Tag Archives: Indian film

New Shows + Movies by Women — Dec. 16, 2022

There are three kinds of holiday programming that are easy to identify. The first is holiday movies and, occasionally, series. An article went up covering new holiday films by women on Monday – check it out. These are easy to recognize, since they tend to be plastered with holiday iconography so there’s no chance of mistaking them for something you could put off watching.

The second is so-called prestige projects. This is kind of a cheat since it covers anything that could be going for an award. Event films that are thought to have a shot at Best Film and Director awards come out in theaters. “Auteur” films such as Guillermo Del Toro’s recently-released “Pinocchio” are split between theater releases and streaming projects. These are films that may contend for a wide array of awards, but have to make due as the box office undercard to movies like the new “Avatar”.

Within prestige projects, you’ve also got the smaller films hoping to sneak in an award or two – a best screenplay or best supporting actor bid. Many have come out earlier in the year but time their streaming or VOD releases to get eyes right before awards nominations take place. A single best actor nod in a bigger ceremony can give these films second lives that outpace their initial releases. Finally, some smaller films with big awards clout will come out in just a few theaters for qualification before platformed expansions and finally hitting streaming in February or March. That means they’re more realistically 2023 movies for how audiences have access to them, but they often rely on 2022 awards nominations to build their marketing.

That covers a lot of territory, but generally the idea is that everyone’s taking their best shot at awards at this time of year. A lot of prestige series are also released, less because of awards timing (especially because the Golden Globes got moved up so far this year) and more because younger demographics have a solid chunk of time over the break to binge watch them.

That gives us two categories: holiday movies and the broad scope of prestige projects. The third is counter-programming. Counter-programming takes on different shapes depending on the time of year. During the summer event movie season, counter-programming looks like romantic comedies. They’re built to appeal to audiences that may have less interest in those event movies. The holidays have a surplus of comforting seasonal films and prestige projects, so counter-programming takes the shape of what’s unsettling: horror series and movies. This week, we’re starting to see some of these directed by women.

Before we get to that, I also want to note Alice Rohrwacher’s short film on Disney+, “Le pupille”. It finds girls at a Catholic boarding school rebelling during a time of war and scarcity. Short films are often a director’s route to studios taking bigger chances on them, and they have been immensely important for underrepresented groups such as women getting better-funded projects off the ground.

This week, new series by women come from Nigeria and the U.S., and new films by women from India and the U.S.

NEW SERIES

Kindred (Hulu)
mostly directed by women

The adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s 1979 novel finds a Black woman named Dana pulled through time. Some moments, she’s working as a writer in the modern day. At others, she’s surviving on a 19th century plantation.

Directors include Ayoka Chenzira (“Queen Sugar”), Destiny Ekaragha (“The End of the F***ing World”), Amanda Marsalis (“Ozark”), and Janicza Bravo (“Zola”). Women direct 7 of the 8 episodes.

You can watch “Kindred” on Hulu. All 8 episodes are out.

Far From Home (Netflix)
co-showrun by Damilola Elebe

In this Nigerian series, a teen finds himself out of his element when he earns a scholarship to an elite school.

Damilola Elebe showruns with Chinaza Onuzo. She started as a radio presenter before becoming a screenwriter.

You can watch “Far From Home” on Netflix. All 5 episodes are out.

National Treasure: Edge of History (Disney+)
co-showrun by Marianne Wibberley

This continuation of the Nicolas Cage movies finds a DACA woman named Jess investigating her late father’s involvement in a network of treasure protectors.

Lisette Olivera, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and (the severely underappreciated) Breeda Wool star, with Harvey Keitel and Justin Bartha reprising their roles from the films.

Marianne Wibberley showruns with husband Cormac. The pair co-wrote both “National Treasure” movies, as well as other 2000s actioners like “I Spy” and “Bad Boys II”.

You can watch “National Treasure: Edge of History” on Disney+. The first two episodes are out, with a new one arriving every Wednesday for a total of 10.

NEW MOVIES

Nanny (Amazon)
directed by Nikyatu Jusu

Aisha is a nanny and an immigrant. Taking care of a child in New York’s Upper East Side, she encounters secrets that challenge her access to the American dream. Anna Diop and Michelle Monaghan star.

This is the first feature from writer-director Nikyatu Jusu.

You can watch “Nanny” on Amazon Prime.

