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Weekly Update for May 2: Women Centric, Directed and Written Films Playing Near You

Women and Hollywood By Inkoo Kang | Women and Hollywood May 2, 2014 at 4:00PM

A list of all the women-centric, women-directed, and women-written films opening on May 2.
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Still from "Belle"
Still from "Belle"

Films About Women Opening

Belle - Directed by Amma Asante; Written by Misan Sagay

There's nothing quite like Belle on the contemporary film scene -- a luxurious period film and a sweet, gentle romance that wears its smart, nuanced politics on its silk sleeves. In my review for TheWrap, I wrote of the film, "Based on the life and accomplishments of an actual 18th-century noblewoman, this warmly poignant tale of two illegitimate sisters' (Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Sarah Gadon) efforts to marry despite their social handicaps (one is dowry-less, the other half-black) offers all the passionate idealism, the precise social insights, and the delightfully sharp-tongued dialogue that recall the best of Sense and Sensibility." (Inkoo Kang)

Read Women and Hollywood's two-part interview with Amma Asante here and here.

Decoding Annie Parker

Based on true events, Decoding Annie Parker tells the life-affirming story of two remarkable women; the irrepressible Annie Parker (Samantha Morton), a three-time cancer survivor, and the geneticist Mary-Claire King (Helen Hunt), whose discovery of the breast cancer BRCA gene mutation is considered one of the most important discoveries of the 20th century. (Rotten Tomatoes) 

Breastmilk (doc) - Directed by Dana Ben-Ari 

With unexpected humor, with an unflinching camera, with some guilt and some pain, this film takes the unusual risk of examining what breast milk truly means. We are often told that breast milk is better. Better for babies, better for mothers, better for nutrition, health, well-being, and society. Many accept this and yet there are still very few women who succeed in breastfeeding exclusively for the recommended six months and beyond. What would it take to change? (Rotten Tomatoes)

For a Woman - Written and Directed by Diane Kurys

After the death of her mother, Anne (Sylvie Testud) makes a shocking discovery: an old photograph casts doubt on her origins and leads her to discover a mysterious uncle who lived with her parents after the war. As she lifts the lid on a long forgotten family secret, the young woman learns that her mother (Melanie Thierry) once succumbed to an amorous passion that was as intense as it was short-lived. (Indiewire)

Ida

From acclaimed director Pawel Pawlikowski (Last Resort, My Summer of Love) comes Ida, a moving and intimate drama about a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland who, on the verge of taking her vows, discovers a dark family secret dating from the years of the Nazi occupation. 18-year old Anna (stunning newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska), a sheltered orphan raised in a convent, is preparing to become a nun when the Mother Superior insists she first visit her sole living relative. Naive, innocent Anna soon finds herself in the presence of her aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza), a worldly and cynical Communist Party insider, who shocks her with the declaration that her real name is Ida and her Jewish parents were murdered during the Nazi occupation. This revelation triggers a heart-wrenching journey into the countryside, to the family house and into the secrets of the repressed past, evoking the haunting legacy of the Holocaust and the realities of postwar Communism. (Rotten Tomatoes)

Journey of a Female Comic - Co-Directed by Kiki Melendez, Written by Kiki Melendez and Lyn McCullough

It sure doesn't pay going against the grain in Hollywood. The "docu-comedy" Journey of a Female Comic traces Kiki Melendez's years-long efforts to find a niche for herself in showbiz. In my LA Times review, I wrote, "Her efforts to remake Hollywood in her own image -- by experimenting with bilingualism, promoting female comics of color and attempting to attract backers to her Christian script -- consign her to the niches of the entertainment industry. Introduced one after another, her doomed projects implicitly indict the social conservatism of the film and comedy worlds." (Inkoo Kang) 

Walk of Shame

Walk of Shame stars Elizabeth Banks as a resourceful reporter whose one-night stand with a handsome stranger (James Marsden) leaves her stranded the next morning in downtown Los Angeles without a phone, car, ID, or money -- and only 8 hours before the most important job interview of her career. (Rotten Tomatoes)

