New York—based filmmaker Jennifer Fox has many issues as a modern woman in her early 40s: self-imposed freedom, societally imposed roles, aging, motherhood, falling for unavailable men, fear of marriage, desire versus love, and growing up in a complicated family. Thankfully, the friends willing to hash these topics out with her outnumber the concerns rattling around in her consciousness. In the six-part Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman (airing on Sundance Channel over three consecutive Mondays), Fox lights across the globe to share herself, her camera (literally, by passing it back and forth) and her questions about the place of women in today’s world with similarly chromosomed colleagues and confidantes. These include a single mother in Soweto, an Indian civil rights lawyer, an Egyptian journalist, a sex workers’ advocate in Cambodia, a Somali exile in England. Their conversations make for a roller-coaster ride of personal storytelling. Fox’s navel-gazing may not be for everybody, but by layering her private soap opera (two lovers, one married and exciting in South Africa, the other single and emotionally reticent in Switzerland) within an expansive meditative probe into the conditions of women everywhere — including custody battles, illness, trafficking, sexual morality, abuse and oppressive traditions — she achieves something artistically sublime and yet emotionally generous. Flying may be about the unforeseen boundaries of choice, but it most movingly depicts the healing power of open exchanges. There’s even something spatially revolutionary in Fox’s country-hopping gabfest, in that for once we get a vision of our more-navigable-than-ever Earth through the viewpoints of its struggling, make-do women rather than its predictably conquering men.
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