The Apology (Shudder)
directed by Alison Locke

Twenty years after her daughter’s disappearance, Darlene is a recovering alcoholic preparing to host her family’s Christmas celebration. He ex-brother in law shows up unannounced, triggering a cascade of secrets and horror.

This is the first feature from writer-director Alison Locke.

You can watch “The Apology” on Shudder.

Doctor G (Netflix)
directed by Anubhuti Kashyap

A male doctor reluctantly finds himself the only man in his gynecology class, challenging his chauvinism and assumptions of the field.

Anubhuti Kashyap directs and co-writes the Hindi-language film.

You can watch “Doctor G” on Netflix.

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

If you enjoy what you’re reading, subscribe to my Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

Empathy for the Abyss — “Qala”

As I write about “Qala”, I keep having that moment where I feel…how the hell do I convey the experience of watching it? Qala is an immensely popular singer on Indian films in the 30s. She was raised by her mother to continue her father’s musical legacy, until her mother found an orphan boy whose maleness offered an easier path. What’s Qala’s own road to success after she’s forgotten and discarded within her own family?

But describing “Qala” doesn’t tell you what it’s like to witness it. The Hindi-language film is immediately one of the best musicals and horror films I’ve seen. It’s not a musical where everyone breaks into song, but it’s more focused on music and performance than most musicals where that does happen.

I’ve seen musicals that meld with horror before, usually in campy, fun ways that reassure and comfort. “Qala” has some of the most beautiful, gossamer-silky songs I’ve heard, their comfort, peace, and elegance increasingly transformed by story, performance, and meaning into tension, abandonment, desperation. The music here conveys horror in a way I’ve never seen or felt.

But praising “Qala” doesn’t tell you what it’s like to sit there as it reshapes itself as only the best gothic horrors can, or how its beautiful, classically-minded Indian songs evoke quiet screams from inner landscapes. “Qala” is a “Frankenstein” or “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” or “The Invisible Man” emotionally codified to represent how women must switch between each in a world that sets them aside for men, trades them to be rid of them, expects servitude in exchange for opportunity.

In her two films, writer-director Anvitaa Dutt has clarified that the physical fantasies of torn identity in gothic horror are emotional realities for women. Her approach to horror isn’t one of surprising you with the twist. She brings you in on the ‘what’ of things pretty early so she can tell you the ‘why’ and ‘how’. Her horrors are about the very real ones that force those in fiction to arise.

Like the best of Guillermo del Toro and Julie Taymor, Dutt finds a way to fuse the relentlessly stylized to the utterly human. Much of this rests in her trust in Triptii Dimri, the lead who carries Qala through vast emotional ranges. In my review for “Bulbbul”, I compared Dimri to Anthony Hopkins in a particular way. Each knows that if you pick the right moment to go over the top, you can change the mechanics of how people watch a film. You can act a character in such a way that makes those around them act for her. By choosing moments where the supporting cast becomes audience not through structure or script, but simply through sheer will of a lead performer, we take up our seats as support – or even enabler – and become a part of that world.

By shattering our immersion with precision, that immersion re-forms with a greater gravity, encompassing us. What once laid outside our suspension of disbelief now orbits the performer. These performances move the norms of our immersion. Few performers can pull that off. Dimri is one of them. Few directors know how to empower this. Dutt is one of them. Usually it’s lightning in a bottle for such an actor and director to find each other. It’s even rarer still to maintain such a charged balance for long. Across two films now, Dimri and Dutt may’ve become the best actor-director pair working today.

But telling you that doesn’t communicate what it’s like to experience “Qala”. A lot of what I write for film begins as a meander. At some point, I know I’ll lock into a groove that embodies something about the film. I find a handhold, and then recenter my thoughts around that path into the film. Anything written before this gets cut or edited around that route, because a description or analysis means very little without conveying something about the experience of what it’s like to sit and watch.

But “Qala” is sheer, indivisible. It’s not impenetrable, it’s very easy to access, but to pull at any of its layers risks losing the context and empathy that shape them all. Pulling any single thread enough to show it to you misshapes the others. As elevated and wide-ranging as its style can be, there’s something pristinely real and consequential about the shape of “Qala”, something that makes us commiserate and understand horrible things because how else does one escape horror if it’s all they know?

A handhold into “Qala” feels like it swallows your arm. The film is sumptuous, if a film that feels like drowning could ever be described that way. The best way to describe “Qala” would be through a book of thoughts and reflections, or the kind of brief poem a poet only ever gets right once or twice in their life. The best way I have to describe “Qala” is that I can’t, not fully. I’m not sure I’d want to. What’s the emotional route into quicksand? How do you review an abyss? How do you describe awe except to say you were there to feel it?

