Currently Browsing: Turner Classic Movies

‘Children of a Lesser God’ blazed a trail for representation but doesn’t hold up today

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!  Children of a Lesser God was a leap forward in representation for deaf and hard-of-hearing people in film, both in its characters and the actors hired to play them. However, decades […]

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‘Corpo Celeste’ sparks conversation about the church and its place in society today

A 13-year-old girl struggles to find her place in society after moving back to Italy with her mother and older sister. Soon, she finds herself wrestling with the tumultuous growing pains of youth while trying to make sense of the Catholic church and her place in it. Alice Rohrwacher invites us to look—alongside her heroine— at a society from the outside and observe the ways in which religion permeates a people. (RMM: 3.5/5)

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Though steeped in patriotic pathos and historical context, ‘Tomka and His Friends’ sustains the lighthearted energy of a children’s adventure

When occupying Nazis set up camp on their soccer field after the withdrawal of Mussolini’s Italian forces, a group of boys vows to defend it. Together with the partisan resistance, they fight for freedom from fascism – and have quite a bit of fun in the process. Xhanfize Keko’s Tomka and His Friends (1977) offers a unique spin on a sub-genre of child adventures, grounding it in history while infusing it with patriotic pathos. (RMM: 4/5)

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Though nostalgic and sweet, ‘Dogfight’ reminds us not to romanticize the past

In 1963, a  group of young marines spend a night in San Francisco before being deployed to Vietnam. When one invites a shy, frumpy girl to a party called a “dogfight,” he has no idea that he will have fallen for her come morning. Director Nancy Savoca captures a moment of love and tenderness during a time of political upheaval. Historical context in Dogfight (1991) adds a further layer of nostalgia while inviting the audience to look at the past through a more critical lens. (RMM: 4/5)

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Poet Forough Farrokhzad tells a haunting story of illness and beauty with ‘The House Is Black’

A haunting visit into the lives of patients in a facility for people with leprosy in 1960s Iran.

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Joan Darling’s ‘First Love’ is a not-so-sweet dive into campus romance

Joan Darling directed First Love—one of the first big studio films that was offered to a woman. William Katt and Susan Dey star in this campus love story where a hopeful young man falls in love with a beautiful woman, whose heart is with an older man. (KIZJ: 3/5)

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‘The Women Who Loved Cinema’ and the female pioneers of Egyptian film

In her two-part documentary series, The Women Who Loved Cinema (2002), director Marianne Khoury recounts prominent Egyptian actresses and filmmakers’ lives from the 1920s and 1930s. These women would advance the development of Egyptian cinema, leaving their mark on a growing industry. (RMM: 3.5/5)

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Esmer’s 10 to 11 is grounded and touching

You can watch Pelin Esmer’s 10 to 11 as part of Turner Classic Movies “Women Make Film” series on 9/16 at 5:15 AM. TCM will feature films from 12 decades—and representing 44 countries—totaling 100 classic and current titles all created by women. Read more about this here!  Pelin Esmer wrote and directed 10 to 11 based on her uncle, who actually […]

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Musings on Meshes of the Afternoon: Maya Deren explores the landscape of the subconscious

TCM will feature films from 12 decades—and representing 44 countries—totaling 100 classic and current titles all created by women. Read more about this here!   A woman picks up a flower on her way home and takes a nap in her living room armchair. What follows is a dream sequence with cyclical scenes of a shrouded […]

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Kirsten Johnson reflects on and reveals life as a documentary filmmaker in ‘Cameraperson’

Documentary director and cinematographer Kirsten Johnson assembles parts of the footage from her years of work into a masterpiece feature Cameraperson. The compilation includes multiple storylines from across the world and captures the lives of many in front of the lens, but also the psychology of those behind the camera. KIZJ: (4/5)

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‘Krane’s Confectionery’ demonstrates society’s sexist mindset along with its refusal to acknowledge the need for self-care

A single mother who works as a seamstress struggles to support her children while she drowns in work. When she meets a man who challenges her to be a little more selfish, she finds herself reevaluating her entire life. Krane’s Confectionery (1951) demonstrates the ways in which men and women alike participate in the patriarchy while exploring a society’s refusal to acknowledge the basic need for self-care.(RMM: 4/5)

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Director Larisa Shepitko takes us into the human psychologies of people during the war in ‘The Ascent’

Larisa Shepitko directed and co-wrote The Ascent. The film is a haunting drama set during the Great Patriotic War in World War II, with its story based on Vasil Bykaŭ’s novel, Sotnikov. Boris Plotnikov and Vladimir Gostyukhin star as two partisans who fight for survival physically and emotionally amidst the brutal winter in 1942. (KIZJ: 4.5/5)

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A beautiful take on family and friendship in ‘XXY’

XXY is about wielding love over fear, about parents realizing that “wanting the best” for their children sometimes means something unexpected.

