: 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.


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Tribeca 2015: A Conversation With Laura Bispuri, Director Of Sworn Virgin

By Liza Bear

New York,, April 18--A notable film seen at Tribeca FF this year is Sworn Virgin, the first feature by Italian director Laura Bispuri, starring Alba Rohrwacher as Hana/Mark in the nuanced, subtly expressive performance that her gender fluid role requires. Bispuri co-wrote the screenplay with Francesca Manieri. No, this is not an Albanian version of Orlando. .A loose adaptation of the contemporary ,novel by Elvira Dones, who is Albanian but writes in Italian, the story is initially set in a toothily ragged mountain region of Albania, a country just a ferry ride across the Adriatic from Italy, and in a remote community whose arcane mores you won't believe.

This highly patriarchal society still subscribes to a Bronze Age code of behaviour known as the Kanun, or canon, among whose principal tenets is the subservience of women in every respect. In order to escape the strictures of female existence in such a society, and as permitted by the Kanun. in exchange for an oath of perpetual celibacy and remaining a virgin, Hana renames herself Mark and for fourteen years iives life as a man, coralling goats, riding horses and shooting rifles, until a signal event makes her question her assumed manhood and escape to Italy.

The following interview with Laura Bispuri was done within the strictures of allotted time; and Bow-Tie proximity. Michael F. Moore interpreted the Italian: film stills courtesy various: thank you. A European co-production by Albania, Germany, Italy, Kosovo and Switzerland. Strand Releasing will distribute domestically after the festival.

Liza Bear produces Cherchez La Femme on Youtube. She also writes for Bomb Magazine. Liza is a member of The Women Film Critics Circle.


Make-Up As Art: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi Does Marlene Dietrich

 What is Make-Up Art’s Concept

The web has a variety of make-up tutorials that are usually related to the world of fashion and beauty, whereas history of art often is discussed in institutional or technical contexts. Make-Up Art has the goal of combining, for the very first time, these two topics, that apparently seem to be very distant from one another, but that can actually be a source of new synergies. Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi discusses the masterpieces in art history that inspire the make-up creations by Federica Santovecchi. This content intends to unveil worldwide the intrinsic Italian art and style, to create an actual “face to face” between make-up and history of art, with a touch of humour.

How does Make-Up Art stand out from all the other vodcasts?VIoggers usually like to work individually to establish their role as entertainers, often by focusing on a specific single subject matter. This is not the case of Make-Up Art: Chiara and Federica interact with one another to deliver a multidisciplinary content, by combining their two great passions: art and make-up. This female duo, through girl power and self-irony, wants to inform, entertain and inspire creativity within its followers.

Make-Up Art dates back to a serendipitous encounter in New York, between Chiara and Federica who met after ages they had lost touch. Chiara was in town hosting a television show on movies, Arise on Screen, and exhibiting her paintings in Manhattan. Federica instead was taking a year off in the Big Apple, to attend the Fashion Make-Up Artistry course at MUD School and enhance her professional experience internationally.

The two of them met one evening in the Village and that was when their New York adventures began, through art openings, drawbridges, Oscar celebrations (for the Best Foreign film awarded to Sorrentino) and of course many make-up sessions, where Chiara would be Federica’s model. Both their professional destinies brought them back to Italy and, when they met again in their home country, they decided to put into practice their stars and stripes experience, through their Italian touch and all the beauty that the boot-shaped land Chiara likes to define herself as a storyteller, since she works as film critic, screenwriter, filmmaker, visual artist, reporter and columnist for American, British and Italian outlets.

As a journalist she is a member of the Italian Association of Journalists and the Foreign Press Association in New York. The paintings she makes are called Material Puns, since they combine mixed media with wordplay, with references to the Dada movement, ready-made and conceptual art. She is currently a Professor at Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan for the course on Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts.

Federica comes from the world of Marketing and Advertising where she started working immediately after she took her degree in Economics at the University of Bologna and her Masters in Marketing and Business Communication in Milan. She developed her skills in a communication agency and then in the telecommunication company Vodafone Group, where she developed her interest in multicultural and international contexts, that triggered her to take a year off around the globe, to cultivate her make-up passion, by attending a Make-Up Artistry course in NYC. Currently she works as a consultant in the field of Marketing and Communication.

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Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi writes for King’s Road Magazine, British Foreign Press Association, Filmagazine (Italy), Shockya, PMc Magazine. Chiara is a member of the Women Film Critics Circle.

HE SAID, SHE SAID....Female Survival In A Man's World

                 A MACHO CRITIC FREE ZONE


In The Name Of My Daughter: Catherine Deneuve's Determined Woman As Sign Of The Times

By Gerald Wright

No matter what perception the audience may take, the vulnerability and emotional exploration of her soul is examined.  This will spark the audience's attention, whether it be a man or woman, that she was and still is, a powerful and determined woman fighting for what is right...'