You can watch “Qala” on Netflix.

If you enjoy articles like this, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to write more.

New Shows + Movies by Women — December 2, 2022

This year, the holidays start with heartwarming movies about love stories, male strippers, and British people having affairs. We’re covering the last two weeks, since last week was a holiday.

I’m going to split off holiday movies into a separate article, since there are so many of them. That’ll make each more manageable, both for me and hopefully for readers.

This week, new series by women come from Canada, Finland, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S., and new films by women from Australia, India, Mexico, the U.K., and the U.S.

NEW SERIES

First Love (Netflix)
showrun/directed by Kanchiku Yuri

High school students Yae and Harumichi fall in love in the late 90s. Yae goes to college, and Harumichi joins Japan’s Self-Defense Forces. 20 years after a tragic accident, Yae works as a taxi driver and Harumichi is employed by a security company. They live in the same city, dreaming of what their lives could have been like even as they encounter each other once again.

Kanchiku Yuri has written and directed a few Japanese series, including procedural “Keishicho Shissonin Sosaka” and “L et M”.

You can watch “First Love” on Netflix. All 9 episodes are out.

Welcome to Chippendales (Hulu)
showrunner Jenni Konner
half directed by Nisha Ganatra, Gwyneth Horder-Payton

Kumail Nanjiani stars as Somen Banerjee, the entrepreneur who started the Chippendales male stripper business in the 1980s. The series reflects the real-life story, which descended into murder for hire, arson, and racketeering.

Showrunner Jenni Konner has written and produced on “Single Drunk Female” and “Girls”.

Gwyneth Horder-Payton, director on “Pose”, “American Horror Story”, “Pam & Tommy”, and “The Offer” directs two episodes. “Dollface” and “The High Note” director Nisha Ganatra directs another two.

You can watch “Welcome to Chippendales” on Hulu. Three episodes are out, with a new one arriving every Tuesday for a total of 8.

Three Pines (Amazon)
showrunner Emilia di Girolamo

Alfred Molina plays Chief Inspector Armand Gamache (on par in Canada with a Poirot in the UK). He investigates murders in Three Pines, a Quebec village hiding long-buried travesties of its own. This adaptation of the Louise Penny novels gives room to indigenous voices, including a mystery of the disappearance of an indigenous girl, and performances by Elle-Maija Tailfeathers, Tantoo Cardinal, and Anna Lambe.

Showrunner and writer Emilia di Girolamo also wrote and produced on “The Tunnel” and “Deceit”. Her background is incredibly interesting, with a PhD in the rehabilitation of offenders using drama based techniques.

You can watch “Three Pines” on Amazon Prime. Two episodes are out, and a new one arrives every Thursday.

Riches (Amazon)
showrunner Abby Ajayi

A patriarch’s stroke leaves his family contending for a cosmetics empire he’s left to two children he abandoned decades ago.

Showrunner Abby Ajayi has previously written and produced on “Inventing Anna” and “The First Lady”.

You can watch “Riches” on Amazon Prime. All 6 episodes are out.

Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin (Peacock)
showrunner Megan Amram

Adam Devine, Sarah Hyland, and Jameela Jamil star in a spinoff of the “Pitch Perfect” movies. Devine’s character Bumper moves to Germany after one of his songs becomes a hit there.

Showrunner Megan Amram produced and wrote on “The Good Place” and wrote on “Parks and Rec”.

You can watch “Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin” on Peacock. All 6 episodes are out.

The Flatshare (Paramount+)
showrunner Rose Lewenstein
half directed by Chloe Wicks

Two people share an apartment, but even though they share a bed, their careers and lives mean they’ve never met.

Showrunner Rose Lewenstein and director Chloe Wicks (who helms 3 of the 6 episodes) worked together previously on “On the Edge”.

You can watch “The Flatshare” on Paramount+.

Transport (Acorn TV)
showrunner/directed by Auli Mantila

This Finnish crime series finds a reporter tracing a microchip found in baby food. Elsewhere, a bank manager is drawn into an illegal scheme, and a veterinarian goes missing. These leads all tie into the illicit horse trade.

You can watch “Transport” on Acorn TV. All 8 episodes are out.

NEW MOVIES

Qala (Netflix)
directed by Anvitaa Dutt

A singer with a burgeoning career contends with the expectations of those around her, including her controlling mother. Triptii Dimri stars.

