HACKING HATE (Tribeca 2024) – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Written and directed by Simon Klose, Hacking Hate follows award-winning Swedish investigative reporter My Vingren through a high-tech web as she discerns who operates several far-right social media accounts. On a broader scale, the film also examines how such extremists recruit others and encourage the spread of dehumanizing language and misinformation. Watchdog groups, media outlets and the FBI have attributed a rise in hate crimes in the United States since Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election to Trump’s racist and sexist rhetoric. Yet while Hacking Hate revisits his tweet before the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, the film looks beyond the presumptive Republican nominee to a broader picture, placing the convicted felon alongside politicians from France, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy who also have used hate to win populist elections.

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DARKEST MIRIAM (Tribeca 2024) – Review by Sherin Nicole

If someone asked me to contribute a song to the soundtrack for Darkest Miriam, written and directed by Naomi Jaye, it would be Splitting Atoms by the lovely, departed Lamya. Specifically, the chorus featuring the hook, “I lost but didn’t lose the lesson. Yes I’m, learning from falling, learning from falling down, hard lessons.” Like the song, the life of Toronto librarian, Miriam (Britt Lower), changes when she falls into a hole on the side of the road

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MASTERMIND: TO THINK LIKE A KILLER (Tribeca 2024) – Review by Beth Accomando

Abby Fuller’s Mastermind docuseries profiles criminal profiler Dr. Ann Burgess, who was also the inspiration behind David Fincher’s Mindhunter drama series. The two are excellent companions. While Fincher’s series focuses more on the men, Fuller’s docuseries lets us get an in depth look at Burgess’ contribution and her methodology. The docuseries also explores lesser-known cases than Mindhunter and that proves fascinating. Burgess is an amazing woman and we get insights into how she thinks and how her focus on victims provided a very different perspective on crime and behavior. This is an absolutely riveting show and it is about time the softspoken woman got her moment in the spotlight.

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DADDIO (Tribeca 2024) – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Unfolding largely in real time over one hour and forty-one minutes, Daddio follows an unnamed woman (Dakota Johnson) headed home to the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in Manhattan from JFK International Airport in Queens. In no mood to chat at first, she soon warms up to the driver (Sean Penn), a crusty guy ranting about how paying by apps and credit cards means no one throws you a little extra anymore. One of the smart touches in Daddio is how the talky script doles out character details. Daddio also is a universal one about finding meaning and connection in unlikely places, showing life can be a surprising trip.

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SHE LOVED BLOSSOMS (Tribeca 2024) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

With their worlds rocked by the death of their beloved mother, three Greek brothers combine their various skillsets in their overgrown, baroque family home with the hope of bringing her back. As an unfortunate chicken and an unlucky paramore both learn the hard way, an antique art deco wardrobe becomes the unexpected site of a range of experiments intent on turning it into a bespoke, DIY machine with the ability to bring the dead back to life. But their complex interpersonal relationships between each other and their complicate their mission and their ability to deliver on its promise, are rendered even more confusing by an undisguised penchant for mind-altering hallucinogens.

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AISHA (Tribeca 2024) – Review by Sherin Nicole

Aisha charts the experiences of a young Nigerian woman as she seeks international protection in Ireland. Caught in limbo for years in Ireland’s immigration system, Aisha Osagie develops a friendship with former prisoner Conor Healy who she meets at one of the accommodation centers. Aisha and Conor’s growing friendship soon looks to be short lived as Aisha’s future in Ireland comes under threat. An inconvenient love becomes a balm for an asylum seeker during uncertain times in Ireland. Writer/director Frank Berry’s third feature is rooted in a starkly compelling reality so apt it could be a documentary. There is no paradox in saying Aisha is a study of hopeful despair.

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WITCHES (Tribeca 2024) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Filmmaker Elizabeth Sankey’s Witches uses the visual language of the on-screen witch to talk about her own very personal experience of motherhood and psychological collapse. The cultural history of the witch is one that has, across the years, offered a complex and at times contradictory vision of both idealized and demonized womanhood; a figure of strength and independence at times, that same power is often the very same thing that finds her excluded, feared and mocked.

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MOTORCYCLE MARY (Tribeca 2024) – Review by Beth Accomando

Mary McGee was the first woman to compete in road races and motocross competitions in the U.S. and became the first person — not just woman – to ever solo in the grueling Baja 500 on a motorcycle. Motorcycle Mary opens with McGee’s aged face staring directly into the camera. Her eyes still bright and eager, and the heavy wrinkles well formed to complement her delightful smile. She describes being fearful as a child but overcoming that through the guidance of her older brother. And it is through him and his just do it mentality that set her on her journey into the world of racing. She began by racing cars, and she consistently beat out her male competitors. But she soon discovered that her true love was racing motorcycles.

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VULCANIZADORA (Tribeca 2024) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Marty (Joshua Burge) and Derek (Joel Potrykus) are on a mission. Wandering through the woods somewhere in Michigan, Marty finds only the briefest of moments to interrupt incessant chatterbox Derek, the latter of whom seems almost manically intent on narrating himself into a state of accepting their circumstances. Arriving at their destination, the purpose of their journey is brought into sudden, shocking focus. But here – like so many things in their lives – things again do not go exactly according to plan. Forced to address the fallout, Marty must face up to the very things that saw him run to the woods to escape in the first place.

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MADE IN ETHIOPIA (Tribeca 2024)- Review by Leslie Combemale

The film examines the growing industrialization taking place in the country, and the larger impact of China on Africa, through the microlens of what’s happening in one enormous Chinese industrial park located less than an hour outside of Addis Ababa. Made in Ethiopia presents a sort of slow burn in how it reveals issues, in part because it was filmed over the course of 4 years. Those years include the pandemic and a civil war in Ethiopia. What starts out as optimistic devolves and derails before the viewers’ eyes. It’s compelling filmmaking, but unfortunately tragic for the subjects living the experience.

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