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Monday, Dec. 30, 2013

Home Movies/Out on Digital: Dec. 30

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 Women Without Men

The debut feature film by Iranian expatriate visual artist Shirin Neshat concerns four women struggling for autonomy against violent patriarchy, sexual exploitation and male condescension. But this beautifully composed drama, set against the 1953 CIA-backed coup against Iran’s democratic government, concerns many things and plays out on multiple levels of imagination. The political dimension is important historically: the 1953 coup cemented the Shah’s dictatorship and his overthrow led to the repressive Islamic regime that followed.

Inch’Allah

Chloé is a Canadian physician in a Palestinian clinic, crossing each day through military checkpoints and confronting desperation, anger and squalor. Inch’Allah is an empathetic, human-scale dramatization of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with its unending cycle of push and pushback, shootings and house searches, bombings and round-ups. Although Chloé’s best friend is an Israeli soldier, she is drawn into sympathy with the Palestinians at her clinic but finds that, in the end, she remains a foreigner.

Thérèse

A shadow of doubt darkens Audrey Tautou’s face early on in Thérèse, director Claude Miller’s adaptation of François Mauriac’s novel. Set in 1920s provincial France, the story concerns an aristocratic woman’s disenchantment with the narrowness of her life—a disaffection that turns increasingly destructive. Along with gorgeous chateau settings, Thérèse affords an acute, disturbing and superbly acted depiction of malaise at the top of French society. It was the veteran director’s final film.