A longtime songwriter and screenwriter on Hindi films, Anvitaa Dutt added directing with the 2020 horror mystery “Bulbbul”. Triptii Dimri also starred there in what I thought was one of the most overlooked performances that year. Dutt and Dimri are a must-watch combination in my book.

You can watch “Qala” on Netflix.

The Swimmers (Netflix)
directed by Sally El Hosaini

Two sisters training for the Olympics flee the Syrian civil war in 2015. Yusra and Sarah travel through Lebanon, Turkey, and Greece before their overcrowded boat breaks down and the swimmers tow it to safety. A year later, Yusra competes in the Olympics for the Refugee team.

The story sounds like something that could only be created for film, but those are the real details of Yusra Mardini’s life. She fled Syria with her sister and they were two of four swimmers who towed 16 others to safety.

Director and co-writer Sally El Hosaini also helmed “My Brother the Devil”.

You can watch “The Swimmers” on Netflix.

Mr. Malcolm’s List (Showtime)
directed by Emma Holly Jones

Based on the novel by Suzanne Allain, a young woman named Selina courts a mysterious and much-discussed suitor in 19th century England. Secretly, she’s aiming for revenge on behalf of a friend – a just return for the suitor’s impossible list of preconditions for a future wife. Freida Pinto and Sope Dirisu star.

The novel was self-published by Allain in 2009, and her adapted screenplay floated for nearly a decade until Jones shot a short film of it. The short film’s success – with 2 million views – led to the novel’s traditional publishing in 2020 and the production of the full-length feature.

You can watch “Mr. Malcolm’s List” on Showtime.

Please Baby Please (VOD)
directed by Amanda Kramer

A gang obsesses over Bohemian 1950s newlyweds, thrusting them into a musical exploration of sexual identity. Andrea Riseborough, Harry Melling, and Demi Moore star.

Amanda Kramer is an experimental filmmaker who also directed “Paris Window” and “Ladyworld”.

You can rent “Please Baby Please” on Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, or YouTube.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover (Netflix)
directed by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre

Based on the novel by D.H. Lawrence, a woman begins an affair with the gamekeeper on her husband’s estate.

Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre is known for her impressive visuals in films such as “The Mustang” and episodes of “Mrs. America” and “The Act”. She started out as an actress before shifting full-time as her directing career took off.

You can watch “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” on Netflix.

How to Please a Woman (Hulu, VOD)
directed by Renee Webster

Fed up with her lot in life and freshly laid off, Gina manages an all-male combination cleaning-and-prostitution service in this Australian film.

This is writer-director Renee Webster’s first feature after directing on Australian series such as “The Heights”.

You can watch “How to Please a Woman” on Hulu, or rent it on VOD.

Who’s a Good Boy? (Netflix)
directed by Ihtzi Hurtado

Chema idealizes his crush, and is determined to lose his virginity to her before the school year ends.

Ihtzi Hurtado is a director on Mexican series and films.

You can watch “Who’s a Good Boy” on Netflix.

Alone Together (Hulu)
directed by Katie Holmes

During the pandemic, a pair of strangers in stressful relationships are booked for the same Airbnb in upstate New York. Katie Holmes, Jim Sturgess, Derek Luke, and Melissa Leo star in Holmes’s debut as a writer and second film as director.

Holmes is most famous for her roles in films like “Disturbing Behavior”, “Pieces of April”, and the series “Dawson’s Creek”.

You can watch “Alone Together” on Hulu, or rent it on VOD.

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

If you enjoy what you’re reading, subscribe to my Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

New Shows + Movies by Women — October 28, 2022

Sometimes a new show or movie can be hard to locate. Let me explain: every once in a while, there’s something listed but that doesn’t come available when it should. This usually has to do with international releases – HBO Max is particularly terrible listing the right dates for the right countries. I constantly see their Spanish-language series listed for release in the U.S. on one date, but then land on another, unlisted date. If I were to tell you to go see a series that isn’t there yet, that’s not very useful to you.

This has only gotten worse with Warner Bros. Discovery’s acquisition of HBO. Many international series have been pulled early. HBO Max used to be one of the best places to find European series. With a focus on originals, this included less-frequently platformed work by women. After the acquisition, Warner Bros. Discovery culled HBO’s European content. This included not only stopping original productions east of France, but removing content from Central, Eastern European, and Nordic countries that was already bought and paid for.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the movie “Batgirl” being denied any release. That was so the entire production can be used as a tax write-off. Incomplete shows might also be used this way, but these finished shows aren’t succumbing to the same situation – this has more to do with Warner Bros. Discovery not wanting to pay residuals. Some of this content may end up getting licensed out to other streamers, but much of it will simply disappear and not be seen again. That’s a tragedy for the artists involved, especially since it covers so much work by women in Europe.

