Jayme Lawson in Farewell Amor, directed by Ekwa Msangi

New Shows + Movies by Women — March 12, 2021

I love weeks that feature so many projects from different places. There are Chilean and U.S. series, as well as films from Chile, France, India, and the U.S. When we’re all still largely stuck at home due to the pandemic, there’s a temptation to only watch shows and movies from our own culture. That makes sense; we’re disconnected from it and seeing familiar parts of it comforts us. Please remember there are still ways you can connect with the larger world and see it through other people’s eyes. That helps make sure that we don’t draw into ourselves or start to limit our perspectives. That temptation to limit is a habit that can become painful and regressive. Challenging it can be just as much a comfort.

This intro section is useful for mentioning short films by women that are premiering. MUBI has two of them new this week:

“Vever (for Barbara)” is a film that saw progress by women experimental filmmakers of three generations. Each sought to learn about power structures different from the ones they were familiar with – avant-garde filmmaker and dancer Maya Deren wrote what became the screenplay after reflecting on a documentary she made about dance and religion in Haiti in the 1950s. Experimental filmmaker Barbara Hammer shot footage of an abandoned project in Guatemala in 1975. Finally, Deborah Stratman brings it all together by incorporating their unfinished projects into her own.

MUBI also has Lynne Sachs’s short “A Month of Single Frames”. It edits together images, sounds, and journal pieces that experimental filmmaker Barbara Hammer recorded in 1998.

Let’s get to the new series and movies:

NEW SERIES

Isabel: The Intimate Story of Isabel Allende (HBO Max)
showrunner Isabel Miquel

Isabel Allende is the world’s most widely read author in the Spanish language. This series is a three-part drama that covers the first 50 years of her life. Of course, there’s a particular focus on her escape from Chile. In 1973, the nation’s highest-ranking general, Augusto Pinochet, led a coup against the president. Allende’s father was first cousin to that president. Allende was a journalist for a feminist magazine, and helped those who were targeted for abduction, torture, and assassination escape Chile. She would flee to Venezuela after attempts were made on the lives of her immediate family.

You can watch “Isabel: The Intimate Story of Isabel Allende” on HBO.

Genera+ion (HBO Max)
co-showrunner Zelda Barnz

“Genera+ion” is a coming-of-age series about high school students figuring out their sexuality and how it shapes who they are. There’s a focus on including queer characters, and – rare for any type of show – one of the showrunners is actually a teenager.

Zelda Barnz is 19, but she’s been developing the show with her two fathers for four years now. Daniel is a writer-director, and Ben is a writer, so they envisioned the family project as a way to teach her about TV development. Ben had worked with Lena Dunham before, and arranged for Zelda to shadow her on HBO’s “Industry”. As the idea for “Genera+ion” grew from family project into more of a pitch, Dunham came on as a producer and helped garner HBO’s interest.

You’ll also find the stylized “Genera+ion” listed as “Generation”. You can watch it on HBO Max.

NEW MOVIES

Farewell Amor (Hulu)
directed by Ekwa Msangi

A man from Angola has been separated from his family for 17 years. He can finally bring his wife and daughter to the U.S. They share a one bedroom apartment, but haven’t been together for nearly two decades. There’s a wide disconnect between them now. They begin to connect again through a shared love of dance, but it may not be enough to help them through.

This is the first feature from writer-director Ekwa Msangi. She’s previously helmed South African series “The Agency”.

This was featured previously when it came to VOD. This is the first time it’s on a subscription service.

You can watch “Farewell Amor” on Hulu, or see where to rent it.

Bombay Rose (Netflix)
directed by Gitanjali Rao

A deaf orphan boy loses his job. A group of workers whisper about unionizing. An English teacher sets the table for her late husband every night. A Muslim man falls for a Hindu woman, each struggling to make ends meet. A single rose connects a city full of characters in a hand-painted animation that took 60 artists a year-and-a-half to make.

The absolutely awe-inspiring feat was helmed by writer, director, and editor Gitanjali Rao. This is her first feature animation, but her previous shorts “Printed Rainbow” and “TrueLoveStory” have earned praise and awards at Cannes and other festivals.

This was originally listed to come out in December – I’m not sure why it was delayed.

You can watch “Bombay Rose” on Netflix.

Too Late to Die Young (OVID TV)
directed by Dominga Sotomayor

“Too Late to Die Young” is a dreamy Chilean film that mixes memoir, love story, coming-of-age comedy, and early 90s period piece. The highly praised movie takes place in an intentional community.

This is writer-director Dominga Sotomayor’s third feature film. She’s also produced for several other South American filmmakers.

You can watch “Too Late to Die Young” on OVID TV.

Proxima (Hulu)
directed by Alice Winocour

“Proxima” tells the story of a woman preparing for a year aboard the International Space Station. Sarah is played by Eva Green, and she has to deal with doubtful colleagues and being away from her daughter for an entire year. The film centers around the concept that forcing women to choose between career and family is a false choice (and one that’s rarely asked of men). Green’s performance in particular has been lauded.

French writer-director Alice Winocour has built a pretty remarkable career in only a few films. “Mustang”, which she co-wrote with Deniz Gamze Erguven, was France’s Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film for 2015. As a director, “Proxima” is her third film after “Augustine” and “Disorder”.

This was featured previously when it came to VOD. This is the first time it’s on a subscription service.

You can watch “Proxima” on Hulu, or see where to rent it.

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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