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Divines, the feature film debut by Houda Benyamina, is the kind of coming-of-age movie that could easily have been about two boys living in poverty who get mixed up in the drug trade, replete with a charismatic, mercurial drug dealer. Indeed, the way that the male characters in Divines are kept peripheral to the plot, in the secondary positions of love interest or co-antagonist, is reminiscent of how female characters often get treated in these kinds of boy-centric stories. But Divines, magnificently, doesn’t follow the...
The 1972 drama Last Tango In Paris’ infamous rape scene was not consensual, director Bernardo Bertolucci admitted in a recently surfaced video from 2013. In the video, spotted by ELLE.com, Bertolucci admits that the infamous scene in which actress Maria Schneider’s character is raped with a stick of butter was not consensual. In the video, Bertolucci says that he and Marlon Brando, who was 48 while filming, came up with the idea for the scene and decided not to tell Schneider, who was 19. Bertolucci says he...

A girl from a small island embarks on a voyage to find a demi-god, defeat a volcano monster, and save the world. That girl’s name is Moana, and she is a Disney heroine for the planet. Moana stands out from other Disney folktales and fairy tales for various reasons. Not only is she a person of color, Moana’s tale is based on real folk tales of the Pacific Islands. Unfortunately, those islands are now being swallowed by the ocean due to climate change. The story of...
ALWAYS SHINEDirected by Sophia TakalOut December 2Rating: 3/5 Within the first 10 minutes of Always Shine, it’s clear that the film was directed by a woman. In the first scene, a beautiful, up-and-coming actress, Beth (Caitlin FitzGerald, Masters of Sex), auditions for a horror movie by taking her top off and saying the words, “I’ll do anything you want!” for some sleazy producers who inform her that the film requires “extensive nudity.” A few scenes later, Beth’s best friend Anna (Mackenzie Davis, Halt and Catch Fire)...
Image via Tumblr/TheCriterionCollection  Although women are not as recognized or celebrated in Hollywood as they should be, there are also directors around the world whose work is rarely shown and nearly forgotten. Larisa Shepitko, a Ukrainian-born filmmaker, is one of the many international directors who received critical acclaim during her lifetime but is not a name known to many today, even consummate film buffs. Shepitko was born in 1938 in Ukrainian territory controlled by the USSR. She attended the All-Union State of Cinematography in Moscow where her...
Enough Said “It’s hard to pin down what is so great about Holofcener’s work,” said a review of Enough Said in The New Yorker. It’s true. Like Nora Ephron before her and perhaps Lynn Shelton after her, Holofcener’s five films are easy to watch and put you into a world you may not necessarily know but somehow feels familiar. Holofcener makes her female characters not likable, exactly, but relatable. They are nice enough people but we also recognize and relate to their flaws. As The New Yorker...
Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton LOVINGWritten and directed by Jeff NicholsOut November 4Rating: 3/5 Almost 50 years after the Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia made interracial marriage legal across the U.S., a biopic has arrived. Writer/director Jeff Nichols (Mud) tells the story of the Lovings’ case as an intimate family drama, spending far more time in homes and cars than in courtrooms. The film opens in 1958, as Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton), who is white, and his pregnant girlfriend Mildred (Ruth Negga), who is black, travel...
Anna Biller's The Love Witch is nothing like your classic chick flick. When Elaine, played by Samantha Robinson, decides to use witchcraft to find true love, she ends up creating love spells so powerful that she's left a string of dead lovers. With its lush color palette and vibrant costume and set design, The Love Witch has all of the makings of a 60's melodramatic sexploitation film but Biller decides to bring sharp, contemporary feminist criticism into the mix, turning a simple tale of love, witchcraft and revenge into...
Over the course of the year 2016, I’ve seen a good fair few movies and ended up liking most of them (Luke Scott’s Morgan excluded). I’ve delighted in the blithe comedy of manners of Whit Stillman’s Love and Friendship, embarrassed everyone around me in the movie theater by laughing/crying too loudly at Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (directed by Jake Szymanski), cheered on the butt-kicking friendship of the ladies of Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (directed by Paul Feig), and enjoyed Batman v. Superman: Dawn of...
Melanie Lynskey and Linas Phillips. Photo by Nathan M. Miller The new movie Rainbow Time is uncategorizable — part romance, part drama, part dark comedy. Written, directed, and starring Linas Phillips, it originated with a character Phillips developed years ago after working with mentally disabled children. Phillips plays “Shawnzi,” a 40-year-old man with an unnamed mental disability who is prone to inappropriate sexual comments, is obsessed with Fonzie from Happy Days, and has intense sibling rivalry with his neurotypical brother, Todd (Timm Sharp). Melanie Lynskey gives...