New series by women come from India, Japan, South Korea, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S., with new films by women arriving from Belgium, Nunavut, South Korea, and the U.S.

NEW SERIES

Hush Hush (Amazon)
showrunner Tanuja Chandra

(Turn Closed Captioning on for subtitles.) This horror series from India follows five women, four of whom are trying to cover up a crime in their apartment block.

Tanuja Chandra has been directing films since the 90s. This is her first series.

You can watch “Hush Hush” on Amazon. All 7 episodes are out.

From Scratch (Netflix)
showrunner Attica Locke
directed by Nzingha Stewart, Dennie Gordon

Zoe Saldana stars as Amy, who falls in love with a Sicilian man while studying in Italy. The story tracks their relationship through the years across countries.

Attica Locke showruns the series based off Tembi Locke’s memoir. Attica also wrote and produced on “Empire” and “Little Fires Everywhere”. Joining from the latter to direct 5 episodes is Nzingha Stewart, who’s also directed on “Maid” and “Scandal”. “Madam Secretary” director Dennie Gordon also directs 3 episodes.

You can watch “From Scratch” on Netflix. All 8 episodes are out now.

The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself (Netflix)
half-directed by women

The son of an infamous witch finds himself trapped between two warring clans. All fear him because of his father’s history of violence, even as his father’s clan tries to kill him.

Debs Paterson and Rachna Suri direct two episodes apiece.

You can watch “The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself” on Netflix. All 8 episodes are out.

Arknights: Prelude to Dawn (Crunchyroll)
directed by Watanabe Yuki

Based on a tower defense puzzle game, “Arknights: Prelude to Dawn” follows a doctor’s team that’s racing to find a cure in a world beset by plague, disasters, and fascist governments. You can tell it’s not a documentary because some characters are part-animal.

Director Watanabe Yuki previously helmed episodes of “Warlords of Sigrdrifa” and “Visual Prison”.

You can watch “Arknights: Prelude to Dawn” on Crunchyroll. The series will be simulcast as episodes premiere in Japan every Friday.

Modern Love Tokyo (Amazon)
showrunner Hirayanagi Atsuko
mostly directed by women

(No English subtitles available on this one.) This Japanese adaptation of “Modern Love” is an anthology series. Each episode focuses on different characters and depicts a different form of expressing love.

Hirayanagi Atsuko showruns, as well as writing and directing two episodes. Ogigami Naoko and Yamada Naoko each direct another.

You can watch “Modern Love Tokyo” on Amazon. There are 7 episodes, all available immediately.

May I Help You (Amazon)
directed by Shim So Yeon

(No English subtitles available on this one.) Funeral director Baek Dong Ju can speak to the dead, who ask her to grant their last wishes. If she doesn’t, her bad luck accumulates. Kim Jib Sa runs odd errands for his uncle, but after a boycott is looking for new work. He might be able to help the funeral director with her odd requests.

Director Shim So Yeon has helmed a number of Korean series, including “Here’s My Plan”.

You can watch “May I Help You” on Amazon.

If Only (Netflix)
showrunner Ece Yorenc

(No embedded trailer available.)

Dissatisfied 30 year-old Emma is sent back in time 10 years after a lunar eclipse.

The Spanish series is helmed by Turkish director Ece Yorenc, who’s alternated between Turkish and Spanish series the last several years.

You can watch “If Only” on Netflix.

NEW MOVIES

Earwig (MUBI)
directed by Lucile Hadzihalilovic

A 50 year-old caretaker must care for a 10 year-old girl, whose dentures are made of ice and must be changed around the clock.

The English-language, Belgian film is helmed by Lucile Hadzihalilovic, who also co-wrote the screenplay. She previously directed and co-wrote “Evolution”.

You can watch “Earwig” on MUBI.

CW: Following entry includes dating violence

Run Sweetheart Run (Amazon)
directed by Shana Feste

After her blind date turns violent, Cherie is trapped in the city at night. Doing everything she can to get home alive, she discovers she’s not the first woman to be hunted by this man.

Director and co-writer Shana Feste also helmed “Endless Love”.

You can watch “Run Sweetheart Run” on Amazon.