Gerald Wright
Film Showcase


Growing Up And Other Lies: Stunted Emotional Growth Among Young Men And This Movie

By Kaneisha Montague

Darren Grodsky and Danny Jacob's Growing Up and Other Lies surrounds four friends in the city of New York, post-college, on a nostalgic walk. In the hopes of revisiting the boyhood of their friendship.

Jake, Josh Lawson, is a starving artist who has succumbed to the pressures of pursuing his dream. And has decided to settle back home to help his father and reclaim an easier life.

Co-starring Adam Brody, Wyatt Cenac and Danny Jacobs, the film with its nostalgic walk attempts to remind their mentally drained friend of why he should continue to pursue his dream of being an artist. Which soon points to holes in their friendship, and situations that prove each friend plays a pivotal role enabling the others in transitioning from boys to men in this comedic narrative.

Not only does the nostalgic walk bring attention to these friends having difficulty with the transition to manhood. But the many scenes as well, with attention to childhood that seems to obviously parallel the childish behavior of the friends.

Amongst these obvious hints, 2/3rds of the film is spent on attempting to make this friendship between the four boys believable. The three boys constantly play 'Sophie's Choice,' pointing to their immaturity and inability to put childish games and encounters behind them in order to move forward.

This game randomly continues throughout the majority of the film, but is not given any kind of purpose until a dinner at the house of Jake's ex, Tabitha. She questions the walk that the boys are undergoing. She questions what it takes for the transition of boys to men to take place.

Gender constructs are brought into the film, adding a sense of deeper purpose. Prior to this, the scenes seem to drag along without a sense of cohesion. The table conversation at the dinner seemed to be the arc of the story, but it may come a little too late for the audience. The final quarter of the movie is filled with interrelationship challenges. Their entire friendship is tested.

At this point, the audience should already be convinced that the destruction of this 4-way friendship would be heartbreaking for both us and the characters. But the chemistry of the relationships presented before this point, did not translate well enough on screen for us to see these concluding scenes as ones that pull on our emotional  strings.

Growing Up and  Other Lies is a coming of age film coupled with interrelationship growth and change, that simply lacks the necessary chemistry between actors for the plot to translate smoothly.

Kaneisha Montague is a film producer in Atlanta. She is a member of The Women Film Critics Circle.


Fifty Shades Of Grey Review: Nude, Un-Plucked And Un-Waxed Cruel Manipulation On Screen

By Monica Castillo

'...Johnson holds onto Anastasia’s bubbly energy and plays with the power dynamics of her character’s troubled relationship. Her body language shifts from shy and insecure to ashamed of her dirty deeds to tapping into her “inner goddess” and confidently rocking her normal-looking body. Johnson is not made up to look like a porn star: we see hair on her legs, untrimmed pubic hair and wearing very little makeup for most of the movie. The audible gasps in my audience over her first nude scene were a sign of how little we see un-plucked and un-waxed women engaging in and enjoying sex.

Unfortunately, Mr. Grey’s Jamie Dornan does not equally rise to the occasion. With a special clause to shade his privates from the camera, Dornan never seems to be at ease with the explicit nature of the movie. He doesn’t relish his character’s highs and lows, leaving the audience to beg for more acting chops. Dornan wears the suit well but sometimes disappears into its folds on the way to becoming America’s next top sex symbol. His distanced energy leaves the bulk of the chemistry to be sparked by Johnson’s ingĂ©nue. It's just a tad unsatisfying to watch as he cruelly manipulates her for little to no reward...'

Continue To Read Review Here

Monica Castillo is the Entertainment Reporter for International Business Times. She is a member of The Women Film Critics Circle.

So Yun Um Does Sundance 2015

YO! I am back full throttle with my Sundance vlog and this is a real good one! I had the pleasure of going to my first ever Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah and it was everything I had expected and more. The combination of the freezing cold, sleepless nights, and lack of warm food really made me feel like I was a wild chicken running around with my head cut off but it was all part of the great experience! I did not go to as many swanky parties but you bet your ass that I got to watch tons of mind-blowing, forward-thinking, and super duper fresh films! I cannot wait for all these films to come out so you can just gorge on the next level of beauty and innovativeness these films have to offer! And in tribute to Sean Baker's Tangerine which was wholly shot on the iPhone 5s (GASP!), I decided to shoot my entire vlog on my iPhone! So LEGGO!

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So Yun Um writes for and Crome Yellow. She is a member of The Women Film Critics Circle