Aitken’s revelatory and fascinating documentary Playing With Sharks: The Valerie Taylor Story gives Taylor, now a spry 85, her well-deserved due.

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PLAYING WITH SHARKS: THE VALERIE TAYLOR STORY – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

If you are in need of inspiration of the fierce, feisty and fearless female kind, you can’t do better than this semi-deep dive into the life of Valerie May Taylor as revealed in the documentary Playing With Sharks. This world-renowned marine conservationist and deep-sea diver is basically in the same league as gorilla protector Dian Fossey and chimp savior Jane Goodall. Only her realm is truly many leagues below the Earth’s surface where her fishy playmates lurk in the form of sharks.

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