‘Tribes on the Edge’ is an Enlightening Watch—Director Céline Cousteau’s Answer to a Plea for Help

Director, producer, and co-writer Céline Cousteau’s new documentary, Tribes on the Edge, is a plea for Brazil’s indigenous people, who are afraid of becoming extinct. The film is a stark eye-opener that draws our attention to a beautiful rainforest that harbors severe problems for the Javari tribespeople. (SYJ:4.5/5)

‘The Photograph’ is a Testament to the Power of Gesture

A prostitute struggles to save money for her far-away family while suffering gross mistreatment from her pimp. When she moves into an aging photographer’s spare room, she finds herself growing to care for her new landlord. Through their newfound friendship, the two are both able to heal emotionally and spiritually. Indonesian director Nan Triveni Achnas delivers a film that deftly expresses pain, sorrow, love, and care. The Photograph’s (2007) main actors execute their scenes with poignancy. (RMM: 3/5)

Norwegian Favorite ‘Fools in the Mountains’ is a Situational Comedic Treat

When two guests identical in appearance but opposite in nature arrive at the Hurumhei Hotel, the receptionist – and the other guests – confuse them for the same person. Normally a sharp-minded hard worker, the receptionist believes he is going insane. Meanwhile, the hotel manager’s daughter disguises herself as a bellhop to prove to her parents that she isn’t a spoiled child. One of the most famous Norwegian films, Edith Carlmar’s situational comedy Fools in the Mountains (1957) (in Norwegian, Fjols til fjells) entertains while offering a glimpse into Norwegian culture. (RMM: 4/5)

‘Very Annie Mary’ Charms Us With the Awkward yet Compassionate Nature of its Titular Heroine

A woman struggles to break free from the yoke of her father’s authority and become her own person. Matters are complicated when she must care for him after he suffers a stroke. Still, she dreams of moving into a house of her own and helping her friend “Bethan” (Joanna Page) go to Disneyland. In Sara Sugarman’s Very Annie Mary (2001), the titular character charms us with her awkward yet kind-hearted nature. Colorful characters throughout the film make for a quirky, fun, and at times sad story. (RMM: 4/5)

Brazilian Favorite ‘O Ébrio’ Chronicles the Exploitation of a Kind-Hearted Man by Those He Holds Dearest

A medical student is made destitute and homeless after his family loses their property due to a series of faulty business practices. Shunned by his relatives, he turns to the church, which gives him a second chance at life. When his participation in a radio singing contest gives him money and fame, he finishes school and becomes a doctor. In Gilda de Abreu’s Brazilian classic, O Ébrio (1946), a kind-hearted man is taken advantage of by the people he holds dear. (RMM: 3/5)

‘The Crime Thief’ Shows Us a Psychopath in Action

When a writer witnesses a woman commit suicide, he convinces himself that he carried out the crime. Bored and craving attention, he begins writing anonymous letters to the press detailing the murder. Nadine Trintignant’s The Crime Thief (in French, Le voleur de crimes) explores the mind of a psychopath as his deadly affliction becomes more evident. (RMM: 3/5)

‘The Kite’ Explores the Unique Kind of Strife Brought by Borders

A teenage girl from a Lebanese village must leave her mother and brother to cross the Israeli-Lebanese border as she is off to fulfill an arranged marriage to her cousin. Meanwhile, she and a border soldier fall in love from a distance. In The Kite (2003), director Randa Chahal Sabag explores the traditions of the Druze community while communicating the unique kind of strife brought about by political unrest and ever-changing land borders. (RMM: 3/5)

Joan Micklin Silver’s ‘Crossing Delancey’ Charms the Audience With its Simple New York Romance

Director Joan Micklin Silver and writer Susan Sandler teamed up in 1988 to create Crossing Delancey. Based on a play of the same name, the film is a romantic comedy set against the backdrop of Manhattan. (KIZJ: 3.5/5) 

