Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: E-G

“Girlfriends” is a friendship love story

I’ve joked before that I’ll always want to watch a movie about two friends in their twenties facing existential growth and discomfort. And it’s true! I would.

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‘Madeinusa’ is a coming-of-age story made in not in the USA, but in Peru

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! Written and directed by Claudia Llosa in the year 2005, Madeinusa is a beautiful but emotionally brutal film about a young girl, Madeinusa, discovering herself when a handsome young stranger comes into […]

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: N-P

Parker Posey shines in ‘Party Girl,’ a capsule of the New York City 90s club scene

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!  This very campy film about a party girl who finds her calling as a librarian mainly works due to Parker Posey’s charm. While the fashion is fantastic and the film is […]

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: E-G

A compelling immigrant narrative is marred by a weak script and acting in Ela Thier’s ‘Foreign Letters’

In 1982, a young girl and her family must adjust to life as immigrants in America after leaving Israel to escape war. While exchanging letters with her best friend back home, the young daughter finds a new, lifelong friend in a quiet Vietnamese girl in her class. Based on her own childhood, Ela Thier’s Foreign Letters (2012) chronicles the struggles of assimilating to a new language and culture while yearning for the one you left. Unfortunately, its engaging subject matter does not cancel out its weak script and static acting. (RMM: 2.5/5)

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Reviews: K-M

‘Mabel’s Strange Predicament’ is both funny and foundational in the making of the modern sitcom

Mabel Normand directs, writes, and stars in this silent short film alongside the always charming Charlie Chaplin. Mabel’s relationship with her sweetheart is threatened at a fancy hotel when a staggering drunk (Chaplin) starts meddling in her affairs. The small cast of characters soon finds itself in several sticky situations. Mabel’s Strange Predicament (1914) entertains while laying the foundations for the modern sitcom. (RMM: 4/5)

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Reviews: N-P

Night Catches Us is prevalent to Black Lives Matter Movement

Director/writer Tanya Hamilton creates a dynamic and prevalent film about the plight of Black people in America. Night Catches Us takes place during the 1970s Black Power era, Marcus Washington (Anthony Mackie) returns home to his neighborhood in Philadelphia. Cops harass the residents. In this all-Black environment, there is immense tension. He reunites with an […]

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: B-D

‘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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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: B-D

‘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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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: T

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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Reviews: Q-S

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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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: B-D

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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Reviews: E-G Uncategorized

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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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: U-W

‘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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‘Le Bonheur’ is a powerful message in a pretty package

Written and directed by Agnés Varda, Le Bonheur is a french film about a man who lives a full and lovely life with his wife and two children but is faced with a dilemma when he falls in love with someone new. Varda’s film is an intriguing commentary on the nature of love, family, and, […]

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Reviews: #

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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Reviews: K-M

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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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: B-D

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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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: K-M

‘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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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: T

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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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: X-Z

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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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: A

‘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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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: B-D

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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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: A

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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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: U-W

‘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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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: Q-S

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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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: K-M

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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Reviews: B-D

‘The Cave of the Yellow Dog’ is an escape to a more peaceful world

Directed by Byambasuren Davaa, The Cave of the Yellow Dog is about a young girl who travels across Mongolia with her herding family. When she finds a dog and wants to keep it, it places her at odds with her father’s safety concerns. The Cave of the Yellow Dog is a tender, sweet and  cinematographically […]

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‘The Virgin Suicides’ is a nostalgic portrait of teenage love and loss

TW: Suicide, Suicidal ideation Based on the novel by Jeffrey Eugenides and written and directed by Sophia Coppola, The Virgin Suicides is told from the perspective of a group of men looking back on their youth. They reflect on a tragedy they have never quite recovered from: the suicides of all five Lisbon sisters, formerly the […]

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: K-M

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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