Pick of the week: “Timbuktu“ (Amazon Prime) — My full review is here. A small town in Mali chafes under the ironclad rule of fundamentalist Muslims in this Oscar-nominated drama which makes both oppressors and oppressed into three-dimensional human beings.
“Jauja” (Netflix) — My full review is here. Viggo Mortensen plays a Danish officer searching for his missing daughter in 19th-century Patagonia in this trippy existential historical drama, featuring near-wordless stretches and a very surprising post-modern twist.
“Miss Representation“ (Netflix) — My full review is here. This illuminating documentary looks at how society and pop culture’s portrayal of women and girls have subtly (and not so subtly) shaped gender roles. Filmmaker Jennifer Newsom made a companion film this year looking at how men and boys are portrayed in the media as well.
“La Sapienza“ (Netflix) — My full review is here. A creatively blocked architect reluctantly agrees to take a protege to Rome to study architecture, and finds himself rejuvenated by the city and good conversation in this austere but lovely drama.
“Jiro Dreams of Sushi” (Netflix) — My full review is here. Before he created the mouthwatering Netflix series “Chef’s Table,” David Gelb made this wonderful documentary about a famed Tokyo sushi chef, his unwavering commitment to perfection, and the two sons who must choose whether to follow in his footsteps.