— Michael O'Sullivan
It’s taken five years for “We Are Many” to get to American audiences, but somehow the timing seems right. Amir Amirani’s stirring documentary revisits the events of Feb. 15, 2003, when nearly 300 million people around the globe took to the streets to protest the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Beginning on Sept. 11, 2001, “We Are Many” reviews the spurious case that George W. Bush and British prime minister Tony Blair made for going to war, tracing a steadily building drumbeat created by official lies, a supine press and a cynical marketing campaign. When the global protests burst forth, it was a moment of power and clarity. Of course, it didn’t make a difference, as observers as wide-ranging as retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, author John le Carré and actor Mark Rylance correctly note. But “We Are Many” argues persuasively that the public engagement of 2003 had a direct effect on the Arab Spring several years later. What’s more, the lesson — that marches are good for the soul but that it takes sustained action and organization to effect real change — couldn’t be more germane at a time when most American citizens are grappling with a combination of impotent rage and hopeless despair. Unrated. Available at virtualavalon.org. Contains brief obscenity and disturbing wartime images. 110 minutes.
— Ann Hornaday
AFI’s all-virtual Latin American Film Festival begins streaming Friday — with Pablo Larraín’s “Ema,” starring Gael García Bernal — and features more than two dozen films through Oct. 7. Available at afisilver.afi.com.
Lena Olin plays the wife of a famous painter with dementia (Bruce Dern) in “The Artist’s Wife.” As he prepares for his final show and his behavior deteriorates, his wife — once a promising painter herself — struggles with the question of staying on the sidelines and supporting her spouse or stepping into the spotlight herself. R. Available at afisilver.afi.com, virtualavalon.org and themiracletheatre.com. Contains strong language, some graphic nudity and brief sexuality. 95 minutes.
Whatever happened to Judd Nelson? You’ll find the Brat Pack veteran playing a small role as a teacher in “Iceland Is Best,” an English-language drama about an Icelandic teenager (Kristin Audur Sophusdottir) from a remote fishing village who dreams of moving to California to write poetry. Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. 90 minutes.
Woody Harrelson narrates “Kiss the Ground,” a documentary about regenerative agriculture, an alternative approach to farming that proponents say has the potential to balance the climate, replenish the water supply and feed the world. TV-G. Available on Netflix. 84 minutes.
Set in a dystopian future in which Earth’s ozone layer has been so badly damaged that it is unsafe for most people to venture outdoors in daylight, the sci-fi thriller “LX 2048” stars James D’Arcy as a contrarian who continues to go to work in a physical office, refusing to take the state-mandated antidepressants prescribed for his fellow citizens’ near-universal mood disorders. Anna Brewster, Delroy Lindo and Gina McKee also star. Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. 103 minutes.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keira Knightley and Jessie Buckley star in “Misbehaviour,” which tells the true story of a group of women who plotted to disrupt the Miss World beauty pageant of 1970 — the year that Jennifer Hosten (played by Mbatha-Raw) became the first Black woman to win. Variety calls the comedy a “straightforward, spirited message movie” and “effervescent and eager to please, even when handling tricky intersectional politics of gender, race and class.” Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. 106 minutes.
The documentary “Myth of a Colorblind France” explores whether the country that has long been a haven for Black people fleeing racism in the United States really is the enlightened refuge it has seemed to be. (The title hints at the position of the filmmaker, Alan Govenar.) Unrated. Available at afisilver.afi.com and cinemaartstheatre.com. 86 minutes.
Laura Gabbert’s food documentary “Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles” looks at a collaboration between the Metropolitan Museum of Art and chef Yotam Ottolenghi to tell of the rise and fall of Versailles through pastry. The film, according to the female-focused film website In Their Own League, shows a “different and more artistic side of the food world in a deeply personal and connective way. For everything that should come off as too artsy and pretentious, [Gabbert] keeps it engaging, personable, and adds a sense of heart that will be touching for any and all foodies.” Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. 75 minutes.
The documentary “Public Trust” looks at conflicts over three parcels of public land and water: Bears Ears National Monument in Utah; Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota; and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Outside calls the film a “call to action.” Unrated. Available on YouTube. 98 minutes.
“Resisterhood” is a documentary examining the continuing repercussions of the 2016 U.S. presidential election from a women’s perspective. Unrated. Available on Amazon Prime Video. 96 minutes.
Kenyan political activist Boniface “Softie” Mwangi runs for office in what Variety calls the “smart, attention-seizing” documentary “Softie.” Unrated. Available at afisilver.afi.com. In English and Kiswahili/Kikuyu with subtitles. 96 minutes.