Germaine Dulac’s ‘La Cigarette’ Film is Silent, but Speaks Volumes

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!  La Cigarette is a silent film from 1919, but its gender politics and relationship drama hold up surprisingly well for a modern audience. With excellent direction and naturalistic performances, it’s a… Continue reading Germaine Dulac’s ‘La Cigarette’ Film is Silent, but Speaks Volumes

Gillian Armstrong’s Feminist Film ‘My Brilliant Career’ Illuminates Why Women Feel Compelled to Fulfill Societal Soles

In 1979, director Gillian Armstrong created one of Australia’s finest pieces of feminist film—My Brilliant Career. Based on the novel by Miles Franklin, it centers on a woman who is full of spirit and determination to take full control of her own life. Judy Davis stars as the protagonist who is ready to defy all societal expectations with her thoughts and actions, without a care for what others think. (KIZJ: 4/5) 

‘This Is the Sea’ is a Fascinating Glimpse at Ireland in the Late 1990s

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!  Mary McGuckian’s This Is the Sea has been largely forgotten over time. Still, it shares a forbidden love story between a Protestant girl and a Catholic boy in Northern Ireland during… Continue reading ‘This Is the Sea’ is a Fascinating Glimpse at Ireland in the Late 1990s

Director Zelda Barron’s ‘Shag’ Kicked off the “Naughties” by Reminiscing about American Teenagers in the 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)

Wendy Toye’s Fast-Paced ‘The Teckman Mystery’ Stimulates Conversation on Film Censorship in Old British Cinema

A successful writer is asked by his publisher to write a biography on a man who recently died in a plane crash. Initially reticent, the writer finds himself drawn to the story as he begins to uncover the case’s details. But some would rather this mystery remain unsolved, and the situation soon becomes dangerous for all innocent – and seemingly innocent – characters involved. Despite facing censorship from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), Wendy Toye delivers a fast-paced story whose unraveling compels us to continue watching in The Teckman Mystery (1954). (RMM: 3/5)

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)

Hausner’s ‘Lourdes’ Handles Religious Faith and Miracles with Delicacy

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!  French film Lourdes explores religion, faith, and skepticism through the story of a woman on a trip to seek healing at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. Neither overtly for… Continue reading Hausner’s ‘Lourdes’ Handles Religious Faith and Miracles with Delicacy

Mystery, Melancholy, Memory, and Comfort Pervade Júlia Murat’s ‘Found Memories’

In Found Memories (2011), Júlia Murat quietly observes the daily happenings in a tiny Brazilian village. When a young photographer arrives to photograph the few elderly residents and their homes, she finds herself captivated by the setting’s antiquity. In just a few days, she grows close to the village bread baker, who spends her days lost in memories and routine. Beautifully composed visuals in each frame paired with minimal yet expressive acting add movement to a story steeped in mystery, melancholy, and – strangely – comfort. (RMM: 5/5)

Director Ann Hui Shows a Bleak Reality through a Photojournalist in ‘Boat People’ — the Final Movement of Her Vietnam Trilogy

In 1982, Ann Hui directed the film Boat People (Tau Ban No Hoi)—the final leg of her trilogy of films that center around Vietnam. Starring George Lam, Season Ma, Cora Miao, and the young Andy Lau, the film is an emotional discovery of how people lived in postwar Vietnam. KIZJ: (4/5)

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)

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… Continue reading Silent Film ‘Shoes’ is a Surprisingly Moving Portrait of Hardship in the Early Twentieth Century

Ida Lupino’s ‘Outrage’ Tackles the Subject of Rape at a Time of Strict Regulations on Content

A young, newly-engaged woman ready to start her life is raped on her way home from work one night. Suffering mentally from the attack, she abandons her life, her family, and her home in an attempt to forget what transpired— and to regain some semblance of faith. Ida Lupino’s Outrage (1950) tackled rape when it was even more taboo than today. Film regulations of the period further limit its scope of exploration on the subject. (RMM: 3/5)

Director Shaohong Li’s ‘Stolen Life’ Exemplifies How a Single Choice Impacts a Life and a Love

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)