Alejandro Speitzer and Maite Perroni in Dark Desire

New Shows + Movies by Women — July 17, 2020

There’s a good number of new shows and movies by women this week, so documentaries will split off to Monday again. Before we dive into the brand new stuff, I’d like to mention two other projects that are more widely available this week:

Writer-director Stella Meghie’s “The Weekend” has been available for rental, but Amazon and Hulu have both ensured it can now be seen on their streaming platforms as well. This is undoubtedly to capitalize on the discussion around Meghie’s well reviewed “The Photograph” from earlier this year.

While Peacock already debuted the first five episodes of animated series “Cleopatra in Space”, the entire 12-episode season was officially released on NBC’s new(ish) streaming platform on July 15. It’s co-showrun by Julia “Fitzy” Fitzmaurice.

On to new work:

P-Valley (STARZ series)
showrunner Katori Hall
every director

“P-Valley” just debuted on STARZ. The crime drama follows the lives of dancers at a strip club in Mississippi in what might best be described as Bayou Noir. “P-Valley” is based on showrunner Katori Hall’s own play. Hall herself is well known for plays such as “The Mountaintop” and “Hurt Village”.

Every director on the show is a woman. This includes Kimberly Peirce (“Boys Don’t Cry”) and Karena Evans (renowned for her music videos for the problematic Drake), among others.

You can watch “P-Valley” with a STARZ subscription. Don’t forget, you might already have this through a TV provider or through Hulu.

Dark Desire (Netflix series)
showrunner Leticia Lopez Margalli
half-directed by Kenya Marquez

A married woman has an affair during a weekend away. She returns, trying to dismiss what happened. It doesn’t help when the man she cheated with starts showing up in her everyday life, though. The show looks dark and stylish, and is being referred to as a high-quality guilty pleasure.

The majority of those behind “Dark Desire” are women. Creator and writer Leticia Lopez Margalli is a veteran in Mexican television. Of the four executive producers, three are women. One of the two directors helming the episodes is Kenya Marquez, a director known for her artful dramas.

Now, it is frustrating that I can’t embed a video of the trailer with subtitles for English speakers. Netflix has made one. It’s on the page for the show itself, but they haven’t bothered to put it somewhere where others can embed it. How streaming platforms keep passing up this very easy way to ensure their shows are advertised more widely is beyond me.

You can watch “Dark Desire” with a Netflix subscription, and if you’re interested but can’t speak Spanish, click on that link if you want to see the trailer with English subtitles.

The Secrets She Keeps (Sundance Now series)
directed by Catherine Millar, Jennifer Leacey

Two pregnant women meet in a supermarket and become fast friends. Except…one begins to stalk the other and obsess over her life. That’s the set-up of Australian drama “The Secrets She Keeps”.

Catherine Millar directs four of the six episodes, Jennifer Leacey the other two. Catherine Millar has directed in some of Australia’s most well-known series: including “The New Adventures of Black Beauty”, “The Lost World”, “Farscape”, and “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries”. The list goes on.

Jennifer Leacey has started directing more recently in Australian TV. Her resume reads as that of working her way up the line, from production secretary in “Dark City” to ‘second second’ assistant director in “The Thin Red Line” and finally assistant director in films like “Australia”, “The Great Gatsby”, and the phenomenal “The Rover”.

The reason I highlight this is because it’s really amazing to see the path of positions and projects someone has gone through in building their career in movies. Of course, as Baz Luhrmann’s assistant director, you’d think she might have gotten a crack at directing a lot earlier than 2014 series “Wonderland”.

You can watch “The Secrets She Keeps” with a Sundance Now subscription.

This is one of the lesser known streaming options, so I’ll go into it a bit. It’s $5 a month, although check around in what you already have first. You may already have access to Sundance Now through a traditional TV package such as AMC+, which many Comcast customers might already have.

The Rest of Us (Hulu)
directed by Aisling Chin-Yee

The ex-husband of Heather Graham’s Cami passes away. His most recent wife and her daughter have nowhere to stay, so Cami invites them to stay with her and her own daughter. Obviously, this isn’t easy for anyone involved.

That’s the premise of “The Rest of Us”, Canadian director Aisling Chin-Yee’s feature debut. Chin-Yee got her start in documentary production, and stepped into narrative filmmaking as a producer on 2013’s exceptional “Rhymes for Young Ghouls”.

“The Rest of Us” arrived in a few theaters earlier this year, but wasn’t well platformed and intersected with the beginning of COVID-19 in the U.S.

You can watch “The Rest of Us” with a Hulu subscription.

Lake of Death (Shudder)
directed by Nini Bull Robsahm

Lillan’s twin brother died at a cabin last year. What’s the thing to do this summer? Head back up there and go swimming! This is a horror trope I’ll never get, but it does set up all you need to know pretty quickly. “Lake of Death” looks like a potentially strong entry in the genre.

This is Norwegian writer-director Nini Bull Robsahm’s third film.

You can watch “Lake of Death” with a Shudder subscription.

MILF (Netflix)
directed by Axelle Laffont

Three French women in their forties have affairs with younger men. I believe this is the first time this 2018 French comedy has been realistically accessible in the U.S. The cast is promising. If star Virginie Ledoyen’s name is familiar, she was much talked about as the lead in “The Beach” 20 years ago, and has been a mainstay in French productions ever since.

I could do without the GHB joke in the trailer, but it otherwise looks like an effective and pointed comedy. Axelle Lafont both stars and directs. This is her feature debut.

You can watch “MILF” with a Netflix subscription.

Coven (digital rental)
directed by Margaret Malandruccolo

I’ll be blunt when I say early reviews have not been kind, but who knows? It could be some quality camp.

This is Canadian director Margaret Malandruccolo’s feature debut. She’s directed hundreds of music videos previous to this.

You can rent “Coven” for $4 from Fandango or Vudu, or for $5 from Amazon or iTunes.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

If you enjoy what you read on this site, consider subscribing to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

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