Slash/Back (VOD)
directed by Nyla Innuksuk

Maika and her friends use improvised weapons and their extensive horror movie knowledge to fight back against an alien invasion in their Arctic town. Most of the cast is Inuit or First Nations.

Nyla Innuksuk directs and co-writes the Nunavut film. She’s also helped create VR experiences for Tanya Tagaq and A Tribe Called Red.

See where you can rent “Slash/Back”.

20th Century Girl (Netflix)
directed by Bang Woo-ri

A teen in 1999 South Korea does a favor for her best friend – befriending her crush. Introduce his best friend and various complications ensue before the promise of a new century.

This is the first film from writer-director Bang Woo-ri.

You can watch “20th Century Girl” on Netflix.

Torn Hearts (Amazon)
directed by Brea Grant

This Blumhouse horror stars Katey Sagal as a country music legend who hosts a young country music duo seeking out her advice. When they discover she may have murdered her singing partner, their stay turns into terror at their idol’s hands.

Brea Grant directs from a screenplay by Rachel Koller Croft. Grant might be best known for recurring roles on “Dexter” and “Heroes”, and her shift into directing includes Angela Bettis horror-comedy “12 Hour Shift”.

You can watch “Torn Hearts” on Amazon.

The African Desperate (MUBI)
directed by Martine Syms

Palace is an MFA grad whose last 24 hours in art school become stranger and stranger.

This is the first feature for director and co-writer Martine Syms.

You can watch “The African Desperate” on MUBI.

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

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

New Shows + Movies by Women — August 12, 2022

August can be the start of a slow-down period in movie release calendars. Of course, every time domestic releases slow in the U.S., it becomes a good period for international films to shine through. These slower periods are when studios look for international and genre films to catch on with audiences that may have had their fill of summer blockbusters. This week boasts movies from France, Greece, India, Mexico, and Taiwan, as well as the U.S.

Let’s get to new series by women first, where we find an adaptation of a 90s classic, and a visually arresting anime spin-off.

NEW SERIES

A League of Their Own (Amazon)
co-showrunner Abbi Jacobson

An adaptation of the 1992 film directed by Penny Marshall, “A League of Their Own” centers on the players in a women’s pro baseball team during World War 2.

Abbi Jacobson showruns with Will Graham, as well as starring. You’ll likely recognize Jacobson as the creator and co-star of “Broad City” (with Ilana Glazer). “A League of Their Own” has the blessing of original director Marshall and star Geena Davis, and seeks to expand the storytelling to tackle issues of race and sexuality in the league.

You can watch “A League of Their Own” on Amazon. All 8 hourlong episodes are available immediately.

Kakegurui Twin (Netflix)
directed by Makita Kaori

The new series shares its world with Netflix’s visually striking original anime “Kakegurui”. The prequel shows how certain characters made their name at the high school for high stakes gamblers.

Makita Kaori also directed “Twittering Birds Never Fly”. She started out as a design manager on “Terror in Resonance” and “Space Dandy”.

You can watch “Kakegurui Twin” on Netflix. All 6 half-hour episodes are available now.

NEW MOVIES

Reclaim (Netflix)
directed by CJ Wang

A woman managing work, family, and caring for her mother with dementia doesn’t have the time to take care of herself. She looks at buying a larger house so that everyone can have their own space, but this opens up questions of money and splitting the family up.

Director CJ Wang won Taiwan’s Golden Harvest Award for short films in 2015 for “Rowboat”. This is her first feature.

You can watch “Reclaim” on Netflix.

CW for “Holy Emy”: disturbing images, even for horror

Holy Emy (MUBI)
directed by Araceli Lemos

In this Greek horror, a Filipina girl named Emy hides a condition she thinks is supernatural. She wonders if it has to do with her mother, who has healing powers but was forced to return to the Philippines.

The film scored 15 nominations at the Greek Academy Awards, winning for best director and supporting actress (Hasmine Killip). It’s the first narrative feature for writer-director Araceli Lemos, who got her start doing sound and later editing for documentaries.

You can watch “Holy Emy” on MUBI.

Darlings (Netflix)
directed by Jasmeet K. Reen

This Indian film joins stars Alia Bhatt and Shefali Shah in a dark comedy about Badru and her mother taking revenge on Badru’s violent husband.

Jasmeet K. Reen has written on a number of Hindi-language screenplays, and this is her first feature as director.

You can watch “Darlings” on Netflix.

