We made it! And there even appears to be hope on the horizon. The bivalent booster is boasting remarkable results (for those of us who bothered to get it), a dangerous sex trafficker got himself thrown in jail after being taken down by Greta Thunberg on Twitter and the final months of 2022 gifted us with some fabulous viewing. Here are a few titles we especially recommend…
WHITE LOTUS (series, 2022, HBO): I can’t attest for Season 2, but Season 1 is a bold, highly engaging, and yet painfully poignant depiction of class, race and gender inequity set in a luxury resort in Hawaii. In many ways it’s got the appeal of two trains about to collide—you know what trouble lies ahead, and yet you can’t look away.
THE TRIANGLE OF SADNESS (film, 2022, Prime): And if WHITE LOTUS isn’t intense enough for you, check out 2022’s Palm D’Or winner that is WHITE LOTUS on a luxury cruise as reimagined by Luis Buñuel, with a smattering of Lina Wertmuller’s SWEPT AWAY. It’s not for the faint of heart or timid of brain, but it’s not to be missed if you’re feeling brave.
WEDNESDAY: (series, 2022, Netflix) Tim Burton is back – hurray! A big fan of his early work< lost interest around his PLANET OF THE APES. I’m glad to say, all that’s forgotten with the delightful series centering around Wednesday Adams at the Nevermore Academy, the same boarding school where her parents met and fell in love. If you relate to her cynical, macabre, analog ways as I do, she’ll fast become your new best friend.
EMILY THE CRIMINAL (film, 2022, Netflix): Wow! This thriller’s a true real nailbiter, but also incredibly smart, poignantly intersectional and very feminist-friendly. Emily might not be the most admirable heroine ever, and yet you’ve got to give her props. With every odd against her, she’s fearless in pursuing her goals, and owns who she is, even if that’s not the person she had hoped she’d be. A fun and fulfilling ride!
HOLY SPIDER (Movie in select theaters): This film goes a long way toward explaining why Iranian women are revolting against the oppression of the religious clerics that comprise the Islamic Republic, a brutal regime that has made life so miserable for so many since 1979. A young female journalist risks everything to investigate the brutal killings of sex workers in an Iranian city. While reporting on this story, she experiences the perils of being an unmarried woman traveling alone when the hotel doesn’t want to honor her reservation and only relent when she can prove that she’s a journalist. She is then threatened with the morality police for not covering her hair properly, a scene all the more frightening given the tragic circumstances of what has led to the current uprising. As she delves into the case of the serial killer, the movie becomes an effective thriller as the danger increases for our brave heroine. This movie is difficult to watch given its grim subject matter and scenes of graphic violence against the sex workers. The fact that HOLY SPIDER is based on a true story makes it all that more painful, but it is an important and topical film that never lets you forget that what’s at stake for the persecuted women of Iran.
THE WONDER (film, 2022, Netflix): Science and religious fanaticism are on a collision course in THE WONDER. The film is the story of a heroic English nurse who travels to Ireland to watch over a young girl who hasn’t eaten in four months. She is given instructions that she is only there to watch the child thereby rendering her a passive spectator. Is it a religious miracle or is something sinister going on? English Nurse Lib Wright suspects that something is amiss with the family but when she voices her concerns to the all-male committee who summoned her to Ireland they rebuff her. She is forced to take matters into her own hands and what follows is a fascinating feminist portrayal of courageous action in the face of indifference and religious oppression. The film is based on the true disturbing history of The Fasting Girls, young women who starved themselves while claiming to possess either psychic or mystic abilities. Emma Donoghue, who wrote the novel, explains, “I was instantly intrigued by these cases, which seemed to echo medieval saints starving as an act of penance, and also modern anorexics, but weren’t exactly the same as either. It seemed to say a lot about what it’s meant to be a girl in many Western countries.” Religion has a way of devaluing women but science, reason and education have a way of restoring us.
Happy & Healthy New Year!
Devi & Amy
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