DREAMING WALLS – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

New York City’s Chelsea Hotel has been called a bohemian utopia, but for longtime resident Rose Cory, it’s like a grand old tree with deep roots and life, even after being chopped down. Cory, who has lived at the hotel since 1978, provides resonant thoughts about the iconic building’s crossroads in the documentary Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotel. Partly an elegy to the hotel’s edgy heyday and a tribute to those still living there, the film gives viewers a glimpse inside this landmark where artists and intellectuals lived — and more than a few died.

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Debra McClutchy and Anne Alvergue on THE MARTHA MITCHELL EFFECT – Nell Minow interviews

On Netflix, a new documentary from directors Debra McClutchy and Anne Alvergue is called The Martha Mitchell Effect, named for a psychiatric term inspired by Martha Mitchell’s story. It means someone whose comments are dismissed as mental illness but turned out to have been telling the truth. In an interview, the directors talked about doing research at the Nixon Library, what Martha liked about talking to the press, and why they see her as a hero.

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FAIR PLAY – Review by Joan Amenn

Based on a book of the same name by Eve Rodsky, director Jennifer Siebel Newsom attempts to bring a light touch to some very somber statistics about the effects of gender roles in families struggling to maintain their work life balance. Seen through the somewhat fractured prism of the recent Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade, some of the humor can make a viewer wince rather than ruefully chuckle but the points raised are worth pursuing.

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100 DAYS WITH TATA – Review by Jennifer Green

Shot during the Covid19 quarantine, 100 Days with Tata is Spanish director/actor Miguel Angel Muñoza’s heartwarming documentary love letter to Luisa Cantero, his 95-year-old great-aunt who never married, worked as a cleaning lady, and took care of him, her sister’s great-grandchild, as if he were her own son.

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Miguel Angel Muñoz on documenting life with TATA – Jennifer Green interviews

100 Days with Tata, the documentary that Spanish actor/director Miguel Angel Muñoz crafted out a year spent in Covid19 quarantine with his great aunt, Luisa Cantero, the titular Tata, is a testament to the power of love, the difficulty of aging, the reality of death and the importance of family.

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HARGROVE (Tribeca 2022) – Review by Leslie Combemale

Perhaps it’s the love first time filmmaker Eliane Henri had for her friend, legendary jazzman Roy Hargrove, that inspired her, but she’s created a film that isn’t just biographical, but also considers things like the predatory nature of the music industry and what art can be in truly collaborative hands. Her choices lead to a beautiful tribute for one of the giants of the musical world.

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THE WILD ONE (Tribeca 2022) – Reviewed by Marilyn Ferdinand

If you don’t know who Jack Garfein is, you’re not alone. Garfein was one of the most influential movers in the acting profession—he discovered Steve McQueen, Bruce Dern, George Peppard, Ben Gazzara, Pat Hingle, and Albert Salmi. He also introduced Irish playwright Samuel Beckett to American audiences. But his uncompromising approach to telling the truth through art put him on the outs with the entertainment establishment. He made only two films, and retreated to stage directing and educating a whole new kind of movie actor.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 24, 2022: BITTERBRUSH

A unique coming-of-age story, Emelie Mahdavian’s immersive, observational documentary Bitterbrush takes viewers fully into a world many aren’t likely to have experienced. Following friends Colie Moline and Hollyn Patterson through their final summer herding cattle together on a remote ranch before life takes them in new, separate directions, it conveys emotions that are as big as the Idaho sky while maintaining a tight focus on the two young women and their relationship with each other.

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AWFJ Presents: ONLY WHEN I DANCE – Review by Jennifer Green

It is only when he’s dancing that Brazilian teen Irlan Santos da Silva says he feels like himself. Born and raised in one of Rio de Janeiro’s impoverished favelas, ballet has offered Irlan an escape from the chaos of the city streets. He confides this to director Beadie Finzi’s omnipresent camera in the 2009 documentary Only When I Dance, an intimate character portrait of two young dancers following their passion to overcome the odds of their upbringing in the Brazilian metropolis.

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BEBA – Review by Leslie Combemale

Beba presents a woman of color who is neither famous nor infamous, searching for her identity in her own voice. What makes Beba watchable is viewers get the sense that she is examining her mistakes and her significant role in familial conflict in a multi-dimensional way. That is best exampled by the last lines of the film. She seems genuine in wanting to get her head out of her own ass and take responsibility for her place in the world, something that makes her perspective, and the way she chooses to tell her own story, truly compelling.

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