The past year provided some excellent films made by women, about women. The films on today’s list offer perspectives quite different from those of a male author, with issues that should be examined by the broader public.
Roll Red Roll
Roll Red Roll explores the case of rape that put small town of Steubenville, Ohio in the national news. The rape was committed by a member of a beloved local football team, leading the town’s football culture to launch a wide-reaching coverup. The documentary is rather disturbing, showcasing not just the crime’s brutality, but the lack of empathy shown by the city’s response.
For Sama is a timely and groundbreaking documentary about the war in Syria, told from the perspective of women. It tells a personal story that thrives within the war, through the life of a woman who falls in love, gets married and gives birth to a daughter named Sama. The film forces audiences to confront the terrible trials the family faces, shedding light on issues all-too-often left in the dark.
One Child Nation
One Child Nation is one of this year’s most highly-praised films, diving into the complicated and difficult subject of China’s one-child policy. It studies the affect this law had on the lives of China’s people, as well as the children who were abandoned and left behind in the aftermath of the policy.
Harvey Weinstein was an untouchable figure within Hollywood due to his talent, fame and power. This is the story of the culture that allowed him to retain that power, despite being a known criminal. The film features testimony from Paz de la Huerta, who explains how difficult it was for the media to accept her story. Untouchable is a chilling tale, painting a picture of our time and how our culture was complicit with the crimes being committed in Hollywood.
Knock Down the House
Knock Down the House tells the story of Alexandra Ocasio Cortez: a young democratic socialist whose groundbreaking House win made waves in American politics. Besides AOC, the film follows the campaigns of Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearengin. The film paints a portrait of America’s new generation of politicians and their move to the left, compared to their older counterparts.
The Kingmaker is a story of how power works behind the scenes, in traditional and formal institutions. The film follows Imelda Marcos: wife of a Philippine president who worked as a special emissary to the world. The family was notoriously corrupt, and their actions left infamous marks on the country as a whole.
At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal
This is another film heavy in its themes of sexual abuse, this time focused on the world of USA Gymnastics. The documentary puts focus on the victims, and their effort to speak out both in court and beyond its doors. The film is at times explicit, and rather difficult to watch, but its message is one of utmost importance.