There are some genuinely heavy hitters this week – I expect to be talking about Megan Park’s “The Fallout” as one of the best films of 2022. Malgorzata Szumowska may be Poland’s most important filmmaker right now, and “Never Gonna Snow Again” looks like a biting satire. Hong Kong director Heiward Mak is a crucial up-and-coming voice.
There are also filmmakers like Mohawk director Tracey Deer and Kosovan director Norika Sefa each making their debuts.
Let’s start with series first:
Pam & Tommy (Hulu)
mostly directed by women
Lily James (Disney’s most recent “Cinderella”) and Sebastian Stan (the MCU’s Winter Soldier) star as Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. The series recounts their relationship from its start (they married 96 hours after meeting), and the impact of their infamous 1995 sex tape. Taylor Schilling, Nick Offerman, and Seth Rogen co-star.
The series is showrun by Robert Siegel, and “I, Tonya” director Craig Gillespie helms the first three episodes. After that, those last five episodes are directed by three different women. “In a World…” director (and actress/voice actress) Lake Bell directs two. “Sons of Anarchy” and “American Horror Story” director Gwyneth Horder-Payton directs another two. “A Teacher” showrunner Hannah Fidell directs one.
You can watch “Pam & Tommy” on Hulu. The first three episodes are already available, with a new one premiering every Wednesday for a total of eight.
New Gold Mountain (Sundance Now)
directed by Corrie Chen
It’s 1857, during the Australian gold rush. Tensions between Chinese and European miners come to a head when a European woman in Chinese clothing is found murdered. Yoson An plays a character loosely based on Fook Shing, the historical Chinese detective who policed the gold fields during this era.
Director Corrie Chen has directed on several Australian series.
You can watch “New Gold Mountain” on Sundance Now. All four episodes should be available immediately.
Salaryman’s Club (Crunchyroll)
directed by Aimi Yamauchi
Also known as “Ryman’s Club”, this anime follows a group of businessmen who meet up to play badminton.
Director Aimi Yamauchi has worked as an episode director and storyboard artist on “Tokyo Revengers” and “Mugen no Juunin: Immortal”.
You can watch “Salaryman’s Club” on Crunchyroll. New episodes arrive on Saturdays.
The Fallout (HBO Max)
directed by Megan Park
I can’t think about “The Fallout” without feeling emotionally overwhelmed. It’s a brilliant film, a very early contender for best film of 2022, and it’s the best I’ve seen for engaging the issue of school shootings. My review goes into detail without spoilers.
Jenna Ortega delivers one of the most natural performances I can remember as Vada, a student who survives a gun massacre at her high school. “The Fallout” tracks her trauma in an experiential way as she desperately tries to find some place in her life where she can feel in control again.
It’s a shattering depiction of what we’ve now put three generations in a row through for no reason. It’s a very tough watch, but it’s also so human and empathetic that I’d watch it again in a heartbeat.
I missed this one in last week’s rundown. I obviously highly recommend it.
This is the first feature from writer-director Megan Park, perhaps best known for her role as Grace on “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”.
You can watch “The Fallout” on HBO Max.
Never Gonna Snow Again (MUBI)
co-directed by Malgorzata Szumowska
Zhenia is a Russian immigrant in Poland. He works as a massage therapist…until his wealthy clients begin looking to him as a guru.
This was Poland’s submission as Best International Feature for the Oscars last year. Co-writer and co-director Malgorzata Szumowska directs with her oft-cinematographer Michal Englert. Szumowska gives her films an exacting sense of purpose. I found her “The Other Lamb” to be disturbingly precise in the ways it overwhelms. She’s a commanding director everyone should watch at least once.
You can watch “Never Gonna Snow Again” on MUBI.
directed by Tracey Deer
“Beans” focuses on the 78-day standoff that took place between the Mohawk and Canadian government in 1990. The Kanesatake band of Mohawk had a land claim rejected on a legal technicality in 1986. In 1989, the town’s golf club decided to expand into this claim. The town did not consult the Mohawk about this.
This was just the latest in whittling down Mohawk land from an original treaty agreeing to 165 square kilometers. By 1956, just six square kilometers of this remained. (Before this, the Mohawk had first been forced to leave their land in the Hudson Valley.)
“Beans” tells the story of the Oka crisis standoff through the eyes of a young Mohawk girl. If you watch “Reservation Dogs”, it co-stars Paulina Alexis and D’Pharaoh Woon-a-Tai, two of that show’s leads.
This is Mohawk filmmaker Tracey Deer’s first narrative feature. She’s previously written and directed several documentaries, and wrote and produced on the series “Mohawk Girls” and “Anne with an E”.
“Beans” was previously available for rental, but this is the first time it’s come to a subscription service.
Fagara (OVID TV)
directed by Heiward Mak
After her father’s death, a woman discovers two previously unknown sisters. In debt and struggling to keep the family’s restaurant alive, she reaches out and begins to forge relationships with them.
Heiward Mak has written, directed, and often edited several independent Hong Kong films.
You can watch “Fagara” on OVID TV, a service that specializes in international and independent cinema.
Looking for Venera (MUBI)
directed by Norika Sefa
In this Kosovan film, Venera is a teen aching to get away from home. She shares a small house with three generations of her family, and never has any privacy.
This is the first feature from writer-director Norika Sefa.
You can watch “Looking for Venera” on MUBI.
Stop and Go (Hulu)
co-directed by Mallory Everton
Two sisters set out on a road trip to rescue their grandmother from a nursing home where COVID has broken out.
Mallory Everton directs with Stephen Meek. This is her first feature.
“Stop and Go” was previously available for rental, but this is the first time it’s come to a subscription service.
Book of Love (Amazon)
directed by Analeine Cal y Mayor
Two writers find themselves drawn to each other after they’re thrown together on a Mexican book tour: the original author and the translator who drastically rewrote his novel. Veronica Echegui and Sam Claflin star.
This is the third film from director and co-writer Analeine Cal y Mayor.
You can watch it on Amazon Prime.
The Translator (VOD)
co-directed by Rana Kazkaz
In 2011, a Syrian exile lives in Australia. When he learns his brother has been taken by the Assad regime, he travels back to Syria in an attempt to free him.
Rana Kazkaz directs with Anas Khalaf. This is her first feature film.
See where to rent “The Translator”.
What Breaks the Ice (Showtime)
directed by Rebecca Eskreis
Two girls form a friendship in 1998, as their vision of their place in the world is impacted by the country’s obsession with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. When they’re invited to a rave, things go wrong and they have to defend themselves. Will the culture they live in ever believe their side of the story?
This is the first feature from writer-director Rebecca Eskreis. She got her start in production design.
Honey Girls (Netflix)
directed by Trey Fanjoy
Ashanti stars as Fancy G, a pop star hosting a contest to find the next big solo artist. Three contestants realize working together to form their own band helps all of them, instead of just one of them.
Trey Fanjoy is a prolific music video director, most notably for Taylor Swift. She directed “Teardrops on My Guitar”, “Our Song”, “Picture to Burn”, and “White Horse”, among others. She’s also helmed numerous music videos for Reba McEntire, Miranda Lambert, and Keith Urban. This is her first feature film.
You can watch “Honey Girls” on Netflix.
Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.
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