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In our premium newsletter for members this week, we recommend more virtual film festival screenings, plus additional VOD, virtual cinema, and streaming recommendations. If you become a member now, shoot us an email, and we'll be happy to send you these recommendations, too!
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This week, catch up with the TIFF Platform Competition winner Yuni in Canada and the Mid-West US. I'm Your Man hits VOD in Canada/US on Tuesday, but you can already watch it in virtual cinemas in Canada and the UK today.
Plus, two of our favourite horror films, both featured in the ebook Beyond Empowertainment, are now streaming: Raw and Prevenge.
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Virtual film festivals
Yuni - across Canada until Oct 11; IL/IA/MI/MN/MO/WI from Oct 14-24
The TIFF Platform Competition award winner is streaming across Canada. The film has yet to secure distribution so it's definitely worth making the effort to see it.
Here's an excerpt from my review:
’s coming-of-age story, Yuni
, follows the eponymous seventeen-year-old Indonesian girl on the cusp of adulthood as she figures out who she wants to be. Having seen friends her age get unhappily married, Yuni (Arawinda Kirana) wants to go to university, but there are strong pressures on her to get married and many suitors calling. Much of Yuni’s life is easily recognizable to western audiences: she hangs out with friends, goes to see a band play, lusts after boys, poses for Instagram, and discovers just how female masturbation works. But the patriarchal norms in her small town are strong; her suitors talk to her parents about the value of Yuni’s virginity, which Yuni only overhears by peeking through closed doors. At the same time, men hold the keys to her education: a male literature teacher stands between her and top grades, and she needs the help of a male student to succeed.
Along the way, Yuni meets several young women who have gone against the grain and paid for it: one who was married in middle school and got divorced and disowned, another who gets caught alone with her boyfriend and had to get married to him. A boy falls for Yuni, and Yuni might have feelings for him. Throughout, the film asks, what is Yuni willing to risk to have control over her life, and will the world she lives in let her get it?
Click here for tickets in Canada until Oct 11.
Click here for tickets in IL/IA/MI/MN/MO/WI from Oct 14-24
Now in Virtual Cinemas/VOD
I'm Your Man - Canada (Virtual cinemas now; VOD on the 12th), UK virtual cinemas now, US VOD on the 12th
My favourite film at the Berlinale (yes, I loved this even more than the new Sciamma!) stars a RADIANT AMAZING Maren Eggert (who won best actor and gives one of the very best performances of the year) and a never better Dan Stevens as her 'ideal man' in robot form. We'll be going deep on the film on next week's podcast.
Here's an excerpt from my review:
How big is the gulf between what we think we want from romantic relationships and what we actually need or would settle for? Is part of the joy of a relationship the knowledge that you’re needed? Is a flawed partner more attractive because they make you feel less alone for also being flawed? How do we change to suit our partners in a relationship? Wouldn’t it be convenient if you could store your partner in the spare room with the vacuum cleaner and the exercise bike? These are some of the many complex questions at the centre of Maria Schrader’s Berlinale competition film, I’m Your Man. In the film, cuneiform researcher Alma (Maren Eggert) is asked to test out a new AI robot, Tom (Dan Stevens), who has been designed to be her perfect man. For three weeks, he’ll live with her and learn from her, and at the end, she’ll write a report about the experience, evaluating what he’s like as a partner.
When the film opens, Alma arrives at a swanky club with retro decor, a dance floor, and “Puttin’ on the Ritz” in the background. Couples are flirting and chatting, either seated at tables or dancing. Guided by an employee of the establishment dressed like an old-timey flight attendant (Sandra Hüller), Alma is introduced to Tom, seated at a table, looking dapper in a well-tailored suit. The conversation is stilted. He makes bizarre comments like, “Your eyes are like mountain lakes I want to sink into,” and punctuates his suggestion that they dance the rumba with a shake of his shoulders. Alma asks him a series of bizarre but super specific questions, from solving a hard arithmetic problem to reciting poetry, which he answers without skipping a beat. Alma shifts between staring blankly at him and looking away in disbelief, disgust, or frustration. When they get on the dance floor, his dancing is so overenthusiastic, each movement exaggerated, that you wonder what planet he dropped in from. That is, until he short circuits, repeating “Ich bin” with a twist of his head, like a broken record. As he’s carried off by a group of handlers dressed like Hüller, we realise Alma’s date is not a human, but a facsimile of one.