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‘Antonia’s Line’ is a feminist fairy tale that takes on heavy topics

Antonia’s Line is a female-focused fairytale from the mid-1990s that transports viewers to a quaint Dutch village where Antonia builds a multi-generational eclectic family.

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Surrealist film “Daisies” confuses and entertains

When two young women realize that the world is terrible, they decide that they will behave basely. They spend their time tricking older men into buying them dinner, eating extravagant meals, and having fun. Vera Chytilová’s Daisies (1966) takes a colorful dive into comedic Surrealism while exploring both anarchic and nihilistic ideas. (RMM: 4/5)

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Márta Mészáros’s ‘Adoption’ from 1975 defies society’s expectations at the time of the when—and why—a woman should want to be a mother

Hungarian director and screenwriter Márta Mészáros’s best-known film from 1975, Adoption, stars Katalin Berek as a middle-aged single woman who has realized that she wants a child. Through her own observations and friendships with neglected children, she becomes more and more convinced that it is the right choice for her at this point in her life. (KIZJ: 4/5)

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‘Wasp’ depicts a family strained by circumstance yet bonded in love

A single mother in Dartford, England struggles emotionally and financially to support three young girls and a baby boy as she reconnects with an old flame from high school. Andrea Arnold’s Oscar-winning short film Wasp (2003) is an at-times charming and all-around painfully honest portrayal of a family strained by circumstance yet strongly bonded in love. (RMM: 5/5)

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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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Elaine May’s feature Mikey and Nicky is a telling portrait of a friendship between two men tainted by society’s expectations

Mikey and Nicky is Oscar-nominee Elaine May’s third feature from 1976. The film is a dark mystery laced with comedy and social commentary—all dressed up in a gangster setting. Starring John Cassavetes and Peter Falk, May’s piece is an intimate observation of a wavering friendship between two men over a long, long night in Philadelphia. (KIZJ: 4.5/5)

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Kathleen Collins makes us hold up a mirror to ourselves and question the role of art in life with 1982 film Losing Ground

Kathleen Collins wrote and directed Losing Ground (1982)—a film about a middle-class Black couple whose marriage is shaken by the lovers’ diverging paths towards self-discovery. This refreshing film explores the human condition of what makes us feel ecstasy in life. (KIZJ: 4.5/5)

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Swedish director Mai Zetterling takes us into the lives and societal roles of three pregnant women in Loving Couples (1964)

Mai Zetterling directed and co-wrote her debut feature Loving Couples (1964)—a Swedish drama based on one of Agnes von Krusenstjerna’s seven-part Swedish feminism literary series, The Misses von Pahlen. Zetterling focuses on three women and their romantic relationships, their connection to motherhood, and the solidarity of their gender. (KIZJ: 3.5/5)

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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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Mineworkers and their families fight joyfully in Harlan County, USA

Full of conversations from the center of action at organizers’ meetings and on picket lines, the documentary gives a vivid picture of the mineworkers’ lives and dreams. (AEL: 4.5/5)

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Director Nicole Holofcener looks beyond the lovely and amazing parts of life

TCM will feature films from 12 decades—and representing 44 countries—totaling 100 classic and current titles all created by women. Read more about this here!  Director and writer Nicole Holofcener’s movie Lovely and Amazing (2001) explores essential topics circulating in the media today––the never-ending fight for equality. From racial stereotypes to gender expectations, this film poignantly expresses […]

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Cheryl Dunye’s ‘The Watermelon Woman’ sparks conversation on subtle racism perpetuated in assigned symbols

The Watermelon Woman focuses on a queer black novice filmmaker’s quest for clarity on the life of a fictitious Black actress of the 30s and 40s who was known for her roles as the archetypical “mammy”. Director Cheryl Dunye deftly yet subtly comments on racism in its stealthiest forms in this funny and conversation-sparking film. (RMM: 4/5)

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Director Lotte Reiniger’s animation, The Adventures of Prince Achmed, takes us on an inspiring silhouetted fairytale ride

In 1926, German director Lotte Reiniger completed her 65-minute long silhouette animation feature The Adventures of Prince Achmed. The film was influenced by author Hanna Diyab’s tales “The Story of Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Perī-Bānū” and “Aladdin” from the collection of literature in One Thousand and One Nights first published in 1775. After three years of work with a small team of animators, Reiniger brought these ancient stories back to life for new audiences to see the magical journey of Prince Achmed on the theatrical screen. KIZJ (4.5/5)

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Leontine Sagan’s German cult classic Mädchen in Uniform hails a ground-breaking all-female cast—filmed in 1931

In 1931, Leontine Sagan directed the feature-length German film Mädchen in Uniform (Maidens in Uniform). The German-language cult classic follows “Manuela von Meinhardis” (Hertha Thiele), a young girl who is enrolled at a boarding school for girls, as she adjusts to life in a strict, all-female environment. (KIZJ: 4/5)

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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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