AGORA
: Dragged from her chariot by a mob of fanatical vigilante Christian monks, the revered astronomer was stripped naked, skinned to her bones with sharp oyster shells, stoned and burned alive as possibly the first executed witch in history. A kind of purge that was apparently big business back then.


CRITICAL WOMEN HEADLINES

12/30/13

Race, Sex And Tea Party Culture In Hollywood


 By Sikivu Hutchinson

'...For many people of color, going to 21st century movies is a soul-sucking exercise in being trained to see power through white eyes, often with the strategic pomp of a black soundtrack. Death by trailer, it is the masochistic pleasure of being bludgeoned into mental submission by the narrative of white heroism (in the form of Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon and George Clooney), white hetero-normative romance (in the form of faceless anorexic white girls and boys slobbering over and devouring each other) and white domesticity in white picket fence communities...'

CONTINUE TO READ ARTICLE HERE

Sikivu Hutchinson is the editor of Blackfemlens.org, and she is a commentator on Pacifica's KPFK Radio in Los Angeles. Sikivu is a member of The Women Film Critics Circle.

12/18/13

THE WOMEN FILM CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS AND CEREMONY 2013

   Philomena: United States In Collusion With Catholic Church Child Trafficking Drama On Screen  


The Women Film Critics Circle is an association of sixty-five women film critics and scholars from around the country and internationally, who are involved in print, radio, online and TV broadcast media. We came together in 2004 to form the first women critics organization in the United States, in the belief that women's perspectives and voices in film criticism need to be recognized fully.

LISTEN TO THE WFCC AWARDS 2013 CEREMONY SHOW HERE

WOMEN FILM CRITICS CIRCLE 2013

BEST MOVIE ABOUT WOMEN

Philomena
RUNNER UP:
Mother Of George

BEST MOVIE BY A WOMAN

Enough Said, Nicole Holofcener
RUNNER UP: Inch' Allah, Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette

BEST WOMAN STORYTELLER [Screenwriting Award]

Julie Delpy: Before Midnight
RUNNER UP: Nicole Holofcener, Enough Said

BEST ACTRESS

Judi Dench: Philomena
RUNNER UP: Barbara Sukowa: Hannah Arendt

BEST ACTOR

Chiwetel Ejiofor: 12 Years A Slave
RUNNER UP: Michael B. Jordan: Fruitvale Station

BEST YOUNG ACTRESS

Onata Aprile: What Maisie Knew
RUNNER UP: Waad Mohammed: Wadjda

BEST COMEDIC ACTRESS

Melissa McCarthy: The Heat
RUNNER UP: Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha

BEST FOREIGN FILM BY OR ABOUT WOMEN

Wadjda
RUNNER UP
: Inch' Allah

 BEST FEMALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
Philomena
RUNNER UP:
Girls In The Band

WORST FEMALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
The Bling Ring
RUNNER UP: Machete Kills
       
BEST MALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
  
12 years A Slave: Chiwetel Ejiofor
RUNNER UP: Enough Said: James Gandolfini

WORST MALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
   
Only God Forgives
RUNNER UP: Out Of The Furnace

BEST DOCUMENTARY BY OR ABOUT WOMEN
Stories We Tell
RUNNER UP: Girls In The Band

BEST SCREEN COUPLE
Before Midnight: Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke

BEST THEATRICALLY UNRELEASED MOVIE BY OR ABOUT WOMEN

Hellen Mirren in Phil Spector
RUNNER UP: Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer

BEST EQUALITY OF THE SEXES

Before Midnight
RUNNER UP: Enough Said

BEST ANIMATED FEMALES

Frozen
RUNNER UP:
The Croods

BEST FAMILY FILM
The Wind Rises
RUNNER UP: Black Nativity

WOMEN'S WORK/BEST ENSEMBLE

Ginger & Rosa
RUNNER UP TIE:

Winnie Mandela
August: Osage County

*SPECIAL MENTION AWARDS*


LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

EMMA THOMPSON: For her eclecticism in switching from period films to fantasy genre, to contemporary settings. And embodying all kinds of women with raw and pure interpretations.

