CineWomen: Cate Shortland gives ‘Black Widow’ the Bond movie she deserves

Plus “Lore” by Cate Shortland, “Enemies of the State” by Sonia Kennebeck, and the films of Akosua Adoma Owusu

Photo credit: Annlee Ellingson
Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh are both “Black Widow.” Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios

‘Black Widow’ (🕷️)

After eleven years, seven movies, and one very dramatic death, one of the core Avengers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is finally getting her own film — one that strikes at the heart of her history, attempts to correct slights gross and amusing, and sets up a next-gen Black Widow to carry on her legacy.

Saskia Rosendahl (center) stars as a teen navigating a troubling family legacy in Cate Shortland’s “Lore.” Photo courtesy of Music Box Films

‘Lore’

In the waning days of World War II, an SS officer and his wife disappear from the country house to which they’ve fled, leaving their five children to make their way hundreds of miles north to their grandmother’s. Led by the titular eldest sister (Saskia Rosendahl), the Dresslers, including an infant, negotiate an idyllic countryside now crawling with refugees like themselves, Allied borders dividing up the Motherland, and their own prejudices in Cate Shortland’s German-language Lore.

Leann and Paul DeHart serve as unreliable entrées into “Enemies of the State.” Photo courtesy of IFC Films

‘Enemies of the State’

Like the true-crime podcasts and television series that have exploded in popularity over the past several years, Sonia Kennebeck’s documentary thriller Enemies of the State parcels out her discoveries in a manner that manipulates viewers’ sentiments about the situation. In this case, what’s initially presented as a freedom-of-speech crusade a la whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning is gradually revealed to be a tangled web of likely clinical paranoia, child pornography allegations, and extreme helicopter parenting.

In “Me Broni Ba,” Ghanian women practice braiding on white baby dolls. Photo credit: Akosua Adoma Owusu

Short films by Akosua Adoma Owusu

Part critical theory, part performance art, the films of Ghanian-American filmmaker Akosua Adoma Owusu straddle geography and culture, exploring what she describes as “triple consciousness” — expanding on the notion of “double consciousness” originated by W.E.B. Du Bois to explore what it means to be a Black woman negotiating the countries of both her birth (the United States) and her heritage (Ghana) and where those myriad identities collide.

Writer. Reader. Film critic. Moviegoer. Traveler. Hiker. Cook. Besotted aunt to Logan, Titus, and Bodhi. Based in Los Angeles. Socials: @annleee (she/her/hers)

Writer. Reader. Film critic. Moviegoer. Traveler. Hiker. Cook. Besotted aunt to Logan, Titus, and Bodhi. Based in Los Angeles. Socials: @annleee (she/her/hers)