MURINA – Review by Jennifer Green

Executive produced by Martin Scorsese and winner of the 2021 Camera d’Or in Cannes for first-time feature director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović, Murina is a slow-churning, disquieting tale of a young woman’s revelation that her life could have been entirely different than what it is, and her empowerment to change her future.

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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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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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THE TSUGUA DIARIES – Review by Jennifer Green

Portuguese film The Tsugua Diaries (Diários de Otsoga) provides a thought-provoking and sense-arousing time capsule of a globally unforgettable moment. Within the confines of the summer 2020 pandemic lockdown, co-directors Maureen Fazendeiro and Miguel Gomes probe concepts of storytelling and character development by recounting 22 days on a film set – backwards. The result is at times dull, realistically and symbolically so. But as an intellectual exercise, Diaries proposes some provocative ideas by deconstructing traditional notions of time, story and character.

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FIRE IN THE MOUNTAINS – Review by Jennifer Green

It would be hard not to be affected by Fire in the Mountains‘ dire story of one woman’s personal struggles in a Himalayan village. Embodied within her story are larger themes, clear but crafted in subtle and realistic ways, about a woman’s place in her world and the simmering conflict between traditional and modern India. Set in a beautiful area touted as the Switzerland of India for its spectacular Himalayan views, the film contrasts that natural beauty with the scarcity and hardships of its villagers.

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PLEASURE – Review by Jennifer Green

Swedish director Ninja Thyberg’s debut feature Pleasure pushes the boundaries between objective storytelling and voyeurism, and it does so with a heavy dose of realism, including a majority of the cast coming from the adult film industry itself, which makes the film both absorbing and very hard to watch. It’s impossible not to feel a sense of dread throughout Pleasure, and that is exactly the point.

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HAPPENING – Review by Jennifer Green

Happening (L’Evénément) is a riveting film, from start to finish. The story about a young woman who finds herself unintentionally pregnant in 1960s France, a time and place where abortions were illegal, is universal and powerful, at once heartbreaking and liberating. Sixty years have passed since that era, yet the film holds powerful messages today in the face of pushback on women’s reproductive rights. The film is based on the semi-autobiographical book by Annie Ernaux.

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THE TALE OF KING CRAB – Review by Jennifer Green

The Tale of King Crab is a moody Italian drama that weaves a wandering narrative of misfortune, desperation and redemption. It could potentially be read as a treatment on mental illness and alcoholism, or perhaps on the imprecision of oral histories. Either way, it is at its core a story of, by and for men split into two very different chapters, one shot in Italian and the other in Spanish.

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PARIS, 13TH DISTRICT – Review by Jennifer Green

Veteran director Jacques Audiard’s Paris, 13th District (Les Olympiades, Paris 13e) is a beautiful film to look at, well-acted and full of commentary on a generation of contemporary Parisians. It does for the meandering lives and loves of thirty-something Parisians something akin to what Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World did for Norwegian millennials. What voids these young people are grappling to fill (or ignore) is left at least partially up for interpretation. Perhaps that’s why Paris‘s somewhat traditional – and satisfying – closure comes as a bit of a surprise.

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