ACTING AND ACTIVISM AWARD

CHARLIZE THERON: For her work for The Global Fund, and for starting the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project. Which educates young people about HIV/AIDS

COURAGE IN FILMMAKING
LAURA POITRAS: For bringing the Edward Snowden NSA revelations to light, driven into exile in Germany for doing so, and currently making a documentary about it.

*ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD:
A film that most passionately opposes violence against women
Augustine
RUNNER UP:
Lovelace
 
*JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD:
For best expressing the woman of color experience in America
12 Years A Slave
RUNNER UP: Go For Sisters 

*KAREN MORLEY AWARD:
For best exemplifying a woman’s place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity
Winnie Mandela
RUNNER UP: Wadjda

COURAGE IN ACTING: [Taking on unconventional roles that radically redefine the images of women on screen]
Soko: Augustine

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN AWARD
[Performance by a woman whose exceptional impact on the film dramatically, socially or historically, has been ignored]
Sandra Bullock: Gravity

BEST SONG: Would You Bleed For Love. Jennifer Hudson, Winnie Mandela

MOMMIE DEAREST WORST SCREEN MOM OF THE YEAR AWARD:

*Kristin Scott Thomas
  Only God Forgives
 













JUST KIDDING AWARD: Best Male Images In A Movie: Last Vegas

*WFCC HALL OF SHAME*

Blue is the Warmest Color: I went in knowing almost nothing except general buzz but I hated the sex scenes which were way too long and midway thru I couldn’t wait to flee the theater. Coming out I read how many takes Kechiche required and I was thoroughly repulsed. Who was this for? Then I read the graphic novel and discovered that critical plot points were deleted. Like the fact that Adele’s parents find her in bed with Emma which is why she has to move out — and I was enraged. A three hour movie, and Kechiche is so busy salivating over his actresses that he can’t bother telling a coherent story. Hype for this film makes me nauseous!

Blue is the Warmest Color: It's so obvious a dude with a fetish directed this, it's not only unappealing, it's creepy. His overcompensating hubris isn't worth the praise this is receiving.

The Canyons: Women depicted as powerless and manipulative. Plus, the acting is horrid.

Captain Phillips: The whole might of the USA coming down on 3 starving Somalis?! Repulsive. When the obscenely beefy SEALS arrived and the audience started to cheer, I felt I was watching a 'macho' director brainwash audience members into blindly accepting the worst stereotypes of jingoistic male behavior.

Dallas Buyers Club: Shame on Dallas Buyers Club for completely ignoring the LGBT as a group who drove the fight against AIDS to the forefront. The only time gays were mentioned was to let Matthew McConaughey's homophobic redneck character get a laugh at the expense of Jared Leto's transsexual character. The film made it seem as if the whole AIDS community stood on the shoulders of Ron Woodruff when in fact, groups like Act Up were starting the war for proper testing and more drugs way before Ron entered into the picture. It completely demeaned the backdrop Dallas Buyers Club was utilizing for their own characterizing "hero" agenda. Also the film took an extreme opinion against the AZT drug in favor for a plot line when in fact it was helping some patients. The only saving grace was Jared Leto's fantastic performance but unfortunately it wasn't enough.


  Enough Already: Why is it that when actresses and even screen goddesses hit a certain age, they're all cast as nags, loons and shrews. No matter how accomplished any of these films may be, the tally of older actress shrewish nags on board is really high this year, as usual. Including Oprah Winfrey in The Butler, Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts in August: Osage County, Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine, June Squibb in Nebraska, Kristin Scott Thomas in Only God Forgives, and Julianne Moore in Carrie. Refreshing exceptions being Judi Dench in Philomena, Yolonda Ross in Go For Sisters, and Mary Steenburgen in Last Vegas.

