Joanna Arnow, As Her Feature Debuts, Knocks Oft-Used Words “Describing Films Women Make About Sexuality” – Specialty Preview

There’s a nice trio of specialty films to highlight this weekend from Joanna Arnow, Uberto Pasolini and Caitlin Cronenberg’s feature directorial debut.

Joanna Arnow’s micro-budget comedy The Feeling That The Time For Doing Something Has Passed world premiered in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight. It follows a thirtysomething New York woman as time passes in her long-term casual BDSM relationship, low-level corporate job, and quarrelsome Jewish family. Arnow writes, directs and stars. And that’s BDSM, as in bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism.

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The helmer is thrilled to see her feature (after 2017’s i hate myself :), and a handful of well-received shorts) launch a theatrical run, with Magnolia distributing. “That’s how I dream of my movies being seen,” Arnow tells Deadline. “It’s also so important to see comedies (on the big screen) Shared laughter with strangers is quite beautiful and healing in a way.”

The film has strong reviews. Millennial, raw and cringey are words that come up. Asked about that, she says she finds it “sort of reductive and diminishing” — and not all that uncommon for female filmmakers.

“I think there’s a kind of coded language that is perhaps, unintentionally, used sometimes when describing films that women make about sexuality,” she says. “There’s a lot of words like ‘raw,’ and ‘cringe’ … whereas for a male director, instead, ‘raw might be ‘powerful’, or instead of ‘cringy’, it might be ‘outsider art’.”

She’s compared to Lena Dunham (Girls), “a director I quite admire.” But, “it’s often, you know, a ‘We have to compare the women to each other’ kind of situation.” Her work is “trailblazing. But yeah, I imagine she would agree that the comparisons can, you know, be reductive.”

Arnow lives in Brooklyn and works as a cinematographer and editor. She has a few film projects in development she’s been taking around. The Feeling That The Time For Doing Something Has Past co-stars Scott Cohen (Gilmore Girls), Babak Tafti (Billions), Alysia Reiner (Orange is the New Black), and Michael Cyril Creighton (Only Murders In the Building). Executive produced by Sean Baker. It opens at the IFC Center and Film at Lincoln Center (Q&As all weekend) with a limited rollout to follow.

Other limited openings: Uberto Pasolini’s Nowhere Special gets a long-awaited release Stateside from Cohen Media Group. The Full Monty producer and director of Still Life explores key questions of parenthood, children and family starring BAFTA-nominated British actor James Norton (Bob Marley: One Love, Little Women, Happy Valley) in a breakout role. The film — which premiered at Venice in 2020 — is scoring a notable 100% with critics and 99% with audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. See Deadline review.

Norton is a single, working-class father of an adored four-year-old, Michael, BIFA-nominated Daniel Lamont. When John is given only a few months left to live, he starts a search for a new, perfect family for his son. Initially certain of what he is looking for, John gradually abandons his early convictions, overwhelmed by doubts. How can he judge a family from a brief encounter? Does he know his own child well enough to make this choice for him? As he struggles for answers, he accepts the help of a young social worker, opening himself to solutions he would never have considered.

Much of the film’s power of lies in the incredible chemistry of the two lead actors, the man and the boy.

Opening in four theaters in NY and LA, expands to 30 locations in top ten markets next week.

CMG acquire Nowhere Special out of Venice and had to shelve the theatrical release twice, for Covid, and the Hollywood strikes last year.

Pasolini, who is London-based, tells Deadline the idea was sparked by an newspaper article he read about a young father searching for a home for his son. He did months of interviews with adoption agencies, social services, families, and the people who help them face with critical decisions. And, “I put in what I remember about bringing up three little girls,” he tells Deadline.

He’s so glad to finally get it on screens here. “It opened literally in the middle of Covid [in the UK]. And the same with Italy. I think I think these guys had the right idea to wait,” he said of CMG.

IFC Films presents Caitlin Cronenberg’s directorial debut, sci-fi  environmental mystery thriller Humane, in 56 theaters including Alamo Drafthouse Lower Manhattan and Alamo Drafthouse Downtown LA. The film unspools over a single day, months after a global ecological collapse has forced world leaders to take extreme measures to reduce the earth’s population. In a wealthy enclave, a recently retired newsman has invited his grown children to dinner to announce his intentions to enlist in the nation’s new euthanasia program. But the plan goes horribly awry.

Starts Jay Baruchel (This Is The End), Emily Hampshire (Schitt’s Creek), Peter Gallagher (Grace and Frankie), Sebastian Chacon (Emergency), Alanna Bale (Sort Of, Cardinal) and Sirena Gulamgaus (Transplant). Written by Michael Sparaga.

The director, a celebrity portraitist, grew up on the sets of Canada’s most iconic filmmaker – her father David Cronenberg – and started directing with music videos and short films including The Endings (2018) and The Death of David Cronenberg (2021).

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