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December Brings Gender-Identity Films to Light

Source: Womens eNews - Mon, 12 Dec 2011 12:26 AM
Author: Womens eNews
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Great Family Drama Julia Leigh's unsettling first feature, "Sleeping Beauty" (released Dec. 2), stars Emily Browning as a student who sells herself to be sedated and used as a sexual object "without penetration." The story is bizarre, but Browning and the voluptuous cinematography are gorgeous. Madonna's second directorial outing, released Dec. 9., "W.E." is the mixed up marriage of two plot lines: the story of Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish), a discontented contemporary woman, and that of the legendary Mrs. Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough), another unhappy women after whom Wally was named and with whom she's obsessed. W.E., by the way, is the acronym for Wallis and Edward. That's a lot to digest, and so is the film. For "Young Adult," released Dec. 9, writer Diablo Cody and director Ivan Reitman, the duo that created "Juno," concoct a dramady based on the bad behavior of a selfish woman (Charleze Theron). She's a lonely and ambitious writer who returns to her home town determined to reclaim her old flame (Patrick Wilson) who is now a happy family man. Her efforts fizzle. So does the film. One family film that sizzles rather than fizzles is "The Adventures of Tintin," Steven Spielberg's animated adaptation of the favorite comic character that has pleased people of all ages, all genders and ethnicities. The story is a sophisticated action-packed thriller that's played out with subtle wit. It hits theaters on Dec. 21, and it's a perfect holiday treat for families. Dazzling Documentaries In "Daguerrotypes," French filmmaker Agnes Varda documents the daily doings of Parisian shopkeepers and those who patronize their emporia along rue Daguerre, where Varda was living when she shot the film in 1976. Thirty-five years later, Varda's verite work is still brilliant, and this film is a made-with-love must see in theatrical release today. "Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel," out Dec. 16 and directed by Alex Stapleton, is a delightfully sophisticated and witty profile of the director whose blockbuster B-movies like "Vampirella" and "Teenage Doll" featured cinematic images of women that feminists are still trying to undo. Corman is, however, a surprisingly erudite gentleman who also deserves credit for introducing many of Europe's brilliant filmmakers to American audiences. Bravo! "Pina," being released Dec. 21, is a 3-D experience with the choreography of the late and great Pina Bausch. Directed by Wim Wenders, it features her dance company in rehearsal and performance along with rare archival footage of Bausch herself. The film is beautifully realized; a tribute to the brilliant, beloved woman who played a major role in defining the movements and shapes of modern dance. Postscript P.S. Two important December releases are unfortunately under review embargo until closer to their opening dates. "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," due out Dec. 16, is David Fincher's remake of the very popular Swedish film based on the best-selling novel. "In The Land of Milk and Blood," to be released Dec. 23, is Angelina Jolie's directorial debut about the brutal treatment of women in war-torn Bosnia. I've seen both, and am frustrated that I can say no more. Except, I will venture to say yea -- to both.

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