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New Directors/New Films - The Women

by Melissa Silverstein
February 17, 2011 3:30 AM
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I always looks at the lineup of New Directors/New Films as a kind of Sundance east because some of the best of Sundance inevitably make it to NYC for this festival. Some highlights from Sundance will be on display including Maryam Keshavarz's Circumstance which will be the closing film. Cannot wait.

As for the numbers. There are 28 films and 7 are directed by women. That's 25%.

The list of women directed films is below. Content from the festival's website via IndieWIRE.

“At Ellen’s Age” (2010, 95min)
Director: Pia Marais
Country: Germany
Marais’ “At Ellen’s Age” catches a woman at a crossroads following her husband’s confession of having an affair and the loss of her job due to a subsequent panic attack. The film follows the woman’s awakening after she joins forces with a group of animal activists.

“Attenberg” (2010, 95min)
Director: Athina Rachel Tsangari
Country: Greece
Tsangari’s “Attenberg” is a fun melding of (new) Nouvelle Vague, musical, melodrama, and nature documentary, symbolically visualizing a change of generation and perspective as a father and daughter gently negotiate their individual rites of passage. The film follows a visionary architect who has come home to die in the vanishing industrial town that is his legacy to his daughter. Meanwhile, his daughter (played by Ariane Labed, in a performance that garnered her the Best Actress award at The Venice Film Festival) is exploring the mysteries of kissing with her girlfriend and the beyond with a visiting engineer.

“Belle Epine” (2010, 80min)
Director: Rebecca Zlotowski
Country: France
Zlotowski’s “Belle Epine” is a coming of age story about a teenage girl dealing with the death of her mother and absentee father. The girl loses herself in antisocial behavior, turning away from her Jewish heritage personified by her supportive aunt and uncle, and drawn into the orbit of a wrong-side-of-the-tracks classmate and her biker friends, who gather for chaotic, sometimes lethal night-time motorcycle meets on the edge of town.

“Circumstance” (2011, 107min)
Director: Maryam Keshavarz
Country: France/USA/Iran
Keshavarz’s searing feature debut “Circumstance” follows two young Iranian women as they live life in the shadow of the regime, going to parties and listening to forbidden music while starting to explore their true feelings for each other. “Circumstance” recently won the Audience Award at the Sundance film festival. “Circumstance” is a Participant Media and Roadside Attractions release.

“Happy, Happy” (2010, 85min)
Director: Anne Sewitsky
Country: Norway
Switsky’s directorial debut, “Happy, Happy” is a comedy about a thirty-something couple with a young son, living a rather dull life in the Norwegian countryside. Then new neighbors move in next door, and while at first glance they seem to be their mirror image and perfect friend material, the differences that do exist (the new couple’s son is an adopted African, the husband is full of sexual energy, and the wife is…Danish!) manifest in increasingly disturbing ways. The film was the winner of the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

“Pariah” (2011, 86min)
Director: Dee Rees
Country: USA
Executive produced by Spike Lee, Rees’ debut feature “Pariah,” is a character study of a seventeen year-old New Yorker (played by Adepero Oduye) whose efforts to explore her lesbian desires are squarely at odd with her middle-class Brooklyn family – and more specifically, her church-going mother (played by Kim Wayans). The film draws an affectionate portrait of a community, one so close everyone knows everyone else’s ‘business’, and dramatizes the longings, disappointments and achievements of a teenager whose ideas of femininity are less traditional than most. A Focus Features release.

“El Veldaor” (2011, 72min)
Director: Natalia Almada
Country: Mexico
Almada’s documentary “El Velador” displays the world of “El Jardin,”, a cemetery in the drug heartland of Mexico. Since the war on drugs began in 2007, the cemetery has doubled in size and some of its mausoleums have been built to resemble gaudy cathedrals, creating a skyline that looks like a fantastical surrealist city more than a resting place for the deceased. The film introduces us to both the lives of the cemetery workers and families of the victims - in the shadow of an increasingly bloody conflict that has claimed nearly 35,000 lives.

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