Before we dive in, I want to highlight Cameroonian director Rosine Mbakam. She has three films making their U.S. debut on OVID TV. Two are short films under 20 minutes. “You Will Be My Ally” is about a woman from Gabon trying to prove her papers are real to Belgian interrogators. “Doors of the Past” looks at women refugees who fled their homes and settled in Belgium.
Mbakam’s “Delphine’s Prayers” is a feature-length documentary about a young Belgian woman from Cameroon who turned to sex work to survive. The three films join two others by Mbakam that MUBI already features.
I hope to feature documentaries by women again if there’s a time when I can regularly roll the workload in, but Mbakam’s work is worth noting for a voice that isn’t often platformed, and for so much of her work coming to bear at once. (OVID TV has been good about collecting and platforming the work of short, experimental, and documentary filmmakers in big chunks like this.)
No new series this week, so let’s jump straight to movies:
directed by Rebecca Hall
Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson star as Clare and Irene. They’re both Black women who can pass as white in 1920s New York, but one chooses to bask in that privilege while the other sees it as a betrayal.
Writer-director Rebecca Hall has starred in “The Prestige”, “The Town”, and “Godzilla vs. Kong”, but this is her first film as writer or director. The English actress is white-passing, and has wrestled openly about how this allows her the kind of roles rarely offered to Black women.
You can watch “Passing” on Netflix.
Schoolgirls (HBO Max)
directed by Pilar Palomero
Celia is an 11 year old who attends a convent school. She lives with her mother, and her father has passed away. When Claudia arrives at school, Celia finds herself facing a number of questions she hadn’t considered before.
This is the first feature from writer-director Pilar Palomero. She came into the industry as an electrician, before working as a camera operator and then cinematographer.
You can watch “Schoolgirls” on HBO Max.
Land (HBO Max)
directed by Robin Wright
Robin Wright stars as Edee, a woman who’s suffered loss and decides to live off the grid in Wyoming. She almost dies due to her lack of knowledge, until Miguel (Demian Bichir) decides to teach her outdoor survival.
Robin Wright is best known as an actress, and was nominated for multiple Emmy Awards in the U.S. version of “House of Cards”. She would end up directing 10 episodes of that series. “Land” is her first feature film as director.
You can watch “Land” on HBO Max.
directed by Jeong Ga-young
Jeong Ga-Young writes, directs, and stars in this romantic comedy about a woman caught between two married men. I couldn’t find a trailer for it, so please enjoy the scene clip.
This is the second feature helmed and the first written for the South Korean indie director.
You can watch “Heart” on MUBI.
The Accursed (VOD)
directed by Kathryn Michelle, Elizabeta Vidovic
Hana has spent her adult life suppressing a curse on her bloodline. A family member releases it knowing what it will cause, putting Hana in a situation where she’ll have to kill in order to avoid death.
This is the first feature for writer-directors Kathryn Michelle and Elizabeta Vidovic.
You can rent “The Accursed” on Redbox.
See You Next Christmas (VOD)
directed by Christine Weatherup
Natalie and Logan run into each other at the same party every year. They start wondering if this is a sign they’re meant to be together.
Writer-director Christine Weatherup is an actress who’s recently shifted into writing and directing. This is her first feature.
You can rent “See You Next Christmas” on Redbox.
Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.
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