For too long in movies, as in life, space exploration was portrayed as the kingdom of children – brave men with lantern jaws who soared toward the last frontier while their wives waited and worried on dry land. A recent series of movies and television series have restored the balance, placing women at the center of their stargazing narratives, few more poignant than Next (Multiple Platforms), a gorgeous astronaut character study by French director Alice Winocour that casts Eva Green the role of her career.
Next landed a UK film premiere in July, but amid pandemic uncertainty never found the audience it deserved. Now, VOD it should serve as a reintroduction to a film that combines the compelling activity of a space station with a straightforward feminist message. Green plays Sarah, an ambitious astronaut and single mother shocked to receive a last-minute invitation to join a European Space Agency mission to Mars – the realization of a lifelong dream, but one that takes a year apart from her son of eight. daughter Stella (the lovely Zélie Boulant).
It’s a harsh and heartbreaking conflict, played by Green with raw and vulnerable integrity as Sarah fights not only her daughter’s resentment, but also the cold condescension of men on her mission. Winocour did not write it as a colorless real-life wonder woman. Mixing ingrained anxieties with wanderlust for cosmic travel, Next recognizes that feminist heroines can make human mistakes and reveal weaknesses on the path to greatness.
It’s a far cry from the less evolved space jump of Roger Vadim’s rampant. Barbarella since 1968 (free to stream on Amazon prime), in which Jane Fonda was nothing more than a good athlete as a representative of the United Earth government dressed in a sparkling bathing suit sent to save humanity. It took Sigourney Weaver another decade to give women in space a somewhat steeper image, thanks to the enduring toughness of her fearsome officer Ripley. His fierce exploits in Alien Y Aliens are both on Google Play; how much more you want to delve into the declining franchise is your decision.
In the 1990s, the stoically intelligent Cape Canaveral wormhole scientist Jodie Foster stood firm on the clever, still underrated Contact (free on Prime). But it is since 2013 exciting, loaded with Oscar Gravity (Prime again), in which Sandra Bullock had to fight alone to return to Earth from the afterlife, that women have truly taken over the genre. In the mysterious, ingenious Arrival (on iTunes) from 2016, Amy Adams’ alien performer didn’t have to go into space to have an otherworldly experience. Similarly, NASA’s female black math from the same year’s entertaining entertaining crowd Hidden figures (Microsoft Store) did not have to leave Earth to open roads.
Last year Natalie Portman crashed and burned like an astronaut afflicted with PTSD in the disappointing Lucy in the sky (in Sky Go). Putting on a spacesuit for the second time, after Jon Amiel’s cheese party in 2003 The nucleus, Hilary Swank has done better with her slippery and soapy Netflix series Far, which follows an arc similar to Next much brighter.
European filmmakers continue to push women into space with a little more daring. Starting in 2018, see the nameless Mimarobe, an artificial intelligence enabler who was given shifting powers of deception on a luxury spaceship doomed to Mars, in the fascinating Swedish eco-sci-fi parable. Aniara (in the BFI Player), or the deranged and sexually exploitative scientist Juliette Binoche in Claire Denis’s wild black hole odyssey High life (at Mubi Library). Women astronauts no longer have to be role models.
Also new in streaming and DVD
Briefly notable as the first major release to hit theaters after the pandemic’s initial lockdown, this ridiculous psychopathic thriller is now available to watch at home, for anyone who likes gambling risk-free. With Russell Crowe playing him to the hilt as a road rager turned rogue, it’s a cheeky B-movie scream.
How to build a girl
(Lionsgate, 15 years old)
Originally released only on Amazon Prime, Coky Giedroyc’s full of life film from Caitlin Moran’s best-selling semi-memory is now available on a wider range of platforms. It’s a pretty lighthearted distraction, backed up by Beanie Feldstein’s performance in the game as the writer’s teenage alter ego, but her take on feminism and the exploitation of adolescence is a bit confusing.
The title sounds bleak, but Brazilian director Daniel Nolasco’s delightfully horny debut surpasses that. A dreamy, sunburned gay fantasy that follows the erotic entanglements of a middle-aged factory worker with a couple of co-workers, it’s a kind of romantic comedy reconceived by Tom of Finland, full of wit and neon beauty in equal measure.
High end wedding
Director Wayne Blair had a huge Australian hit a few years ago with Sapphires, and targets an equally upbeat audience in this delightful but ramshackle culture-shock romantic comedy, in which an Australian indigenous lawyer and her white British fiancé must negotiate various family crises on the way to their big day.
Festival of Representation Frames
Reservations are open for the online edition of ICA’s annual experimental film exhibition, which begins Friday. Highlights include The earth is blue like an orange, a magnificent documentary in which a Ukrainian family uses cinema to survive the war in Donbass, and Endless night, a timid atmospheric reflection on Franco’s Spain.
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