#52FilmsByWomen: BELLE

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18/52 BELLE.

How had I not seen this film yet? This week I watched a beautiful and moving period drama directed by Amma Asante. The story is inspired by the real Dido Elizabeth Belle and is about the mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral who is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle in 18th century England. It’s been on my list since it was released and I wish I had seen it sooner as it’s a great story with a stellar cast.

Asante is a British director, writer and former actor. What I love about her directing style is the warmth and grace she exudes through her work–whether it’s the best yet flawed intentions of her characters, the buttery subtlety of her camera (I don’t know how else to describe the tiniest, elegant glides she uses) or the belief in the ability of humans to be decent to each other when push comes to shove.

I don’t think I’ve seen a story told from this point-of-view before–that of a wealthy, aristocratic woman who belongs nowhere because of the color of her skin. This film is uplifting, absorbing and such a worthwhile world to spend a couple of hours in.

#52FilmsByWomen: SPEED DATING

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17/52 SPEED DATING.

Happy Friday! This week’s film is a bizarrely funny & beautiful animation/live action short directed by Meghann Artes.

Artes is an Emmy and Peabody award-winner for her work on Sesame Street and who has also worked with Dreamworks, Nickelodeon, Bix Pix, Nick Jr., NBC and ABC. She studied animation at UCLA and now teaches at DePaul University in Chicago. This film was produced by DePaul’s Project Bluelight production company. I’ve seen some of their shorts before and they’re often quite good.

While I’ve never gone speed dating, I’ve certainly experienced enough cringe-worthy dates to find this film entirely relatable and funny. Artes takes an awkward situation to its extreme; her characters are unique and wonderful and the artistry with which she combines human performances and animation is truly stunning.

Enjoy a light ending to your week and watch the film here: https://vimeo.com/145154247

#52FilmsByWomen: TOUCH

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16/52 TOUCH.

This week I watched a short directed by Jen McGowan that was beautifully shot and acted. Two women make an unusual connection while waiting for train and this film explores the loneliness and isolation that occurs in the middle of city life.

Lily Knight’s performance as the older woman is a master class for actors. She’s only on camera for 11 minutes but you can feel the entire life she’s lived and she pulls you into this one moment of time with gut-wrenching specificity.

McGowan’s use of light and camera movement on the train station platform is absolutely fantastic and even transcendent at times. McGowan studied acting with David Mamet (probably why she’s able to direct such great performances) and came through USC film school. She’s directed other shorts as well as a feature starring Juliette Lewis. So glad I discovered her; she’s on my short list now of directors to watch.

I found the film so moving and resonant that it made me cry. It’s the perfect short and you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/WuabECWOTrw

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