By Kerensa Cadenas | Women and Hollywood September 5, 2013 at 12:30PM
As we head out of a strong August for women directed and centric films, we go straight into a September filled with varied and interesting projects from new and veteran women filmmakers.
Films this month include, newcomer Hannah Fidell's A Teacher auspicious debut at SXSW; Festival darling Haifaa Al-Mansour's Wadjda, the first film to be directed by a female Saudi director as well as a variety of films from accomplished filmmakers Catherine Hardwicke, Nicole Holofcener, Anne Fontaine and Lynn Shelton.
September also brings a large slate of documentaries looking at subjects ranging from the few doctors left in the US who provide late-term abortions in After Tiller, to the Occupy movement to studies of individuals like former Vogue Paris editor Carine Roitfeld, The Beatles' colleague Freda Kelly and actor Harry Dean Stanton.
Here's a preview of what you should mark your calendars for in September. All descriptions (unless otherwise noted) are from IMDB.
Touchy Feely - Lynn Shelton
Touchy Feely is a closely observed examination of a family whose delicate psychic balance suddenly unravels. Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt), is a sought after massage therapist and a free spirit, while her brother Paul (Josh Pais) thrives on routine and convention, running a flagging dental practice and co-dependently enlisting the assistance of his emotionally stunted daughter Jenny (Ellen Page). Suddenly, transformation touches everyone. Abby develops an uncontrollable aversion to bodily contact, which not only makes her occupation impossible but severely hinders the passionate love life between her and her boyfriend (Scoot McNairy). Meanwhile, rumors of Paul's "healing touch" begin to miraculously invigorate his practice as well as his life outside the office. As Abby navigates her way through a soul-searching identity crisis, her formerly skeptical brother discovers a whole new side of himself. (Press Materials)
Adore - Anne Fontaine
Naomi Watts and Robin Wright deliver riveting performances in Adore, a sensual and provocative drama about two about two lifelong friends who find unexpected happiness in relationships that cross the bounds of convention. An unpredictable tale of misguided love and a heartfelt celebration of the enduring nature of female friendship, the film is the English-speaking directorial debut of distinguished filmmaker Anne Fontaine (Coco Before Chanel). It is adapted for the screen by Academy Award-winning writer Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liasons), from a novella by Nobel Prize for Literature winner Doris Lessing.
Set in an Australian seaside town of otherworldly beauty and shot in lush 35mm Cinemascope, Adore establishes an aura of fable as it follows two women's plunge into uncharted waters. Watts and Wright fearlessly engage with both the physical and psychological components of the story, capturing the complex emotions and powerful desires driving their characters. (Press Materials)
A Teacher - Hannah Fidell
Part psychological thriller and part provocative character study, A Teacher explores the unraveling of a young high school teacher, Diana (Lindsay Burdge),
after she begins an affair with one of her teenage students, Eric (Will Brittain). What starts as a seemingly innocent fling becomes increasingly complex
as the beautiful and confident Diana gets fully consumed by her emotions, crossing boundaries and acting out in progressively startling ways. Lindsay
Burdge delivers a deeply compelling and seamlessly naturalistic performance that brings us into the mind of an adult driven to taboo against her better
judgment. (Press Materials)
99% The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film - Audrey Ewell, Aaron Aites, Lucian Read, Nina Krstic - (doc)
In 2011, seemingly overnight, Occupy captured the imagination of our nation -- and the world. The sweeping story of the birth of a movement, 99% - The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film follows a disparate group of activists who converged on lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park to build a new society. Inspired by the idea that wealth and power were disproportionately wielded by an elite few, parks from Pittsburgh to Minneapolis to Jackson Mississippi were soon Occupied. But what did they want? And would their own processes hinder them in achieving it?
As mainstream news failed to find answers, and with police forces around the country perpetrating indelible acts of violence against American citizens, established New York filmmakers Audrey Ewell and Aaron Aites decided to tell the story themselves -- with a little help from their friends. Using an unprecedented production model that tested the processes - but was unaffiliated with - the Occupy Movement, over a hundred people across the US came together to craft this unique portrait. Now, after thousands of activists have been arrested and forcibly evicted from their encampments, the Occupation finds itself at a crossroad: what's next? In an era of hopelessness and resignation, 99% offers a striking portrait of those who refused to accept the status quo, while analysis from activists, experts, and detractors finally brings the story into focus. (Press Materials)
Out of the Clear Blue Sky - Danielle Gardner (doc)
A documentary that explores the effects of 9/11 on the firm Cantor Fitzgerald, whose offices on the top five floors of the North Tower of the World Trade Center were destroyed in the attacks, killing 658 out of their 960 employees.
I Am Breathing - Emma Davie and Morag McKinnon (doc)
A documentary follows the last months of Neil Platt, a young father with terminal and debilitating motor neuron disease.
Best Kept Secret - Samantha Buck (doc)
At JFK High School, located in the midst of a run-down area in Newark, New Jersey, the nation's 10th poorest city, administrators answer the phone by saying, "You've reached John F. Kennedy High School, Newark's Best Kept Secret." And indeed, it is. JFK is a public school for all types of students with special education needs, ranging from those on the autism spectrum to those with multiple disabilities. Janet Mino has taught her class of young autistic men for four years. When they all graduate in the spring of 2012, they will leave the security of the public school system forever. Best Kept Secret follows Ms. Mino and her students over the year and a half before graduation. The clock is ticking to find them a place in the adult world -- a job or rare placement in a recreational center - so they do not end up where their predecessors have, sitting at home, institutionalized, or on the streets. (Press Materials)
1958. Rose (Deborah Francois) is a terrible secretary but a demon typist. Her handsome boss resolves to turn her into the fastest girl in the world.
