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‘LEONA’ Review AJFF: A Jewish girl defies her family’s rules of attraction

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In an era where women are fiercely denouncing gender norms, “LEONA” is a feminist’s cinematic dream. The film examines the evolution of a young woman’s self-discovery amidst her family’s traditional Jewish beliefs on love.

In Spanish director Isaac Cherem’s “Leona,” the brilliant Naian González Norvind plays Ariela, a young Jewish woman from Mexico City who finds herself torn between her strict family’s beliefs and loving a non-Jewish man, Ivan (Christian Vazquez). For Ivan, relationships have no bounds in terms of race and background. For her, however, her family’s opposing views on intermarriage quickly throw a wrench in the relationship.

The narrative harboring over González’s character is identifiable for many women trying to figuring who they are in their mid-twenties. Throughout the film, Ariela finds herself struggling to make life-altering choices regarding her career and love life at the expense of her family’s expedited demands.

A street artist is no profession for a Jewish woman in the eyes of her community and marrying or dating a non-Jew is simply an abomination but to Ariela that was her life and what kept her going. Scene after scene, the 25-year-old rebelled against what was expected of her. And while life may have seemed to be dismantling, her confidence as a woman was strangely falling into place.

Ultimately her non-Jewish boyfriend called it quits after she refused to introduce him to her racist family as if she had the option. As for the tall , Jewish specimen her cousins forced on her after the fact she made the decision to leave him also.

The film does end with a fairytale ending, just not what you’d expect. Let’s just say Ariela wins in the end. We won’t give too many spoilers away but it’s definitely a must-watch.

The review serves as part of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. For more information, click here.

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Woody Allen self-releases ‘A Rainy Day in New York’ Trailer starring Selena Gomez and Timothée Chalamet

The first trailer for “A Rainy Day In New York” has finally be released, by Woody Allen himself. The film, which stars Selena Gomez, Timothée Chalamet, Elle Fanning, Jude Law and Diego Luna, looks to center around “two young people who arrive in New York for a weekend where they are met with bad weather and a series of adventures.”

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Filmmakers protest anti-abortion laws at Cannes Film festival

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Arthur Mola/Invision/AP

Cannes Film festival has kicked off with an interesting start! On Saturday, moments before the premiere of a controversial Argentine documentary, centering abortion rights, dozens of women used the red carpet as a meeting place to protest against the issue.

The group of women reportedly included filmmakers who wore green ahead of the premiere of Argentine director Juan Solanas’ “Let It Be Law.”

Argentina’s Senate rejected a bill to legalize abortion last year. A modified version of the bill will be presented to Congress on May 28, per AP.

On Tuesday, the Alabama Senate passed a bill that would outlaw almost all abortions in the state, including those involving pregnancies from rape or incest.

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Octavia Spencer discusses role in ‘Ma’ at film’s L.A. Premiere

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Octavia Spencer hit the red carpet at the premiere of her new horror movie “Ma” on Thursday night (May 16) at the Regal LA Live in downtown Los Angeles.

“I am really excited! It’s a labor of love,” she said during a brief interview where she discussed her role as Sue Ann.

Spencer plays a loner who keeps to herself in her quiet Ohio town. She described the character as “very different” but still thrilled to have the opportunity to take on the character.

“I like not being contained but keeping her grounded in every way possible,” she continued. “We’ve all been teenagers at some point in our lives and I think that’s what’s so relatable about Sue Ann. We’ve all been on the outside looking in at some point, especially as kids.”

The Oscar-winning actress was joined at the event by her co-stars Allison Janney, Juliette Lewis, Diana Silvers, Corey Fogelmanis, McKaley Miller, Kyanna Simone Simpson, Gianni Paolo, Dante Brown, and Tanyell Waivers.

Director Tate Taylor made an appearance as well. Taylor previously worked with Spencer on the award-winning motion picture “The Help” in 2011.

“Ma” lands in theaters May 31.

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