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Weekly Update for August 8: Women Centric, Directed and Written Films Playing Near You

Weekly Update for August 8: Women Centric, Directed and Written Films Playing Near You

Films About Women Opening

The Maid’s Room

In this examination of morality, racism, and privilege, Drina (Paula Garces), a young Colombian immigrant, accepts a position as maid to the wealthy Crawford family. She attends to their house in the Hamptons and the needs of their teenaged son, Brandon, while Mr. and Mrs. Crawford are away. While Brandon spends his days drinking, sleeping, and partying with friends at the pool, Drina nurtures her dreams for the future: earning enough money to support her family and attend college. We see in Drina a multifaceted person with hopes and aspirations, who loves Kit Kats, idolizes Erin Brockovich, and jams to music on her Walkman. However, to the white Crawfords, she’s merely an object in a uniform, expected to satisfactorily perform her tasks without trouble. And trouble comes when Drina connects Brandon’s drunk driving with a fatal hit-and-run on the same night. Soon Drina finds herself caught in a game of power plays, testing her morality against the overwhelming power of privilege. With slow-burning Hitchcockian suspense and a polarizing plot twist worthy of the man himself, The Maid’s Room focuses on the individual ethical quandaries of its characters instead of whodunnit plot contrivances, and in so doing illuminates harrowing real-world truths. (Kelcie Mattson)


When the Serbian Prime Minister is assassinated, an elite special-ops team is called in to pull Europe back from the brink of war and rescue the US ambassador who is being held hostage. (

Films About Women Currently Playing

Around the Block – Written and Directed by Sarah Spillane
War Story – Co-Written by Kristin Gore
Very Good Girls – Written and Directed by Naomi Foner
Happy Christmas
A Five Star Life – Directed by Maria Sole Tognazzi; Co-Written by Francesca Marciano and Maria Sole Tognazzi
Tammy – Co-Written by Melissa McCarthy
Belle – Directed by Amma Asante; Written by Misan Sagay
Obvious Child – Written and Directed by Gillian Robespierre
The Fault in Our Stars 
Maleficent – Written by Linda Woolverton
We Are the Best!
Under the Skin

Films Directed by Women Opening

Fifi Howls from Happiness (doc) — Directed by Mitra Farahani

Fifi Howls from Happiness is painter and filmmaker Mitra Farahani’s compelling portrait of neglected Iranian modern artist Bahman Mohassess. Dubbed “the Persian Picasso” in the West, Mohassess was once the doyen of the Iranian art world, yet his work was the victim of censorship after the revolution.  Incensed by the turn the cultural atmosphere had taken, Mohassess left Tehran for good, but not before destroying the bulk of his remaining work in a final, tragic act of defiance. Farahani’s documentary begins with the director tracing Mohassess to a hotel room in Rome, though she coyly refuses to tell us how she managed to track the reclusive artist down. Her decision not to detail her search for Mohassess is well-judged, for it allows the man himself to take center stage, in all his cackling, cantankerous, complex glory. Cigarette in hand and an oxygen tank at his side, Mohassess promises to tell his life story “so that every idiot doesn’t purport to write my biography the way it suits him.” The resultant film bears scant resemblance to a biography, but is at once something more delicate — and powerful. As the ailing artist embarks upon one final commission, Farahani juxtaposes his railing against “immortality and all that rubbish” with his need to leave something for posterity in her own work (even to the point of dictating elements of the documentary’s visuals and voiceover). Her film becomes a moving meditation on the importance of artistic freedom and cultural inheritance, potently constructed. (Alice Thorpe)

Step Up All In – Directed by Trish Sie

All-stars from the previous Step Up installments come together in glittering Las Vegas, battling for a victory that could define their dreams and their careers. (IMDb)

The Dog (doc) — Co-Directed by Allison Berg

An intimate portrait of the vivacious John Wojtowicz, the inspiration behind Al Pacino’s character in Sidney Lumet’s Oscar-nominated Dog Day Afternoon. Coming of age in the 1960s, John Wojtowicz took pride in being a pervert. In August, 1972, he attempted to rob a Brooklyn bank to finance his lover’s sex reassignment surgery. The attempted heist resulted in a fourteen-hour hostage situation that was broadcast on TV. Three years later, Pacino portrayed his character instigating the unforgettable crime on the big screen. The award-winning film had a profound influence on Wojtowicz, and when he emerged from prison six years later, he became known as “The Dog.” Filmed over the course of a ten-year period by co-directors Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren, and interweaving extraordinary archival footage on the robbery, seventies-era interviews, and the early gay liberation movement. (Drafthouse Films)

Web Junkie (doc) — Directed by Hilla Medalia and Shosh Shlam

China is the first country to label “Internet addiction” a clinical disorder. With extraordinary intimacy, Web Junkie investigates a Beijing rehab center where Chinese teenagers are deprogrammed, focusing on three teens, their parents, and the health professionals determined to help them kick their habit. (Dogwoof)

Films Directed by Women Currently Playing

Rich Hill – Co-Directed by Tracy Droz Tragos
Raw Cut – Directed by Zoe Quist
Land Ho! – Co-Directed by Martha Stephens
Citizen Koch (doc) – Co-Directed by Tia Lessin
Fed Up (doc) – Co-Written and Directed by Stephanie Soechtig

Films Written by Women Currently Playing

Guardians of the Galaxy – Co-Written by Nicole Perman
Sex Tape – Co-Written by Kate Angelo
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Co-Written by Amanda Silver 


The Amazing Catfish – Written and Directed by Claudia Sainte-Luce
It Felt Like Love – Written and Directed by Eliza Hittman
On My Way – Directed and Co-Written by Emmanuelle Bercot
The Other Woman – Written by Melissa Stack
Finding Vivian Maier (doc)
Breastmilk (doc) – Directed by Dana Ben-Ari
Mining for Ruby – Directed by Zoe Quist

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