Our Eternal Summer (MUBI)
directed by Emilie Aussel

In this French film, Lise immerses herself in a carefree summer at 18, while coping with the loss of her best friend.

This is the first feature from director and co-writer Emilie Aussel.

You can watch “Our Eternal Summer” on MUBI.

Don’t Blame Karma (Netflix)
directed by Elisa Miller

In this Mexican film, Sara wonders if bad luck is real when her sister and a former crush get engaged. (No English translation for this trailer, but the film on Netflix will have them available.)

Director Elisa Miller has twice been nominated for her short films at Mexico’s Ariel Awards (akin to the Oscars in the U.S.), including one win.

You can watch “Don’t Blame Karma” on Netflix.

Luck (Apple TV+)
directed by Peggy Holmes

Magical organizations that support good luck and bad luck compete against each other in this animated film.

Director Peggy Holmes started as a choreographer on films ranging from “Newsies” to “Wayne’s World” and “Hocus Pocus”.

You can watch “Luck” on Apple TV+.

13: The Musical (Netflix)
directed by Tamra Davis

Evan moves from New York City to rural Indiana after his parents’ divorce. His plan to establish himself at his new school is to throw the best Bar Mitzvah in history.

Tamra Davis has also directed on “Miracle Workers” and “Future Man”, among countless other series and films (such as “Half Baked”.) She got her start as a music video director in the 80s for Depeche Mode and The Smiths, continuing on to work with Faith No More, Sonic Youth, Indigo Girls, Bonnie Raitt, and Veruca Salt.

You can watch “13: The Musical” on Netflix.

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

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New Indian Shows + Movies by Women

Earlier this year, CNN’s Diksha Madhok reported that services like Netflix and Amazon have offered women filmmakers in India a platform they’re often denied within the country’s own film industry. Madhok stressed that India’s increasingly autocratic government has begun threatening many filmmakers on these services with imprisonment and fines.

Much of this is due to Indian women filmmakers focusing on films that criticize rape culture. Many are based on rapes and murders of women that have become high-profile news stories, and depict the failure of government and police to respond properly or with accountability.

Other criticisms that have resulted in women filmmakers being threatened include presentations of Hindu-Muslim romances. Political firestorms have also resulted from how religious imagery is used, or the inclusion of nudity. Madhok’s article discusses both women and men filmmakers, but highlights the particular plight and threat involved in topics that women filmmakers have very actively pursued.

India is hardly the only country where women filmmakers face issues like these, but right now it presents a huge number of potential viewers for streaming services. Those streaming services often decide that it’s in their immediate financial interests to simply adhere to what a government requires in order to have access to those viewers. Streaming services will very often choose market access over equality.

I’ve been meaning to compile this article for a while, so I want to take a break from what I normally write about to feature this. It’s a slow week for new projects overall, and that makes a great opportunity to go back and look at new Indian series and movies directed by women. The more interest there is in other countries for Indian films made by women, the more streaming services will continue to support their projects despite the Indian government’s interference.

These are several that I’ve featured in the last year. Find one that sparks your love for stories, and please give it a try:

INDIAN SERIES BY WOMEN

Bhaag Beanie Bhaag (Netflix)
directed by Debbie Rao

An aspiring stand-up comic pursues her dream job despite the disapproval of her parents. Reviews from India have been pretty favorable.

Beware heavy user brigading on review sites. There’s early upset that the show shares broad similarities to “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”. Apparently only one woman in the entire world has a story to tell about double-standards in the stand-up comedy industry, and having a second woman tell one that takes place 60 years later from the complete other side of the world is too frequent. I’m not sure what the logic is – that women could only possibly face bigotry in the stand-up industry once every 70 years globally? Point is: review brigading would be silly if it wasn’t so damaging, and if you’re interested in this, do what you like, watch it, and be careful about how much credence you lend user reviews on places like IMDB and Metacritic.

“Bhaag Beanie Bhaag” is directed by Debbie Rao. She’s directed on a few Indian series, including the very well received “Better Life Foundation”, “Pushpavalli”, and India’s version of “The Office”.

You can watch “Bhaag Beanie Bhaag” on Netflix.

Masaba Masaba (Netflix)
showrunner Sonam Nair

Masaba Gupta is an Indian fashion designer. Her mother is prolific Indian actress Neena Gupta. “Masaba Masaba” stars the two of them in a comedy where they portray…themselves. It’s entirely scripted and framed as a narrative comedy, so there’s no reality TV element here. The characters the two portray are simply fictionalized versions of themselves.

