By Jennifer Merin
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
July turns out to be a good month for Jennifer Merin, president of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, to start her monthly WeNews cinema preview. There's a lot to see, starting with the U.S. premiere of Agnes Varda's documentary about her life.
"Homecoming," opening July 17, deserves a mention because it was written by Katie L. Fetting, who penned "Method," which was released by Warner Bros. in 2004. This is her second film--and I'm always ready to look for more.
"A Women in Berlin" ("Anonyma - Eine Frau in Berlin"), by contrast, is entirely femme-centric. Based on a woman's diary, the film is a compelling drama about survival and sexual abuse in post-WW II Berlin, where conquering Soviet soldiers rampantly raped German women. It's a harrowing tale that resonates with current reports of war-related rapes in conflict zones around the globe.
Also on July 17 is the debut of "Orphan," a horror drama about a little girl who is adopted, but has some fearsome problems. Nice that they made the central character a little girl, but is she a girl or a monster? And, if she is a monster, is her condition objectionably attributable to her gender? I haven't yet seen the film, so I will have to wait to find out.
"The Ugly Truth," opening on July 24, is a Robert Luketic (he directed "Legally Blonde") chick flick, cleverly penned by Nicole Eastman and Karen McCullah Lutz. It's about a TV producer (Katherine Heigl) who gets involved with a chauvinistic reporter (Gerard Butler) and, well, you know, things happen.
On July 31, look for "Lorna's Silence," written and directed by the brothers Dardenne (Jean-Pierre and Luc). This dark, brutal psychological drama won the prestigious "prix du scenario" at the Cannes Film Festival.
It revolves around an Albanian refugee in Belgium who gets caught in a web of illegalities to stay in her new homeland. The subject of immigration may be of particular interest in our homeland these days and, if European reviews are any indication, it's sure to be controversial--which is the norm for the Dardennes.
A woman also plays a key role in "The Cove," a tremendously compelling documentary about dolphin slaughter in Japan. The film was shot by a team of animal activists who risked their lives to secretly--often under cover of night with infrared cameras--document the killings and expose the evils to the world. One of the animal activists involved is the amazing Diving Hall of Famer Mandy-Rae Cruikshank This is a must-see film.
Jennifer Merin is president of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ). She edits AWFJ Women On Film (www.awfj.org, firstname.lastname@example.org) and writes about film for About.com (http://documentaries.about.com).
Alliance of Women Film Journalists
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