The photo at the top of the the newsletter is from SMOOTH TALK (1985), one of Laura Dern's earliest starring roles. The film went on to win the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival the following year. Dern's performance is revelatory. She plays Connie, the fifteen-year-old black sheep of her family whose summertime idyll of beach trips, mall hangouts, and innocent flirtations is shattered by an encounter with a mysterious stranger (a memorably menacing Treat Williams). Suspended between carefree youth and the harsh realities of the adult world, Connie experiences an unsettling awakening in this haunting vision of innocence lost. Based on the celebrated short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You been" by Joyce Carol Oates. Costarring Mary Kay Place and Levon Helm. "The film's power is enormous throughout." -The New Yorker. "...It's impossible to deny Dern's amazing performance." -Reel Film Reviews
Please, do not miss CODED BIAS. It's an important film and it's riveting. We follow MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini's startling discovery that many facial recognition technologies do not accurately identify darker-skinned faces and the faces of women. She delves into an investigation of widespread bias in algorithms. As it turns out, artificial intelligence is not neutral, and women are leading the charge to ensure that our civil rights are protected. "A chilling plunge into Orwellian reality." -Hollywood Reporter. "[A] fascinating study of how even the seemingly impartial world of technology is subject to embedded racism and privilege." -RogerEbert.com
"Deeply moving and humane." -Hollywood Reporter. I couldn't agree more with the Reporter's assessment of BORN TO BE. The film introduces us to Dr. Jess Ting, surgical director of the groundbreaking Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York City. With extraordinary access, the film takes an intimate look at how one doctor's work impacts the lives of his patients and leads to his own transformation. The respect, empathy, and compassion he brings to his practice is moving to witness. BORN TO BE gives voice to those who refuse to conform to gender norms and stereotypes. "Enlightening. The film has an exuberantly infectious life to it...We're watching history being made with a sympathetic and respectful eye to everything that entails." -The Film Stage
As gender and race is a thread running through all three new streaming movies this week, it's important to note that all three are directed by women: Joyce Chopra (SMOOTH TALK), Shalini Kantaayya (CODED BIAS), and Tania Cypriano (BORN TO BE).
SAINT FRANCES - still on our website - was the first film that we offered for streaming. The 30th Annual Gotham Film Awards just nominated Alex Thompson for Breakthrough Director, and Kelly O'Sullivan for Breakthrough Actor.
Cider & Cinema: Every other week Finnriver will be pairing one of their wonderful, delicious ciders with one of our streaming movies. For information on their weekly pairings, please visit their Instagram page.
Pop-up popcorn on sale this Saturday, November 21st, 1:00-4:00.
And now under the Rose awning.