In this thriller by German director Florian Gallenberger, Emma Watson stars as Lena, a woman who must rescue her husband by infiltrating Chile’s notorious Colonia Dignidad, a cult from which no one has ever escaped. The colony, founded in 1961 by German child sex abuser Paul Schafer, was later a repository for political dissidents under Augusto Pinochet, and many of Chile’s “disappeared” are thought to have been tortured and killed there. The film had its debut in Toronto last September and opens in the U.S. on Friday.
Three of the women-directed entries for Best Foreign Language Film screened at AFI FEST in Los Angeles this weekend. Take a look at my roundup on Women and Hollywood’s blog on Indiewire.
In Holofcener’s new feature, Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Eva, a divorced mother who meets James Gandolfini’s Albert. They begin to fall for each other just as Eva realizes that her new beau is none other than the despised ex-husband of her new client, Marianne, played by Catherine Keener (one of the things I like about Holofcener is that her films often give us another chance to hear Keener’s adorable rasp). As Eva listens to Marianne’s complaints about her ex, the budding relationship between Eva and Albert begins to wither.
Holofcener’s 2006 Friends With Money won the Dorothy Arzner Directors Award and was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay, as was her 2010 dramedy Please Give. Enough Said, which offers fans one last chance to see Gandolfini onscreen, just premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and looks poised to collect awards as well.
What’s more, Claudia Puig — one of my favorite film critics — loved it, calling Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini “the year’s most likable on-screen couple.” That’s more than enough to make me excited about this one.
Wadjda is the first feature from award-winning director Haifaa Al-Mansour, the first woman from Saudi Arabia to direct a feature-length film. It follows the story of a Saudi girl who enters her school’s Koran-reciting competition because she wants to use the prize money to buy herself a bicycle. However, this is a country where bicycle riding is frowned upon for girls. Since premiering last year at the Venice Film Festival, Wadjda has been winning awards at film festivals all over the world, including the Audience Award for Best International Feature at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Although Wadjda is the first feature film to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, it won’t be playing there any time soon. Movie theaters are banned in the country.
Written and directed by Jill Soloway, Afternoon Delight is the story of an L.A. hipster housewife who becomes obsessed with “saving” a stripper by hiring her as a live-in nanny. This sounds like a fine idea.
Afternoon Delight premiered at Sundance and stars Kathryn Hahn, Juno Temple, Josh Radnor, and Jane Lynch. It’s in limited release and opens to more theaters today. Click here to see if it’s playing near you.
Adore (directed by Anne Fontaine, who directed Coco Before Chanel, starring Audrey Tautou) premiered at Sundance last January. It’s about two women, played by Naomi Watts and Robin Wright, who engage in romantic trysts with each other’s teenage sons. It opened in limited release in the U.S. last weekend, and this Friday it opens in several more cities. Click here to see if it’s playing at a theater near you.
Directed by Amy Marquis, this project funds the first of ten short films following the personal stories of visitors whose lives have been changed by America’s National Parks. The films are being timed to celebrate the upcoming 2016 National Parks Service centennial.
As explained on the project’s Kickstarter page, it looks like they’ll start with this one:
“Love in the Tetons.* This September, something really special is happening in Grand Teton National Park: A wedding. But not just any wedding. The groom is a young Mexican-American from south-central Los Angeles, who had no connection with nature until an urban-youth program introduced him to the national parks and completely changed the trajectory of his life. The bride hails from a long line of migrant farm workers in Texas, but in 2006, at age 21, she left home for the first time to visit Kenai Fjord National Park in Alaska– an experience that empowered her to break out of the migrant-worker cycle. Today, she serves as both an interpretive ranger and the youth and diversity outreach coordinator in Grand Teton National Park. We’ll embed ourselves with their families, dig into stories about the generations of hard work and sacrifice that helped guide them to this special day in the Tetons, and reveal an important new vision of the “American Dream”– one that blooms out of our living, breathing national parks.”
Click here to go to the Kickstarter page for National Park Experience and support women filmmakers!