The Grand Dame of French cinema, Agnès Varda's work has ranged from the New Wave in “Cléo from 5 to 7” (1962), to feminism and friendship in “One Sings, the Other Doesn’t” (1977), to rebellion in “Vagabond” (1985), to documenting the life of the poor in “The Gleaners and I” (2000). Her recent work has a more introspective feel; a reflection on what she films, and why. This is part of what would turn out to be her penultimate film, “Faces Places” (2017). A joyous and bittersweet look at the role of art in everyday life and work, as well as the role of the artist in society, “Faces Places” is an expansion of her work in self-reflection, a study in her constant quest to challenge herself as a filmmaker, and her love and attention to French rural and working life.
The Forever Young Film Club is a British organisation whose primary activity is to host screenings of coming-of-age movies. "Girlhood", "Booksmart" and "Mid90s" have all attracted large crowds, and the Club is clearly going from strength to strength. The main reason for this continuing success is down to the hard work of the three women behind the screenings, but there’s also the fact that, sooner or later, pretty much all of us have to grow up. Changing friendships, sex, sexuality, hopes, dreams and discovering your parent/s’ flaws are all part of moving from childhood to adulthood, which means that coming-of-age is perhaps cinema’s most relatable subgenre. Dee Rees’ 2011 feature debut “Pariah” is one such film.
Anna Biller's 2016 film, "The Love Witch", is a magical, sensual exploration of female sexuality and empowerment. With stunning cinematography, set design and costume design, this film inspires praise for both it's undeniable style and thought-provoking messages. The film follows witch and burlesque dancer, Elaine on her quest to find true love. However, her outlook on men and their capability to love is concerning to her fellow witches, especially since many of Elaine's intense love potions do not result in a happy ending of any kind.
Year: 2010 Runtime: 106 Minutes Director: Lisa Cholodenoko Writer: Lisa Cholodenoko & Stuart Blumberg Stars: Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson, Mark Ruffalo By Caz Armstrong “The Kids Are All Right” (2010), directed and co-written by Lisa Cholodenoko, is an expertly acted comedy-drama with complex emotions and a backdrop of a lesbian relationship.... Continue Reading →
Re-watching and reappraising "Obvious Child" in 2019 for the In Their Own League top 50 films directed by women since 2010 list, it’s hard to imagine the film finding distribution in the US in an era where stricter abortion laws are being imposed, and the government-backed film Unplanned was a box office hit. Not that the film wasn’t without its share of anti-abortion outrage on its initial 2014 release.
This is a personal film, with a shot of the political. Gillian’s Robespierre’s debut feature isn’t as steeped in the abortion debate as something like Alexander Payne’s "Citizen Ruth", but it balances a heavy subject with a lightness of touch that shines through Jenny Slate’s leading performance as Donna.
Heartbreak is the worst, and heartbreak in New York City is a crime against the universe. All it takes is a little New York ingenuity, some comic misadventures, and then everything will come back together again, right? That’s how it works in a romantic comedy!
But what about when the star of our romantic comedy isn’t just a typical New York artist? What about when she’s bisexual out of work journalist, when she’s the daughter of traditional Iranian immigrants, and when she’s determined to get back together with her ex-girlfriend?
Year: 2013 Runtime: 93 Minutes Director: Nicole Holofcener Writer: Nicole Holofcener Stars: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette By Ariana Martinez "Love is Worth Living For, Enough Said." As we reach the final months of 2019, it is a moment of reflection, specifically through In Their Own League’s Top 50 Films of the... Continue Reading →