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20th Century Women is refreshing, beautiful, and feminist. Director and writer Mike Mills takes us back to 1979 Santa Barbara: punk is on the rise and feminism is seeping into the mainstream. He brings to life his teenage self in this semi-autobiographical tale, yet focuses firmly on the narratives of three strong women close to him at the time. What makes this provocative film remarkable is that it doesn’t fall back on the usual cliché female roles—instead portraying lives closer to what women actually experience....
TONI ERDMANNWritten and directed by Maren AdeOut December 25Rating: 3/5 Ines (Sandra Hüller) is a German woman who works in Bucharest and is all business from her natty suits to her icy demeanor. She can hardly stand to be around her family for more than a brief jaunt between business trips. But when her weird, prankster father Winfried (Peter Simonischek) sniffs out that Ines is less than the uber-successful businesswoman she presents to her family, he descends upon her in Bucharest, creates a new persona (a...

From Ghostbusters to Moonlight, AbFab to American Honey, it's been a good year for movies of all types — comedy, dramedy, drama, horror, and everything in between. We've put together a list of 18 of the best-reviewed movies featured in BUST magazine and BUST.com this year. If you haven't seen them yet, make a plan to do so ASAP! Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, written and directed by Burt Steers, released February 5 Almost seven years after Seth Grahame-Smith’s parody novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, enjoyed its brief moment in...
Despite winning an Oscar for her lead role in As Good As It Gets, Helen Hunt wasn’t getting offered roles. Whether it was due to the infamous Oscar curse or whether she was simply a victim of Hollywood’s bias against women “of a certain age,” (she was not even 40 at the time of her win), she decided to try her hand at behind the scenes work. Hunt acquired and developed the novel, Then She Found Me, for her directorial debut. But it wasn’t as simple...
After dropping out of college as a biology major, Ana Lily Amirpour went to art school in San Francisco and film school at UCLA. She signed early with Hollywood agents and managers, but while in Germany making a short film for the Berlinale Talent Campus, she decided the studio route was not what she wanted to do. “I ended up not making those Hollywood films and I am so glad. They were not my pure soul matter. In Germany, I got to sit and think about...
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...
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