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A punk anti-heroine carves out her own story in ‘Smithereens’

Wren’s identity flickers as she tries to find her feet, and we soon learn that her cool mystique has little underneath.

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Wanuri Kahiu’s 2018 ‘Rafiki’ is the modern-day ‘Romeo and Juliet’

TCM will feature films from 12 decades—representing 44 countries—totaling 100 classic and current titles all created by women. Read more about this here! Based on the short story “Jambula Tree” by acclaimed Ugandan writer Monica Arac de Nyeko, the film Rafiki is bubbling with radiance, life and love. (FMF: 5/5 rating) Review by FF2 Intern […]

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Director Zelda Barron’s ‘Shag’ kicked off the “naughties” by reminiscing about American teenage life in the late 1950s

British director Zelda Barron directed Shag in 2001—a film that throws its audience back to simpler times. Starring Page Hannah, Annabeth Gish, Phoebe Cates, and Bridget Fonda, Shag is a friendly and heartwarming film where getting caught by the parents is life’s biggest disaster. (KIZJ: 3/5)

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Through the perspectives of women, Sabiha Sumar explores violence and unrest in the name of religion in ‘Silent Waters’

In a Pakistani village in 1979, a mother watches in sorrow as her teenage son becomes indoctrinated into a group of radical Islamist militants bent on converting the entire country to Sharia law. As her relationship with her son crumbles, she experiences flashbacks from her childhood in 1947, another time of political unrest when the country of Pakistan was forming. In Silent Waters (2003), director Sabiha Sumar explores violence and unrest through women’s perspectives, who often stand to suffer the most as its result. (RMM: 4/5)

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Featuring striking visuals, ‘Rachida’ captures the essence of fear and resignation in a community

During the Algerian Civil War, a young school teacher tries to live her life as she witnesses violent terrorism instill fear into the community. First-time director and Algerian Yamina Bachir hits the ground running, exploring civility’s disintegration in a country otherwise filled with culture, tradition, and love. Though a bit slow in pacing at times, Rachida (2002) is both poignant and visually striking. (RMM: 3.5/5)

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Silent film ‘Shoes’ is a surprisingly moving portrait of hardship in the early twentieth century

TCM will feature films from 12 decades— representing 44 countries—totaling 100 classic and current titles all created by women. Read more about this here!  While certainly giving into some of the melodrama common in silent films of this era, Lois Weber’s Shoes is a moving tale about poverty and the lengths one young woman must […]

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Director Shaohong Li’s ‘Stolen Life’ shows us an example of how a life and a love were impacted by a single choice

In 2005, Shaohong Li directed the coming-of-age drama Stolen Life (Sheng Si Jie), starring Xun Zhou and Jun Wu. The film won the Best Narrative Feature category at Tribeca Film Festival and is a sobering presentation of how drastically life can change when an unexpected child comes along. KIZJ (3/5)

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Director Kimberly Peirce reveals soldiers’ hidden mental and emotional pains in ‘Stop-Loss’

In 2008, Kimberly Peirce directed and co-wrote Stop-Loss—a film that voices the pain hidden within the soldiers that fight the wars for America in Iraq. Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum, Joseph Gorden-Levitt, and Abbie Cornish star in this war story based on reality. (KIZJ: 3/5)

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Mira Nair has us experience life on the streets through the eyes of children in ‘Salaam! Bombay’ 

Director Mira Nair directed and co-wrote the feature film Salaam! Bombay in 1988. Starring Shafiq Syed, Nair creates a documentary-like fiction piece that is a heart-wrenching depiction of the lives of children in the slums of Bombay. KIZJ: (4/5)

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Strangers in Good Company is a uniquely-female docufiction experience

It’s remarkable to have a film with no men present that is entirely focused on women simply existing together. But more importantly, the way that it deals with aging and mortality is unique.

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Lina Wertmüller’s Seven Beauties is a poignant portrait of the worst of humanity

Expertly directed by Lina Wertmüller, the film is full of stunning visuals, even if it’s a difficult watch for a modern audience.

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The importance of the female gaze in ‘Radioactive’ and ‘The Dancer’

A much-needed phenomenon occurs in films made by women that feature strong female leads: a faithful portrayal of issues that women often have to face when breaking away from traditional roles. By FF2 Associate Farah Elattar This concept is brilliantly portrayed in Radioactive (Dir. Marjane Satrapi, 2019), and The Dancer (Dir. Stephanie Di Gusto, 2016), […]

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‘Radioactive’ celebrates Marie Curie’s life and discoveries

A film by Marjane Satrapi, Radioactive presents itself as a biopic with a twist. On top of capturing the complicated life of Marie Curie, it successfully examines the hardships that come with being a female scientist in early 1900s France. (FEA 4/5) Review by FF2 associate Farah Elattar Satrapi sets the scene by portraying “Maria […]

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‘The Roads Not Taken’ is a marriage of intellect and emotion

In The Roads Not Taken, a daughter tries to find her father amid his dementia, while her father tries to find his own reality amid the many possible paths his life could have taken. The film is an Odyssey narrative playing out over multiple timelines, and from the perspective of the women in this Odysseus’s […]

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‘Saint Frances’ both unapologetic and sweet with sensitive subject matter

Kelly O’Sullivan writes and stars in the personal, touching Saint Frances, the story of a 26-year-old nanny in an affluent Chicago neighborhood who lives with the physical and emotional aftermath of having an abortion – and the six-year-old friend that gets her through. (4/5) Review by Vice President and Managing Editor Brigid K. Presecky Bridget […]

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Anime explores grief in ‘Ride Your Wave’ (2019)