Gravity: The women in this group make meaningful choices each year so they speak for me in these areas, the lone exception being Sandra Bullock's performance in Gravity. She's a fine actress, but I found the character to be whiny, cowardly, and full of the wrong stuff - a damsel in distress who needed a man (even if it was just her imagination) to pull her out of danger. I can hardly believe they'd send someone so panicky into space. Give me Sigourney Weaver any day. 

Les Salauds [Bastards]: All of the women in this film are depicted as complicit in their own oppression and exploitation. Though it’s a patriarchal system that they exist within, they refuse to fight for themselves or each other, even when a minor is involved. The indictment then is not of the men but of the women. I found this problematic and disappointing from Denis.

Spring Breakers: No depth, little plot and a pitiful depiction of today's college kids. Gratuitous in nothing more than flesh and violence. A grossly and dangerously skewed depiction of young women and their values in today's America.

*Please Note:
The WFCC Top Ten Hall Of Shame represents the ‘don’t tell me to shut up’ sidebar contribution of individual members, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Circle. Or may even dissent from an awarded nomination. Also, members may be objecting to particular characters in a film, and not the entire movie. Clarification: If an aspect of the movie is intentionally negative to make a point, rather than offensive, that is not under consideration for this category.

*ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD:
Adrienne Shelly was a promising actress and filmmaker who was brutally strangled in her apartment in 2006 at the age of forty by a construction worker in the building, after she complained about noise. Her killer tried to cover up his crime by hanging her from a shower20rack in her bathroom, to make it look like a suicide. He later confessed that he was having a “bad day.” Shelly, who left behind a baby daughter, had just completed her film Waitress, which she also starred in, and which was honored at Sundance after her death.

*JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD:
The daughter of a laundress and a musician, Baker overcame being born black, female and poor, and marriage at age fifteen, to become an internationally acclaimed legendary performer, starring in the films Princess Tam Tam, Moulin Rouge and Zou Zou. She also survived the race riots in East St. Louis, Illinois as a child, and later expatriated to France to escape US racism. After participating heroically in the underground French Resistance during WWII, Baker returned to the US where she was a crusader for racial equality. Her activism led to attacks against her by reporter Walter Winchell who denounced her as a communist, leading her to wage a battle against him. Baker was instrumental in ending segregation in many theaters and clubs, where she refused to perform unless integration was implemented.

*KAREN MORLEY AWARD: Karen Morley was a promising Hollywood star in the 1930s, in such films as Mata Hari and Our Daily Bread. She was driven out of Hollywood for her leftist political convictions by the Blacklist and for refusing to testify against other actors, while Robert Taylor and Sterling Hayden were informants against her. And also for daring to have a child and become a mother, unacceptable for female stars in those days. Morley maintained her militant political activism for the rest of her life, running for Lieutenant Governor on the American Labor Party ticket in 1954. She passed away in 2003, unrepentant to the end, at the age of 93.

*The Women Film Critics Circle*

12/8/13

The Women Film Critics Circle Award Nominations 2013

          DANAI GURIRA, MOTHER OF GEORGE  

The Women Film Critics Circle has announced its 2O13 unique nominations for the best movies this year by and about women. And outstanding achievements by women, who get to be rarely honored historically in the film world.

The Women Film Critics Circle is an association of 64 women film critics and scholars from around the country and internationally, who are involved in print, radio, online and TV broadcast media.

They came together in 2004 to form the first women critics' organization in the United States, in the belief that women's perspectives and voices in film criticism need to be recognized fully. WFCC also prides itself on being the most culturally and racially diverse critics group in the country by far, and best reflecting the diversity of movie audiences.

Critical Women On Film, a presentation of The Women Film Critics Circle, is their journal of discussion and theory. And a gathering of women's voices expressing a fresh and differently experienced perspective from the primarily male dominated film criticism world.

