Girlfriends is the Pick of the Week

A 1978 modern classic about female friendship and women in the big city tops a new week of interesting releases.
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In popular culture, we've seen great movies and TV shows about female friendships and the ups and downs that obviously inhabit them. There was Sex and the CityThelma and Louise, Gilmore Girls, Booksmart, Girls, and The Golden Girls, among others. But I think they all owe a great deal of gratitude to director Claudia Weill's landmark 1978 classic Girlfriends. It's an unfairly overlooked and incredibly underrated portrait of the often tense conflicts but deep bonds and communication between women.

The film stars Melanie Mayron and Anita Skinner as Susan and Anne, very best friends living togerther in Manhattan on the Upper East Side. Susan is a budding, Jewish photograher who wants to have her own art gallery. She also happens to be highly insecure, and that insecurity is further tested when Anne announces that she's getting married and moving out. Finding herself alone and adrift in life and love, Susan has to learn how to be independent and find her own way to eventual happiness and personal satisfaction. 

It's no surprise to see how this indie masterpiece influenced a entire generation of filmmakers depicting their own stories of the closeness of women and how they try to navigate their lives and intimate relationships in the big city. And thankfully, Criterion has definitely understood its timeless impact with their new release, which comes with a new 2K transfer and many new supplements, such as a new interview with Weill; a new interview with Weill and actors Mayron, Christopher Guest (Eric), and Bob Balaban (Martin); a new interview with Weill and writer/director Joey Soloway (creator of Transparent); Weill and Mayron's appearance on the Canadian talk show City Lights; Joyce at 34, a 1972 short film by Weill and writer/director Joyce Chopra; and Commuters, a 1973 short film by Weill. There are also new essays by critic Molly Haskell and scholar Carol Gilligan. 

If you're looking for something different and refreshing, I 100% recommend adding this warm, sincere, and unsentimental film to your collection. I guarantee that you won't regret it!

Other releases:

Play Misty for Me (Kino): Clint Eastwood directed and starred in this 1971 superior thriller about a radio disc jockey who has a one-night stand with a sexy female fan, but lives to regret it as she becomes increasingly and crazily bsessed with him.

The Beguiled (Kino): Don Siegel directs Eastwood in this offbeat 1971 Civil War thriller about an injured soldier who is rescued and taken to a boarding school. He becomes the object of sexual desire by the entire all-girl staff (including headmaster Geraldline Page) and their pupils. He manipulates the situation for his own self-gratification, but when he refuses their advances, they make it very difficult for him to leave.

Brides of Dracula (Scream Factory): Terence Fisher directs this early effort in the Hammer canon about a young teacher on her way to Transylvania who helps a young man escape from shackles that his mother placed on him. She realizes why, especially after she finding out that he is vampire. Making matters worse, he goes after many of the women at the school. Thankfully, Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) is on his way.

Death Laid an Egg: A love triangle develops between a woman, her husband, and a young, beautiful secretary who run a high-tech chicken farm. As jealousy becomes more apparent, so does the husband's murderous habits.

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