A sad tale of delusion with a perky animated style, Ride Your Wave is a romantic tragedy about surfing. Only anime, and screenwriter Reiko Yoshida, could have created such a thing. The film is a well-structured cautionary tale about grief, with a surprising amount of depth for its short length. (GPG: 4/5) Review by Contributing […]

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Lively and Law the only redeeming aspects of ‘The Rhythm Section’

The Rhythm Section, directed by Reed Morano, was sadly off beat. “Stephanie Patrick” (Blake Lively) loses her mother, father, brother, and sister all at once in a terrible plane crash. When a reporter, “Proctor” (Raza Jaffrey) tells her that the “crash” was actually a planned terrorist attack, Stephanie decides to get revenge by any means […]

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‘Quezon’s Game’: A hidden tale of Jewish-Filipino solidarity

Quezon’s Game is a drama directed by Matthew Rosen and written by Janice Y. Perez and Dean Rosen. The multilingual film stars Raymond Batasing as Philippine president Manuel Quezon and has him working towards one of his lesser-known feats: granting Jewish refugees sanctuary in the Philippines. Review by Junior Associate Beatrice Viri Quezon’s Game is […]

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Seberg: A tribute to the French New Wave actress’s legacy

Seberg is a political thriller directed by Benedict Andrews, from a screenplay by Joe Shrapnel and Amy Waterhouse. Portrayed by Kristen Stewart, Jean Seberg was not only a pioneer of French New Wave cinema, but also a staunch activist, funding the Black Panther Party (3.0/5.0). Review by Junior Associate Beatrice Viri Seberg starts off with […]

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QUEEN & SLIM (2019): Review by FF2 Media

An awkward first Tinder date turns into a modern day Bonnie and Clyde in Melina Matsoukas’ Queen & Slim. “Queen” (Jodie Turner-Smith) is, in her own words, an excellent lawyer. “Slim” (Daniel Kaluuya) works at Costco. The unlikely pair are forced to team up when a racist police officer pulls them over and the routine […]

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“Shooting the Mafia”: The female photographer documenting the height of Sicily’s Mafia wars

Shooting the Mafia, directed by Kim Longinotto, centers on photographer Letizia Battaglia and her work documenting the perils caused by the Italian Mafia. (BV 4.0/5.0) Review by Junior Associate Beatrice Viri Veteran filmmaker Kim Longinotto’s newest documentary is a thoughtful and evocative portrait of an unconventional hero. Letizia Battaglia is a woman of many layers, […]

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‘Sequestrada’ (2019): Review by FF2 Media

Sequestrada, written and directed by Sabrina McCormick and Soopum Sohn, has an immediacy to it. Tackling global warming, the destruction of the Amazon Rainforest, and the displacement of indigenous people in Brazil, the drama comes close to being a documentary, largely shot in a documentary style. The film centers around a young indigenous woman, “Kamodjara” […]

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Janice Engel documents gumption of late Molly Ivins with ‘Raise Hell’

Whether you were an avid viewer of hers during the Bush era or (like me) spent most of the Bush era learning your multiplication tables, Janice Engel delivers an overview of Molly Ivins that will charm, tickle, and at times chill any blue-team resident of the year 2019. However, it seems like Ivins became a […]

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QUEEN OF HEARTS (2019): Review by FF2 Media

Written by Maren Louise Kaehne and May el-Toukhy and directed by el-Toukhy, Queen of Hearts is a chilling drama about a powerful and successful lawyer and mother whose life runs the risk of crumbling when she becomes involved with her stepson. This film is a masterfully crafted testament to the dark secrets lurking below what […]

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‘Serendipity’ doc fully immerses viewer into a life with cancer

Serendipity documents life from Prune Nourry’s point of view; the French artist directed the film as she was coming to terms with her breast cancer diagnosis. Nourry films in a personal, first person perspective, letting us see her private spaces and the inside of her mind. She uses the film as a way to fully […]

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‘Stuffed’: The art of taxidermy

Stuffed is a documentary about taxidermy. It sounds grim, and it definitely is. But it’s also quirky and beautiful, and the people who do it are incredibly refined in their craft. (AEL: 3.5/5)

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Shonali Bose’s ‘The Sky is Pink’ (2019): Review by FF2 Media

Director Shonali Bose delves into a subject personal to her as well as to the real-life subjects of her film with The Sky Is Pink. However, the issues of class and of reproductive rights rear their heads in the background of this brightly colored and upbeat film, making the experience a bit less enjoyable for […]

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‘Sister Aimee: A retelling the Evangelist’s sensationalized kidnapping

*This review contains spoilers for Sister Aimee! Sister Aimee, directed by married duo Samantha Buck and Marie Schlingmann, is a dramatization of real life evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson’s supposed kidnapping scandal. Overwhelmed by success and its daunting expectations, Aimee and her lover chase his dreams of the Mexican border — and stumbles upon an adventure […]

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‘Raise Hell – The Life & Times of Molly Ivins’ a wealth of political conversation

Whether you were an avid viewer of hers during the Bush era or (like me) spent most of the Bush era learning your multiplication tables, Janice Engel delivers an overview of Molly Ivins that will charm, tickle, and at times chill any blue-team resident of the year 2019. However, it seems like Ivins became a […]

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‘Satanic Panic’ is fun, freaky and (surprisingly) feminist

Chelsea Stardust’s directorial debut, Satanic Panic is a wild, gory, over-the-top horror film. Though it’s qualities aren’t meaningful character arcs or perfect plot progression, it will be fun for those who like gore (JRL: 3/5)  Review by FF2 Media Intern Julia Lasker Sam (Hayley Griffith) has a new job as a pizza delivery girl. On […]

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