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Women Directors 2018: Reviews

Freak Show | Trudie Styler
Debut Feature | Written by Beth Rigazio and Patrick J. Clifton
Based on the 2007 novel by James St. James
Released January 12 | IFC Films

A fleeting reference to The Crucible sums up the cultural moment Trudie Styler captures in her bitterly funny and warmly empathetic first feature, an adaptation of James St. James’s young adult novel. Lynette (Abigail Breslin), the WASP queen bee in an affluent and conservative high school, so embraces her role as a puritanical enforcer that she imbues it with righteous fury. Never mind that Arthur Miller rendered members of the witch hunt mob as fearful and ignorant conformists, squelching dissent with violence. [more]

Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story | Kate McIntyre Clere and Mick McIntyre
Documentary | Released January 19 | Abramorama and Indievillage

Documentarians Kate McIntyre Clere and Mick McIntyre take fellow Australians to task for their treatment of kangaroos, the free-roaming indigenous animals that elicit loathing as much as wonderment. The adorable marsupials may serve as the go-to local symbol for Australian companies, but they’re hunted down in numbers that would shock outsiders who believe the distinctive creatures are protected, not sourced for meat and leather. [more]

The Revival | Jennifer Gerber
Debut Feature | Written by Samuel Brett Williams | Based on his 2010 play
Released January 19 | Breaking Glass Pictures

At first glance, Pastor Eli (David Rysdahl) seems the picture of calm piety at the pulpit; behind him is wood paneling polished to a patina of soft reflection and the gentle jewel tones of stained glass set alight by the morning sun. But Eli’s sermon, delivered with soothing insistence, falls on stony ground, even though the small congregation wants to believe in him. Jennifer Gerber illustrates their worshipful focus by positioning Eli at the center of her widescreen frame, an effect that can make a modest potluck look like the Last Supper. [more]