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When Patricia Walden initiated her lifelong commitment to yoga, she remembers, it was 1974, and all the instructors were men. But still, she felt a “need for the female voice,” and so she embarked on her own path, integrating that voice into the educational and spiritual structures already in place. Her story is one of many assembled in Yogawoman, opening this month in New York and several cities in California. Yoga has boomed recently, becoming a multibillion dollar industry worldwide, with 20 million people practicing in the US alone. Some 85% of these are women, and the film tells their stories as episodes, with subjects testifying to their individual experiences of improved health and education, as well as their sense of connectedness, their appreciation of new energies found in traditional rituals.
“What would you say to the many local residents here, who feel that you’ve run roughshod over planning legislation and environmental issues simply because you’ve got lots of money?” Hand it to Anthony Baxter, who makes the most of his limited moments with Donald Trump: he has no fear of the Donald. He asks his queston—and gets no good answer—on the occasion of Trump’s visit to Scotland’s Aberdeenshire coast, where, he declares, he means to construct “the world’s greatest golf course” here, in the “birthplace of golf”. As Trump speaks, the wind blows his hair.
“I’m leaving today,” Rita (Lisa Fávero) says, standing for the last time at the table where she and her host, Madalena (Sônia Guedes), have been making bread each morning. It’s early morning in the tiny Brazilian town of Jutuomba, and the sun isn’t up yet. “But you can’t leave,” Madalena says, turning toward Rita, her lantern providing the scantest of light on the younger woman’s face and white t-shirt, which is adorned with the cheesiest of cartoon hedgehogs. “I can’t keep pretending I belong somewhere else,” Rita doesn’t quite explain. Madalena sums up: “And where do you belong?”
The question is key in Found Memories, Screening 22 through 28 June at the San Francisco Film Society Cinema. Júlia Murat’s lovely film looks at how the rhythms of daily life form not only patterns and routines, but also ways to see. When Rita, a photographer, arrives in town near film’s start, she’s enchanted by what she sees, the dirt paths and simple building structures, the mountains and the grassy fields. Madalena at this point sees something else, her routine so fixed that she can’t imagine a change. Each morning, she makes her bread, walks along railroad tracks to the coffee-making shop owned by Antônio (Luiz Serra), where they share breakfast. Rita’s arrival alters Madalena’s day and her view, and vice versa.
“I’m looking for a specific type of girl for the Japanese market,” says Ashley, scouting girl models for the Japanese agency, Switch. She’s explaining her work for David Redmon and Ashley Sabin’s extraordinary documentary, Girl Model. “The girls need to be a certain height, not too tall, cute, young. Young is very important.” Ashley turns her own camera on a few girls as they hold up handwritten papers noting their names and birthplaces. She shoots them with their hair up and down, from the side and from the front. The session—vaguely awkward, tense and brief—introduces a disturbing phenomenon. As much as these slender, big-eyed children (and their parents) hope that the promises of agents will come true, that modeling will help them escape their impoverished small towns, they are, in fact, headed into a business designed to exploit them—in any number of ways.