The Very Best of Film/TV

Pariah, Albert Nobbs, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Iron Lady, Athena Film Festival

After a successful premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Dee Rees’ first feature-length film Pariah hits the big screen everywhere Dec 28. The film revolves around Alike, a 17-year-old African-American woman who lives with her family in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood. Certain about her sexual orientation, she’s insecure about where she fits in as a young lesbian woman and a poet in search of her true voice. With the sometimes boisterous support of her best friend, out lesbian Laura, Alike strives to get through adolescence with grace, humor and tenacity—sometimes succeeding, sometimes not, but always moving forward in a desperate search for sexual expression.

Glenn Close stars in the gender-bending film Albert Nobbs, opening at a theater near you Jan 27. Adapted from a short story by Irish author George Moore, Nobbs leads a simple life as a butler at a fancy hotel in turn-of-the-last-century Dublin. But this very proper butler is hiding a secret: he is actually a she, maintaining a low profile while she raises enough money to open a tobacco shop. It’s only after she meets Hubert Page (Janet McTeer), a painter who hides a similar secret, that Nobbs realizes she needs to come out of her shell. But after 30 years in men’s clothing, she finds herself trapped in a prison of her own making.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the first film in the three-picture adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s literary blockbuster The Millennium Trilogy opens Dec 21 in theaters nationwide. Harriet Vanger, a young woman, disappears from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her beloved uncle is convinced it was murder and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) and the tattooed and troubled but resourceful computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) to investigate. When the pair link Harriet’s disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from almost 40 years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling history. But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect their interests.

Meryl Streep portrays the woman who changed the face of Britain in The Iron Lady, a surprising and intimate portrait of Margaret Thatcher, the first and only female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. One of the 20th century’s most recognizable and influential women, Thatcher came from a modest background, but smashed through barriers of gender and class to be heard in a male dominated world. Through a series of flashbacks we enter the mind of Thatcher with Britain’s political events in the background. Always a lady of fierce conviction (hence the nickname), it proved to be her major asset and biggest downfall. See it in theaters starting Jan 13.

Barnard College’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies, along with Women and Hollywood, presents the 2nd annual Athena Film Festival, “A Celebration of Women and Leadership,” on Barnard’s campus Feb 9-12. The festival highlights the diversity of women’s leadership in both real life and the fictional world, illuminating the stories of women from across the globe who have had a positive impact in their countries and communities. The festival’s goal is to expand on last year’s robust dialogue about women and leadership—what it takes to excel, collaborate, lead and inspire—and to celebrate the vision, courage and resilience that these leaders share.

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