The M Word 

Set in a struggling Los Angeles television station threatened by economic downturn, possible in-house graft and massive job loss, Tanna Frederick plays Moxie, a children's TV show actress who unexpectedly turns into a Joan of Arc when she finds herself leading an extraordinary band of rebelling women demanding their rights as they anxiously face uncertain futures after their new boss (Michael Imperioli) and his second-in-command (Robert Hallak) arrive from New York on a devastating cost-cutting mission. All of Moxie's personal and professional assumptions and those of her long-time boyfriend (Corey Feldman) are turned upside-down as her mother (Frances Fisher), her two aunts (Mary Crosby and Eliza Roberts), and her stepfather (Gregory Harrison), join with dozens of her fellow female office workers to illuminate the struggles, challenges and joys of what is still, in some circles, referred to as "the change of life." (Rotten Tomatoes)

Films About Women Currently Playing

Bright Days Ahead - Directed by Marion Vernoux; Co-Written by Marion Vernoux and Fanny Chesnel 
The Other Woman - Directed by Melissa Stack 
Young and Beautiful 
Gabrielle - Written and Directed by Louise Archambault
Half the Road: The Passion, Pitfalls, & Power of Women's Professional Cycling (doc) - Directed by Kathryn Bertine 
Proxy
Redwood Highway
Hateship Loveship - Directed by Liza Johnson
Frankie and Alice - Co-Written by Cheryl Edwards, Mary King, Anna Waterhouse 
Nymphomaniac: Part Two
Under the Skin
Finding Vivian Maier (doc)
Divergent - Co-Written by Vanessa Taylor
On My Way - Co-Written and Directed by Emmanuelle Bercot 
Single Mom's Club
Child's Pose 
Gloria

Films Directed by Women Opening

Beneath the Harvest Sky - Co-Directed and Co-Written by Gita Pullapilly

Casper (Emory Cohen) and Dominic (Callan McAuliffe) have been fiercely loyal friends since childhood. Desperate for a way out of their quiet town on the Maine-Canada border, the boys make a pact to pool their earnings on a car and hit the road. But when Casper is drawn into drug smuggling with his outlaw father (Aidan Gillen) to pay his share, their friendship is pushed to the brink and adult choices forced on them all too soon. (Tribeca Film Festival)

Read Women and Hollywood's interview with Gita Pullapilly here.

Friended to Death - Written and Directed by Sarah Smick 

Friended to Death charts the extremes to which a desperate Facebook junkie will go in order to figure out who his true friends are. Laced with satire, this tongue-in-cheek bro-mantic comedy tells the story of obnoxious Los Angeles parking enforcement officer Michael Harris (Ryan Hansen). After being fired from his dream job and ditched by his best friend Michael begins to question whether anyone would care if he died. So with the help of his pushover ex-coworker Emile (James Immekus), Michael does what any social media-obsessed loner would do: He fakes his death online to see who will show up at his funeral. In just hours, Michael's fake death post attracts a promising 22 'Likes.' Giddy and eager to milk the prank, Michael convinces Emile to help him stage a faux memorial service. But as plans start taking shape, Michael's reality gradually implodes, forcing him to reconsider what it means to be a "friend" in today’s hyper-connected world of social media. (Press Material)

Films Directed by Women Currently Playing

The German Doctor - Written and Directed by Lucia Puenzo
Tanzania: A Journey Within (doc) - Directed by Sylvia Caminer 
Authors Anonymous - Directed by Ellie Kanner 
Vanishing Pearls: The Oystermen of Point a la Hache (doc) - Directed by Nailah Jefferson 
Dancing in Jaffa (doc) - Directed by Hilla Medalia
The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden (doc) - Co-Directed by Dayna Goldfine and Co-Written by Dayna Goldfine and Celeste Schaefer Snyder 
Watermark (doc) - Co-Directed by Jennifer Baichwal

Films Written by Women Currently Playing

50 to 1 - Co-Written by Faith Conroy 
About Last Night - Co-Written by Leslye Headland 

Films by and About Women on DVD or on Demand 

Strong Black Woman
Sugar
Veronica Mars - Co-Written by Diane Ruggiero

This article is related to: Weekly Update