Parker Posey Shines in ‘Party Girl,’ a Capsule of the New York City 1990 Club Ccene

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… Continue reading Parker Posey Shines in ‘Party Girl,’ a Capsule of the New York City 1990 Club Ccene

A Film Pioneer’s Guide to ‘The Birth, the Life and the Death of Christ’

In Alice Guy-Blaché’s 1906 film The Birth, the Life and the Death of Christ, the infamous stories of Jesus Christ are told in 25 scenes. We see the early developments of film and cinema through these pictures and how stories unfold through gestures and body language rather than dialogue. (SYJ: 4/5)

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)

Martha Coolidge Brings to Screen the Comedic Pulitzer Prize-Winning Play ‘Lost in Yonkers’

Director Martha Coolidge collaborates with writer Neil Simon to adapt his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Lost in Yonkers. A warm and kind coming-of-age film where two boys are forced into a new way of living when they stay with their strict grandma in Yonkers. (KIZJ: 3/5)

‘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)

‘Night Catches Us’ is Prevalent to the 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… Continue reading ‘Night Catches Us’ is Prevalent to the Black Lives Matter Movement

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

‘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)

Though Steeped in Patriotic Pathos and Historical Context, ‘Tomka and His Friends’ Sustains the 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)

Director Kimberly Peirce Reveals Soldiers’ Hidden Mental and Emotional Pain 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)

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)

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)

‘The Women Who Loved Cinema’ Illuminates 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)

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

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)

‘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)

Director Larisa Shepitko Reveals War-Torn Psychologies 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)

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)

Márta Mészáros’s 1975 ‘Adoption’ 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)

‘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)

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)

Elaine May’s Feature ‘Mikey and Nicky’ is a Portrait of Male Friendship 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)

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)

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)