(WOMENSENEWS)–“The Decent One” is Israeli filmmaker Vanessa Lapa’s remarkable profile of Heinrich Himmler, architect of the Nazi extermination policy and death camps. The film, which opened Oct. 1, is based on a recently discovered cache of the Gestapo chief’s diaries, letters and photographs. It reveals Himmler to be delusional, a man who thought himself to be heroic and was in reality devoid of morality. Himmler expresses this goal: “We can have but one desire as to what is said about us these German officers, these German soldiers – they were decent.” Despite its title, this film will never allow that statement to be made about Himmler himself. The documentary’s dispassionate tone makes Himmler’s heinous behavior even more shocking. This is not an easy watch, but it is truly gripping and an extremely well made and important film.
Opening Oct. 3
Filmmaker Joanna Lipper’s “The Supreme Price” follows political activist Hafsat Abiola from her studies at Harvard to her homeland of Nigeria, where she is heroic in her determination to realize the democratic ideals of her parents. Her father is MKO Abiola, elected as Nigeria’s president in 1993 but then imprisoned by a military coup, and her mother Kudrat Abiola, who assumed leadership of the prodemocracy movement after her husband’s imprisonment and was then assassinated. With extraordinary access to her lead character and other key players, Lipper reveals the depth of the corruption and violence that dominates politics in Africa’s oil rich and most populous nation.
“Bitter Honey” is anthropologist/filmmaker Robert Lemelson’s heartbreaking documentary about Balinese polygamous marriages – the film follows three families for seven years — in which wives suffer the tragic results of physical and psychological abuse and dire economic hardships from which they cannot escape. Yes, modern day slavery does exist.
“The Good Lie” is Hollywood’s well-intentioned take on the truth-based tale of four Sudanese youngsters orphaned by civil war. Scripted by Margaret Nagle, it follows a group of so-called Lost Boys – played by Sudanese actors who were formally child soldiers in their country — as they walk thousands of miles across Africa and are eventually airlifted to the United States. As they try to adjust to their new way of life, they are guided by a tough-but-sympathetic counselor (Reese Witherspoon). Philippe Falardeau’s direction gives dramatic depth and urgency.
“Gone Girl” is October’s blockbuster, the David Fincher take on Gillian Flynn’s bestselling eponymous novel about a modern marriage gone very very wrong. Almost anything you reveal about the twisted semi-psychotic plot will be a spoiler (unless, of course, you’ve read the book, which was quite faithfully adapted for the screen by its author). Ben Affleck plays the husband, Rosamond Pike is the wife. They’re both convincing and the cat-and-mouse plot will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. Tyler Perry does a good job as a sharp lawyer, a nice change from his Madea drag.
“You’re Not You” is a drama about women bonding. Hillary Swank stars as a 30-something woman who’s suddenly diagnosed with ALS and hires an inexperienced and inept college student (Emmy Rossum) to be her full-time caregiver. They have nothing in common but a spark of caring blossoms into a precious relationship that fortifies them both. Co-scripted by Shana Feste and Jordan Harris, the film is filled with humor, but it’s also a real heart jerker. Bring tissues.
“Annabelle” is the first of the month’s supernatural femme-centric scarers. The plot revolves around the demon doll whose evil was unleashed in “The Conjurer.” This film is sort of a prequel, but the plot points are sort of the same. Still, thanks to smart editing, Annabelle cuts to the chase with some serious frights
“The Devil’s Hand,” the month’s second femme-centric scarer, is a 6-6-6 story. The birth of six girls on the sixth day of the sixth month in the cult-run rural town of New Bethlehem initiates an ancient prophecy that on the girls’ 18th birthday, one of them will become “the Devil’s Hand.” As that fateful 18th birthday nears, the girls begin to disappear one by one. Whoa! Major evil lurks in that rural hamlet. But, no spoilers here
“Housebound” is femme-centric scarer No. 3. This one is set in New Zealand. Morgana O’Reilly stars as Kylie, an antisocial woman whose bad behavior gets her remanded to her mother’s home for detention. Mom is convinced her house is haunted, and apparently she’s right. Terrifying things start to happen and Kylie begins to doubt her sanity. Again, no spoilers. But in “Housebound,” you can expect a lot of laughs between the scares.
“The Tale of the Princess Kaguya,” based on a classic Japanese folk tale, is a story of magical transformations. Directed by Isao Takahata, it’s the latest animated brilliance from Japan’s Studio Ghibli. The film stars the voice of Chloë Grace Moretz as a tiny girl who emerges from a bamboo stalk and is raised by a bamboo cutter and his wife. She grows into a beautiful enchantress who attracts five noble suitors – and makes some serious mistakes for which she must seek redemption. The animation is gorgeous and the story will dazzle viewers of all ages.