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Spotlighting women, checking out Czech film

“Woman at War,” a film about environmental activism, opens Coolidge Corner’s Spotlight on Women series.
“Woman at War,” a film about environmental activism, opens Coolidge Corner’s Spotlight on Women series.(Coolidge Corner Theatre)

Over the next few weeks, the Coolidge Corner Theatre throws the spotlight on women, both on the screen and in a series of post-screening discussions that examine social issues connected to the films.

Kicking off Spotlight on Women on May 12 at 2 p.m. is “Woman at War,” director Benedikt Erlingsson’s quirky crowd-pleaser about environmental activism in the Icelandic countryside. Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir stars as Halla, a bicycle-riding choir director and covert eco-terrorist who cuts electricity to the region in protest of a global aluminum conglomerate’s takeover of her ancestral lands with the Icelandic government’s complicity. The screening, which takes place on Mother’s Day, will be followed by a panel talk with members of Mothers Out Front, a national organization working to ensure a livable climate.

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Andrew Bujalski’s 2018 indie hit, “Support the Girls,” about a group of young women working in the low-wage restaurant industry, stars Regina Hall, who won best actress honors from the New York Film Critics Circle, as the dedicated manager and mother figure to employees at Double Whammies, a Hooters-style sports bar. It screens May 15 at 7 p.m., followed by a discussion on wage inequality, and gender and racial discrimination in the workplace.

The 1943 classic musical “Stormy Weather” (May 20, 7 p.m.) features an all-black cast that includes Lena Horne, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Cab Calloway, and Fats Waller in a romance that’s basically a vehicle for the film’s dazzling, sophisticated song-and-dance set pieces. These include legendary tap dancers Fayard and Harold Nicholas’s show-stopping finale and Horne’s memorable rendition of Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler’s title song, which would become her signature number. Jenny Lumet, the award-winning screenwriter of “Rachel Getting Married” and the daughter of filmmaker Sidney Lumet and Horne’s daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley, will join Globe columnist Renée Graham for a post-screening conversation.

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Go to www.coolidge.org.

Celebrating Czech cinema

Launched in 2012, Czech That Film, an annual festival of recent Czech films, makes its way here for the first time, courtesy of Belmont World Film. The West Newton Cinema hosts the festival, billed as the largest Czech cultural event in the United States, May 19 and 20, with a special guest appearance by director Jan Hrebejk. One of the most prolific contemporary Czech filmmakers, Hrebejk is best known for his international hit “Divided We Fall” (2000), which was nominated for a best foreign language Oscar.

Hrebejk will participate in discussions after each screening of the films in his “Garden Store Trilogy,” three features from 2017 that all take place in the years between the start of World War II and the aftermath, during the Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia and beyond. The first film in the trilogy, “Family Friend” (May 19, 2 p.m.), follows three young women and two children as they await the return of their imprisoned husbands and fathers during the Nazi occupation.

The tragicomedy “Deserter” (May 19, 7:30 p.m.) is about a survivor of Nazi imprisonment, Otto, who opens an upscale hair salon in the center of Prague, employing his wife and her sisters, just as the communists are rising to power. When the state takes over Otto’s salon, Otto must decide whether to go into hiding or risk being killed.

“Suitor” (May 20, 7:30 p.m.), a romantic dramedy set in late 1950s Prague, examines family relationships scarred by the war and dictatorship and the divide between the prewar and postwar generations.

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Go to www.belmontworldfilm.org.


Loren King can be reached at loren.king@comcast.net.