BEST MOVIE ABOUT WOMEN
Mother Of George
Philomena
The Sapphires
Winnie Mandela

BEST MOVIE BY A WOMAN
Enough Said: Nicole Holofcener
Girls In The Band: Judy Chaikin
Hannah Arendt: Margarethe von Trotta
Inch Allah: Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette

BEST WOMAN STORYTELLER [Screenwriting Award]
Julie Delpy: Before Midnight
Nicole Holofcener: Enough Said
Darci Picoult: Mother Of George
Alice Winocour: Augustine

BEST ACTRESS
Judi Dench: Philomena
Danai Gurira: Mother Of George
Jennifer Hudson: Winnie Mandela
Barbara Sukowa: Hannah Arendt

BEST ACTOR
Chiwetel Ejiofor: 12 Years A Slave
James Gandolfini: Enough Said
Michael B. Jordan: Fruitvale Station
Joseph Gordon Levitt: Don Jon

BEST YOUNG ACTRESS
Dianna Agron: The Family
Onata Aprile: What Maisie Knew
Elle Fanning: Ginger & Rosa
Waad Mohammed: Wadjda

BEST COMEDIC ACTRESS
Lake Bell: In A World
Greta Gerwig: Frances Ha
Scarlett Johansson: Don Jon
Melissa McCarthy: The Heat

BEST FOREIGN FILM BY OR ABOUT WOMEN
Augustine
Hannah Arendt
Inch Allah
Wadjda

BEST FEMALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
Girls In The Band
Just Like A Woman
Philomena
Sunlight Jr.

WORST FEMALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
The Bling Ring
Machete Kills
Sharon Stone, Lovelace
Oprah Winfrey, The Butler

BEST MALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
12 years A Slave: Chiwetel Ejiofor
Don Jon: Joseph Gordon Levitt
Enough Said: James Gandolfini
Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom: Idris Elba

WORST MALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
The Fifth Estate
Oldboy
Only God Forgives
Out Of The Furnace

BEST THEATRICALLY UNRELEASED MOVIE BY OR ABOUT WOMEN
Fabulous Fashionistas
Phil Spector: Helen Mirren
Pussy Riot
Raltat

BEST EQUALITY OF THE SEXES
Before Midnight
Enough Said
The Hot Flashes
Wadjda

BEST ANIMATED FEMALE
Frozen [Kristen Bell as Anna]

BEST FAMILY FILM
The Wind Rises

WOMEN'S WORK/BEST ENSEMBLE
Ginger & Rosa
The Hot Flashes
Just Like A Woman
The Sapphires
Winnie Mandela

SPECIAL MENTION AWARDS

*COURAGE IN FILMMAKING: Laura Poitras. For bringing the Edward Snowden NSA revelations to light and driven into exile in Germany for doing so. And currently making a documentary about it.

*ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD: For a film that most passionately opposes violence against women
Augustine
Lovelace
Wadjda

*JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD: For best expressing the woman of color experience in America
12 Years A Slave
Go for Sisters

*KAREN MORLEY AWARD: For best exemplifying a woman's place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity
Augustine
Wadjda
Winnie Mandela

COURAGE IN ACTING
[Taking on unconventional roles that radically redefine the images of women on screen]
Soko: Augustine

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN AWARD: [Performance by a woman whose exceptional impact on the film dramatically, socially or historically, has been ignored]
Sandra Bullock: Gravity

BEST DOCUMENTARY BY OR ABOUT WOMEN
Free Angela Davis And All Political Prisoners
Girls in the Band
Stories We Tell
Sweet Dreams

MOMMIE DEAREST WORST SCREEN MOM OF THE YEAR AWARD
Kristen Thomas: Only God Forgives

BEST SCREEN COUPLE
Before Midnight: Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke

BEST SONG: Jennifer Hudson, Winnie Mandela: 'Would You Bleed For Love'

*WFCC HALL OF SHAME*

*Please Note: The WFCC Top Ten Hall Of Shame represents the 'don't tell me to shut up' sidebar contribution of individual members, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Circle. Also, members may be objecting to particular characters in a film, and not the entire movie. Clarification: If an aspect of the movie is intentionally negative to make a point, rather than offensive, that is not under consideration for this category.

