MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 29, 2021: TRUE MOTHERS

Motherhood — in all its complexity — is at the heart of Naomi Kawase’s drama True Mothers, which tells the intertwined stories of Hikari Katakura (Aju Makita) and Satoko Kurihara (Hiromi Nagasaku). Their circumstances are very different, but they both fiercely love the same little boy, and that love ultimately helps each better understand the other.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 1, 2021: PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

Smart, bold, and refreshingly original, Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman marks the feature directorial debut of a major filmmaking talent.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 11, 2020: FAREWELL AMOR

Love — and the best of intentions — may not be enough to overcome a 17-year separation for the reunited family of three who are at the heart of writer/director Ekwa Msangi’s touching first feature, Farewell Amor. This affecting drama raises thoughtful, heartfelt questions about what it means to be a family, And, it takes an honest and insightful look at the difficulties of immigration.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 4, 2020: LUXOR

Centering on a powerful performance by Andrea Riseborough, Zeina Durra’s dreamy, introspective romantic drama Luxor explores what-ifs and second chances as its characters explore ancient Egyptian ruins, finding their way to a place of connection and understanding. Riseborough plays Hana, a British doctor who’s come to the city of Luxor to rest and recuperate from the stresses of her efforts as an international aid worker.

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SPOTLIGHT December 2020: Eda Reiss Merin, Actress, Activist and inspiration for AWFJ’s EDA Awards

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists’ EDA Awards, presented annually during awards season and at various festivals during the year, are currently in their 14th year, and are well known to the film industry for categories honoring female filmmakers, along with the more general award categories that are presented by the Academy and other movie awards organizations. The EDA Awards are well known, but many industry people — including some who’ve received them — don’t know much about their name. Why EDA? Since December sees AWFJ in full awards season activism, this is a good time to share the EDA story. Hence our December SPOTLIGHT is focused on actress and activist Eda Reiss Merin.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 20, 2020: ANTIGONE

Quebecois writer/director Sophie Deraspe brings fresh life to ancient source material with Antigone, her powerful update of Sophocles’ classic play. Trading a Greek chorus for smartphone-wielding teens and city-state rivalries for clashes related to gang loyalty, it centers on the smart, resourceful titular teen, played rivetingly by Nahema Ricci.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 13, 2020: CODED BIAS

Designed largely by white men, it turns out that a lot of facial-recognition programs are best at recognizing…white men. So when those technologies are used to scan the faces of women and people of color, they’re far more likely to make incorrect associations and conclusions. Inconvenient if you want to use your face to open a biometric lock; potentially devastating if a database suggests you’re a terrorist.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 6, 2020: PROXIMA

Alice Winocour’s drama Proxima may be about a woman who’s getting ready to head to space, but it’s the very earthly ties that bind us to this planet — and to each other — that are at the heart of this thoughtful film. Starring Eva Green as French astronaut Sarah Loreau, Proxima explores the intersection of professional ambition and motherhood in a way that will ring true for anyone who’s ever had to balance personal and professional demands.

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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.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 23, 2020: ON THE ROCKS

On the Rocks feels a bit like what you’d get if Woody Allen and Wes Anderson made a movie together — only with a lot more feminine energy, empathy, and understanding. Sofia Coppola’s dramedy tackles modern marriage, motherhood, career uncertainty, and parent/adult child relationships with a light touch and strong performances from a talented cast.

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