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October Films Aglow With Oranges and Sunshine

Womens eNews - Mon, 10 Oct 2011 16:47 GMT
Author: Womens eNews
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Almodovar's Latest Feature Spanish film maestro Pedro Almodovar's latest film, "The Skin I Live In," is about the complex and obsessive relationship between a male plastic surgeon and his female patient-victim. Almodovar is always grandly, obsessively interested in portraying women with sensitivity, and this is no exception. This film opens Oct. 12. Also opening Oct. 12, Darryl Roberts' searing documentary, "America The Beautiful II: The Thin Commandments," a sequel to the first "America the Beautiful" (2007), is about America's preoccupation with body image. Anyone who's been on a diet for reasons other than health should see these films. This month also brings us a beautiful film that documentarian Jennifer Fox ("Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman," 2006) spent 20 years making. "My Reincarnation" offers a fascinating and exquisite close-up on the evolving relationship between Tibetan spiritual master Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche and his half-Italian son, Yeshi, who's reluctant to walk the spiritual path designated for him from the day of his birth. "The Women On the 6th Floor," which opened Oct. 7, is a charming French comedy that takes a sophisticated, gentle, witty swipe at class and gender by focusing on the relationships of a Parisian bourgeois housewife, her bored husband and their Spanish domestic workers. As the story goes, the husband takes greater pleasure in keeping company with his employees in their sixth floor garret than he does in spending time with his wife in their luxurious flat. Alma Har'el's "Bombay Beach," opening Oct. 14, is an embellished documentary about a community of odd and interesting people who live on the shore of California's inland Salton Sea. Har'el mixes verite and choreographed sequences to capture the outer and inner realities of her subjects. Gorgeous cinematography, smart editing and superb music by Bob Dylan, Beirut and others. Music also plays a big role in "Oka!," Lavinia Currier's narrative feature that plays with documentary-like authenticity. Opening Oct. 14, it's based on the life of Louis Sarno, an ethnomusicologist who's lived with the Banyaka Pygmies of central Africa for decades. Currier conquered huge logistical obstacles to create a wondrous journey into the world of the Banyaka, now threatened by the encroachment of modern civilization. Mexican Crime Drama "Miss Bala," highly acclaimed at Cannes, Toronto and New York Film Festivals, is a gripping Mexican crime drama about an ambitious but naive young beauty queen who becomes an unwilling and terrified pawn in the deadly turmoil between corrupt Mexican cops and drug traffickers. It opens Oct. 14. "Texas Killing Fields," also opening Oct. 14, is a gruesome crime thriller directed by Ami Canaan Mann (apparently heir to the themes and style of her father, Michael Mann). Her approach to this truth-based tale of serial killings, decaying bodies and threatening circumstances in the Lone Star State is definitively forceful. "Sleeping Beauty," opening Oct. 28, is writer-director Julia Leigh's first feature. Neo- Victorian tone and painterly in style, it is a beautifully framed foray into a carefully guarded secret realm in which Lucy (Emily Browning), a beautiful student, supports herself by being put to sleep and submitting to the taboo desires of others. "Janie Jones," also opening Oct. 28, is a rather affecting drama in which Abigail Breslin plays a girl whose former-groupie mom (Elisabeth Shue) leaves her with her father (Alessandro Nivola), a rock musician who never knew he had a daughter. They bond and wind up making some good music together. Amid all this great femme-centric film fare, my favorite film by far this month is "Le Havre" which opens Oct. 21. This Finnish-French dramady, written and directed by the charismatic Aki Kaurismki, is neither by nor about women, but it is profoundly human and humane. It is one of the few movies I've seen recently that has made me truly gleeful and profoundly proud that I am of our species. "Le Havre" is about working class, salt of the earth residents -- women and men -- of that French port city who unite to support an African refugee boy. Working together, they use their limited resources and risk their own well-being to hide him from authorities, prevent his extradition and find means to reunite him with his mother, who is living - - illegally -- in London. The film is a brilliantly conceived compilation of wonderfully entertaining, emotionally engaging, tightly interwoven subplots and sequences -- one sweeter than another, and none of them the least bit hokey. Don't miss it. Would you like to Comment but not sure how? Visit our help page at Would you like to Send Along a Link of This Story? In addition to covering film for Women's eNews, Jennifer Merin writes about documentaries for ( ) and is president of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists ( ), a nonprofit organization of the leading women film journalists in the U.S. and Canada. She is also a member of the Broadcast Journalists Association. For more information: Alliance of Women Film Journalists

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