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    Celebrating women who overcome adversity and challenge the status quo

    In honor of the Roxbury International Film Festival’s 20th anniversary season, the festival and the Brattle Theatre team up to co-present In Our View: Films by African American Women. Running Dec. 8-14, the series kicks off with Ava DuVernay’s “Selma” (2014), which recounts how Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) organized the epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., in 1965.

    A Gina Prince-Bythewood double-feature screens on Dec. 9. “Love & Basketball” (2000) is about childhood sweethearts (Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan) who both yearn to play pro hoops; “Beyond the Lights” (2014) traces the romantic and professional struggles of a rising pop star (Gugu Mbatha-Raw).

    Two landmark films screen on Dec 10. Kathleen Collins’s “Losing Ground” (1982), touted as the first feature-length drama from a female African-American director, stars Seret Scott as a philosophy professor faced with personal and professional crises during a fateful summer. “Daughters of the Dust” (1991), Julie Dash’s lyrical portrait of a multi-generational family in the Gullah community on the Sea Islands off South Carolina at the dawn of the 20th century, inspired the historical visuals in Beyoncé’s “Lemonade.”


    With Dee Rees earning critical raves for “Mudbound” this year, audiences may want to revisit her 2011 breakout, “Pariah” (Dec. 11), about an African-American lesbian teenager (Adepero Oduye) struggling to come to terms with her sexuality and troubled family life. A rare screening of Kasi Lemmons’s “The Caveman’s Valentine” (2001), a neo-noir with Samuel L. Jackson as a homeless and schizophrenic former pianist who undertakes a murder investigation, screens on Dec. 12 with Lemmons’s “Talk to Me” (2007), starring Don Cheadle as the real-life “Petey” Greene, an ex-con who became a popular Washington, D.C., talk-show host.

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    Victoria Mahoney’s 2011 debut “Yelling to the Sky” (Dec. 13) stars Zoë Kravitz as 17-year-old Sweetness O’Hara, whose family falls apart, leaving her to fend for herself in a neighborhood where survival is uncertain. Also scheduled tentatively for Dec. 13 (check to confirm) is DuVernay’s directorial debut “I Will Follow” (2010) about a woman (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) at a crossroads after the death of her aunt.

    The series closes Dec. 14 with the Boston-shot “Lift” (2001), directed by DeMane Davis and Khari Streeter and starring Kerry Washington as a professional shoplifter trying to escape her dysfunctional family.

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    Art and politics

    Director Petra Volpe will be on hand for a post-screening discussion about her new film “The Divine Order” on Friday at 7 p.m at the Landmark Kendall Square Cinema. The Boston-area premiere benefits the Women’s Suffrage Celebration Coalition of Massachusetts Inc., which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote. “The Divine Order,” Switzerland’s entry for the best foreign-language film Oscar and winner of the audience award at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, is set in Switzerland in 1971. Nora (Marie Leuenberger), a young housewife and mother living in a small country town, begins to campaign publicly for women’s right to vote, sending her life into upheaval.

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    Page and screen

    Authors Ben and Tonya Mezrich will read from their new children’s book, “Charlie Numbers and the Man in the Moon,” prior to a screening of “Muppets From Space” (1999) on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. The event is part of “Science on Screen Jr.,” a series aimed at children ages 5 to 10 and the pint-size version of the Coolidge’s popular Science on Screen program.

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    Loren King can be reached at