A drama that chronicles the life of Winnie Mandela (Jennifer Hudson) from her childhood through her marriage and her husband's incarceration.
Good Ol' Freda
Freda Kelly was just a shy Liverpudlian teenager when she was asked to work for a local band hoping to make it big. Though she had no concept of how far they would go, Freda had faith in The Beatles from the beginning, and The Beatles had faith in her.
History notes that The Beatles were together for 10 years, but Freda worked for them for 11. Many people came in and out of the band's circle as they grew to international stardom, but Freda remained a staple because of her unfaltering loyalty and dedication. As the Beatles' devoted secretary and friend, Freda was there as history unfolded; she was witness to the evolution -- advances and setbacks, breakthroughs and challenges – of the greatest band in history.
In Good Ol' Freda, Freda tells her stories for the first time in 50 years. One of few films with the support of the living Beatles and featuring original Beatles music, the film offers an insider perspective on the beloved band that changed the music industry. (Press Materials)
Mademoiselle C (doc)
A documentary focused on former Vogue Paris editor-in-chief and fashion stylist Carine Roitfeld
Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction - Sophie Huber (doc)
Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction is an impressionistic portrait of the iconic actor comprised of intimate moments, film clips from some of his 200 films and his own heart-breaking renditions of American folk songs. Lensed in color and black and white by Seamus McGarvey, the film explores the actor's enigmatic outlook on his life, his unexploited talents as a musician, and includes candid reminiscences by David Lynch, Wim Wenders, Sam Shepard, Kris Kristofferson and Deborah Harry.
Uncensored, unguarded moments and wry humor illuminate scenes filmed at locations like Stanton's home and his favorite local watering hole, Dan Tana's. Stanton discusses his friends Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, how his family influenced his musical leanings, the women he almost wed, and his preference for film over theatre. The poignant collage reveals the essence of a fascinatingly opaque and charismatic man. (Press Materials)
Wadjda - Haifaa Al-Mansour
An enterprising Saudi girl (Waad Mohammed) signs on for her school's Koran recitation competition as a way to raise the remaining funds she needs in order to buy the green bicycle that has captured her interest.
Plush - Catherine Hardwicke
A young singer/songwriter (Emily Browning), despite being married, becomes involved with her new guitarist, who she soon discovers has a dark past and may be a danger to her and those close to her.
And While We Were Here - Kat Coiro
While working on a writing project on the island of Ischia, a married woman (Kate Bosworth) enters into an affair with a younger man.
Herb and Dorothy 50x50- Megumi Sasaki (doc)
A follow up to award winning documentary Herb & Dorothy, the film captures the ordinary couple's extraordinary gift of art to the nation as they close the door on their life as collectors. When Herb and Dorothy Vogel, a retired postal clerk and librarian, began collecting works of contemporary art in the 1960s, they never imagined it would outgrow their one bedroom Manhattan apartment and spread throughout America. 50 years later, the collection is nearly 5,000 pieces and worth millions. Refusing to sell, the couple launches an unprecedented gift project giving artworks to one museum in all 50 states. The film journeys around the country with the Vogels, meeting artists who are famous or unknown, often controversial, striking today's society with questions about art and its survival.
Mother of George
After the joyous wedding between Adenike (Danai Gurira) and Ayodele (Isaach De Bankole, White Material, Night on Earth), a Nigerian couple living in Brooklyn, marital complications arise out of their inability to conceive a child. The problem devastates their family and defies cultural expectations, leading Adenike to make a shocking decision that could either save her family or destroy it. Dosunmu captures the nuances of this unique and fascinating culture by creating a beautiful, vibrant, and moving portrait of a couple whose joys and struggles are at once intimate and universal. (Press Materials)
Enough Said - Nicole Holofcener
A divorced woman (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) who decides to pursue the man she's interested in learns he's her new friend's ex-husband.
After Tiller - Martha Shane and Lana Wilson (doc)
In 2009, Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas, one of the only doctors in the US who performed third-trimester abortions, was gunned down in his church. He was the eighth abortion clinic worker to be assassinated since the Supreme Court passed the Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion, in 1973. There are now only four doctors in the country, all former colleagues of Dr. Tiller, who openly provide late abortions, a procedure considered highly controversial even among those who consider themselves pro-choice.
After Tiller weaves together revealing interviews with the doctors with intimate scenes from their private lives and inside their clinics, where they counsel and care for their vulnerable patients. The personal and moral struggles of several of these women are revealed, forcing us to step into the shoes of both patient and practitioner as they confront the full complexity of each decision. (Press Materials)
Haute Cuisine - September 20
The story of Daniele Delpeuch (Catherine Frot) and how she was appointed as the private chef for Francois Mitterrand.
Set in the lower echelons of 1860s Paris, Therese Raquin (Elizabeth Olsen), a sexually repressed beautiful young woman, is trapped into a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin, Camille, by her domineering aunt, Madame Raquin. Therese spends her days confined behind the counter of a small shop and her evenings watching Madame play dominoes with an eclectic group. After she meets her husband's alluring friend, Laurent, she embarks on an illicit affair that leads to tragic consequences.
Pledging to keep herself from being the oldest and the only woman (Paula Patton) in her entire family never to wed, Montana embarks on a thirty-day, thirty-thousand-mile expedition to charm a potential suitor into becoming her fiance.