The Canyons: Women depicted as powerless and manipulative. Plus, the acting's horrid.

Blue is the Warmest Color: I went in knowing almost nothing except general buzz but I hated the sex scenes which were way too long and midway thru I couldn't wait to flee the theater. Coming out I read how many takes Kechiche required and I was thoroughly repulsed. Who was this for? Then I read the graphic novel and discovered that critical plot points were deleted. Like the fact that Adele's parents find her in bed with Emma which is why she has to move out-and I was enraged. A three hour movie and Kechiche is so busy salivating over his actresses that he can't bother telling a coherent story! Hype for this film makes me nauseous.

*ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD: Adrienne Shelly was a promising actress and filmmaker who was brutally strangled in her apartment in 2006 at the age of forty by a construction worker in the building, after she complained about noise. Her killer tried to cover up his crime by hanging her from a shower20rack in her bathroom, to make it look like a suicide. He later confessed that he was having a "bad day." Shelly, who left behind a baby daughter, had just completed her film Waitress, which she also starred in, and which was honored at Sundance after her death.

*JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD: The daughter of a laundress and a musician, Baker overcame being born black, female and poor, and marriage at age fifteen, to become an internationally acclaimed legendary performer, starring in the films Princess Tam Tam, Moulin Rouge and Zou Zou. She also survived the race riots in East St. Louis, Illinois as a child, and later expatriated to France to escape US racism. After participating heroically in the underground French Resistance during WWII, Baker returned to the US where she was a crusader for racial equality. Her activism led to attacks against her by reporter Walter Winchell who denounced her as a communist, leading her to wage a battle against him. Baker was instrumental in ending segregation in many theaters and clubs, where she refused to perform unless integration was implemented.

*KAREN MORLEY AWARD: Karen Morley was a promising Hollywood star in the 1930s, in such films as Mata Hari and Our Daily Bread. She was driven out of Hollywood for her leftist political convictions by the Blacklist and for refusing to testify against other actors, while Robert Taylor and Sterling Hayden were informants against her. And also for daring to have a child and become a mother, unacceptable for female stars in those days. Morley maintained her militant political activism for the rest of her life, running for Lieutenant Governor on the American Labor Party ticket in 1954. She passed away in 2003, unrepentant to the end, at the age of 93.

12/3/13

HE SAID, SHE SAID...Female Sexuality On Screen - Bettie Page and Philomena


 SHE SAID....Philomena

'...A winding, emotionally grueling and eloquently told tale of one woman's immense heartbreak, it approaches its delicate subject matter with the boldness of a soldier but the grace of a dancer, balancing the harshness with so much hope for humanity. Judi Dench is to thank for such a nuanced, forthright performance as the titular lead. She stays away from the maudlin by gifting her nervous Philomena with authentic (and developing) courage, a journey we totally buy because Dench's depiction doesn't doesn't condescend nor rely on shorthand...'

CONTINUE TO READ HERE

Jhoanna Robledo writes for Common Sense Media, and is a member of the Women Film Critics Circle.


HE SAID....Bettie Page Reveals All

'...This amazing film shows the controversial Bettie Page as many things to many people: a sexual icon, a pin-up queen, the girl next door, an iconic model, a fashion designer, a cartoon character (similar to Bettie Boop), an actress, an aspiring Christian missionary in Haiti, a nudist, a girlfriend, a wife and a victim.  But as controversial as she was, the fascination of her still lingers on...'

CONTINUE TO READ HERE

Gerald Wright
National Association of Black Journalists
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