Read the full review.
Click here for tickets in Canada today.
Click here for tickets in the UK today.
Prevenge - Mubi UK/Ireland, Shudder Canada/US/UK/AU/NZ/Austria/Germany/France, Prime Belgium/France, VOD Denmark/Finland/Norway/Sweden
Alice Lowe's directorial debut, in which she starred while 6 months pregnant, is funny and smart and way more thoughtful than anyone gave it credit for. Back at the film's world premiere at TIFF, I talked to Lowe about the film. The interview appears in our ebook Beyond Empowertainment: Feminist horror and the struggle for female agency.
Here's an excerpt from the intro to my interview with Lowe in Beyond Empowertainment:
Only in Prevenge, Alice Lowe’s wickedly funny directorial debut, would it seem perfectly natural to castrate your date and then tuck his mum into bed and offer to do her washing. But the film, which Lowe wrote, directed, and starred in while seven months pregnant, is hardly ordinary. It’s a revenge movie in which a foul-mouthed fetus sends its mother, Ruth (Alice Lowe), on a killing spree.
“I wanted to reflect pregnancy and the kind of emotional rollercoaster that you go on hormonally and how vivid those experiences are,” Lowe explained. “As soon as you think, ‘Oh, this is a comedy,’ I pull the rug out from under your feet, and you see something that’s really shocking, like a horror film. Then, suddenly, you’re feeling quite sad for her, and that she’s quite sweet, and then I’m changing it again.”
Lowe wanted to flip the audience’s expectations of the narrative around pregnancy: her character is anything but helpless. When the film opens, we see “a normal woman walking down a road, and she’s pregnant. She goes into this really creepy environment. It’s like the fly walking into the spider’s parlour. As an audience, you feel very used to the man being the predator and the woman being the victim. But, actually, she ends up being the one being dangerous.”
Get your copy of Beyond Empowertainment.
Raw - Netflix US, Crave Starz Canada, Stan/Binge/Shudder AU, VOD UK/Ireland, Prime France, VOD in most of Europe
Raw director Julia Ducournau won the Palme d'Or earlier this year for her new feature, Titane. But back in 2016, shortly after Raw premiered at the Cannes Critics Week in 2016, we fell in love with it — so much so that we wrote an entire case study on the film in our ebook Beyond Empowertainment: Feminist horror and the struggle for female agency.
Here's an excerpt from Editor-at-Large Mary Angela's essay on the film:
Three people fainted during the North American premiere of Raw, writer-director Julia Ducournau’s cannibalistic coming-of-age story. Crisply shot and incredibly well-acted, Raw confidently straddles the boundary between gore-shock and psychological horror. Ducournau’s film centres on Justine (Garance Marillier), a young vegetarian who develops strange appetites after she’s forced to consume raw meat as part of a hazing ritual at veterinary school. Justine’s sister Alexia (Ella Rumpf), an older vet student, at first seems distant, but the two prove more alike than we can initially imagine. Together, both sisters embody a new kind of female body horror where carnal hunger isn’t contingent on sexual rapacity.
Vet college, set in a coldly Brutalist concrete-block campus, is very nearly an adult-free zone. Justine’s parents (Joanna Preiss and Laurent Lucas) drop her off and then peel out of the parking lot, leaving her alone; the lone professor we meet mocks Justine and tells her he doesn’t like high achievers. We see relatively little of the academic life — there seem to be no rules here except whatever the senior students decide to impose on the frosh. It’s cold, anarchic, and completely cut off from reality. It may as well be another world.
Justine’s appetite for flesh is born in this crucible, where fleshly desires and humiliation are entwined as part of a group bonding ritual. Ducournau lingers on the humiliations imposed on Justine by the hazing, and the subtler pressures bearing down upon her. Justine is ordered to dress like a tart, and the frosh are made to crawl half-naked in the dark to a bacchanal they can’t leave. At one point, Justine is coated in blue paint and shoved into a washroom with a boy covered in yellow, and ordered not to emerge until they’re both green. (For the virginal Justine, this incident triggers desires that are more than sexual.) Outside of school, Alexia mocks Justine’s unshaven armpits and ungroomed bikini line, leading to one of the most darkly funny waxing scenes ever committed to film.
Get your copy of Beyond Empowertainment to read the full essay.
We also went deep on the film on this week's podcast. Listen here.
Alex Heeney, Editor-in-Chief
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