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September 2021 Picks

Published October 5, 2021



The Mad Women's Ball

(Streaming release: 17 September 2021, Amazon Prime)

IN this Amazon Studios-distributed French period thriller directed by actress Mélanie Laurent from Laurent's and Christophe Deslandes' screenplay based on Victoria Mas' eponymous novel, the ability to see the dead by the story's central character, Eugéne Cléry (played by Lou de Laâge), comes on like a loud sneer at the arrogance or bigotry of Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot's (and his time's) sexist science concerning hysteria. And although Charcot's notable "victim," Louise Augustine Gleizes, is vaguely represented here by the character Louise Plessis (Lomane de Dietrich) as a symbol of old science's choices in ignoring the possibilities of trauma (from sexual assaults, for example), she could also be in the head nurse character Geneviève Gleizes (Laurent) as a stand-in for real sane characters from that dangerous time before formal systems theory came into the picture. What's being manifested here is that era's braggadocio failures to factor in all the unknowns, almost as if the atheist science of that period created its own religion as closed-minded as today's Christian Right-affiliated scientists'.


Television film


(Released on Channel 4 [UK] and Amazon Prime: 16 September 2021)

MEANWHILE, in this 2021 television film for Channel 4 UK directed by Marc Munden from an original screenplay by playwright Jack Thorne, knowledgeable and industrious young care-home nurse Sarah (Jodie Comer) is hurled into the unknowns of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic's early onset. In the end, she finds that a conservative country's rule of law can mainly manifest itself as the rule of ignorance.


Television series episode

(Released as an episode of Explained on Netflix: 24 September 2021)

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