Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: T

‘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!  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 the […]

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: Q-S

Director Zelda Barron’s ‘Shag’ kicked off the “naughties” by reminiscing about American teenage life in the late 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)

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: #

A romantic and imaginative summer in ’27 Missing Kisses’

The film is filled with absurd and sometimes fantastic images; a layer of unexpected tragedy keeps the viewer riveted. (AEL: 4/5)

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Reviews: T

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)

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: T

Exploring a cruel, misogynistic practice, and finding hope, in ‘The Day I Will Never Forget’

Through this critical look at the arguments around the practice, the film presents a compelling discussion of women’s needs, concerns, and dreams. (AEL: 4/5)

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: A

‘An Angel at My Table’ is life captured in motion

A life’s journey captured in motion: female auteur Jane Campion is at her best in this canonical masterpiece from 1990. Based on writer and poet Janet Frame’s autobiographies, An Angel at My Table depicts in three parts Frame’s incredible struggle for existence in a world which was never made for her. (MJJ: 5/5)

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: T

Three stages of womanhood in Marzieh Makhamalbaf’s triptych ‘The Day I Became a Woman’

Writer and director Marzieh Makhamalbaf explores womanhood in Iran, complete with its yearnings and losses.

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: Q-S

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)

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: K-M

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 […]

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Uncategorized

‘Gas Food Lodging’: The ‘Ladybird’ of the ‘90s

Adapted from the novel ‘Don’t Look and It Won’t Hurt’ by Richard Peck and directed by Allison Anders, Gas Food Lodging is about a single mother and her two daughters, searching for meaning in life and their place in the world in the barren desert of New Mexico (JRL: 4 / 5). Review by FF2 […]

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: E-G

Mystery, melancholy, memory, and comfort pervade Júlia Murat’s ‘Found Memories’ like sunlight in an empty room

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)

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: Q-S

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)

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: Q-S

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 […]

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: B-D

‘Born in Flames’ boldly imagines women-led political world

The film is a passionate portrayal of intersectionality and injustice within a fictional social world that looks a lot like our own. (AEL: 4/5)

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: N-P

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)

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Reviews: T

Liliana Cavani’s 1974 film ‘The Night Porter’ is strangely obsessed with the past

Liliana Cavani’s 1974 film ‘The Night Porter’ is set in Vienna in 1957, twelve years after World War II. Set in Hotel Zur Oper, it is busy and bustling with guests, some of whom hold dark secrets. (SYJ: 4.5/5)

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: Q-S

Director Shaohong Li’s ‘Stolen Life’ shows us an example of how a life and a love were impacted by a single choice

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)

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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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Uncategorized

‘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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Reviews: T

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)

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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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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: K-M

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)

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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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