Showrunner Sonam Nair has written and directed on a few different Indian TV series.

You can watch “Masaba Masaba” on Netflix.

INDIAN FILMS BY WOMEN

Kaali Khuhi (Netflix)
directed by Terrie Samundra

Shivangi’s family moves to a rural village to look after her grandmother. Soon enough, she spies strange occurrences, even as residents of the village wind up dead. What’s a little girl to do but unravel a supernatural mystery?

This is Terrie Samundra’s first feature film.

You can watch “Kaali Khuhi” on Netflix.

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.

You can watch “Bombay Rose” on Netflix.

Cargo (Netflix)
directed by Arati Kadav

People who pass away appear on a spaceship, where a man named Prahastha takes care of them. He prepares them to move to the next life. He’s been doing this alone for a long time when an assistant arrives. It’s Yuvishka’s job to learn everything he knows.

This is director Arati Kadav’s first feature. In interviews, she’s described the film as fusing Indian mythology to Eastern sci-fi. She’s cited her influences as science-fiction writers Jorge Luis Borges and Ted Chiang, writers who have fused the abstracted edge of the genre to some of its most human moments.

You can watch “Cargo” on Netflix.

Dolly Kitty and Those Twinkling Stars (Netflix)
directed by Alankrita Shrivastava

Dolly is a wife and mother who is trying to hide a secret. Her cousin Kajal has just moved to the city. Kajal ends up working at a phone sex parlor under the name Kitty. The two alternately grow close and clash in their off-hours, winding a tricky path of trust and wariness of the other’s place in their lives.

Writer-director Alankrita Shrivastava has hit the ground running in recent years. Her “Lipstick Under My Burkha” won award after award on a major festival circuit, and she wrote nine episodes and directed two for Amazon original series “Made in Heaven”.

You can watch “Dolly Kitty and Those Twinkling Stars” on Netflix.

Bulbbul (Netflix)
directed by Anvita Dutt

Set in India during the 1880s, a 5 year old girl named Bulbbul is married off to a man decades her elder. After several years, the man’s younger brother Satya, whom she initially assumed to be her intended husband, is sent to London. Satya returns to find his family missing, and Bulbbul the only remaining survivor. He’s told his family was taken by a witch, just as some villagers have been.

I watched and reviewed this last year. It’s a deeply gothic inversion of horror with a message and aesthetic I loved, and a superb performances by Tripti Dimri and Paoli Dam. The truth is that there’s no horror that can match the ones people enact on each other, and the film makes its horror a hero. To paraphrase writer-director Anvita Dutt, “Bulbbul” is less about what happens, which you can infer pretty early on in the film. It’s more about how it happens, and why it’s cathartic.

Dutt has primarily worked as a screenwriter and songwriter on Indian films. “Bulbbul” is her directorial debut.

You can watch “Bulbull” on Netflix.

Shakuntala Devi (Amazon)
directed by Anu Menon

Shakuntala Devi was someone who could calculate just about anything in her head. She became known as a human computer, and demonstrated her ability for crowds. She later became a writer in India. This included what’s considered the first study of homosexuality in India, one that argued for its decriminalization. She passed away in 2013. The film is an energetic biographical take on her life.

Writer-director Anu Menon has come to prominence more recently in the Indian film industry.

You can watch “Shakuntala Devi” on Amazon.

Tribhanga (Netflix)
directed by Renuka Shahane

“Tribhanga” follows women of three different generations in India, and tells the stories of how each raised the next. The title is derived from the name of a dance pose that’s often described as simultaneously beautiful and imperfect.

The film was originally envisioned as a smaller production, but gained momentum (and a Netflix deal) as major producers joined.

Director Renuka Shahane is a popular Indian actress. This is only her second film listed as director after 2009’s well-received “Rita”.

You can watch “Tribhanga” on Netflix.

Guilty (Netflix)
directed by Ruchi Narain

A songwriter’s boyfriend is accused of rape. What follows plays out both on a personal level and in the media. It’s a bit difficult to get as much information about the film as I’d like, but it’s supposed to look into aspects of victim-blaming.

It’s advertised along the lines of a thriller over whether the accusation is real or not. That gives me some pause. I don’t know how it intends to handle an accusation like this. I’m wary of the potential of a twist that might undermine belief in the victim, though this worry could be unfounded just because of the “thriller” nature of how it’s being advertised.

You can watch “Guilty” on Netflix.

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

If you like 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.