As the summer begins there will be plenty of films filled with big names and big explosions. Sometimes big is better, but sometimes it is the smaller things that carry the biggest punch. That is why I love to go to film festivals.
I found another festival gem in I Declare War. Canadian films often have a difficult time breaking into the U.S. market. I hope this one makes it.
Those who think they know Hallström’s style might be in for a surprise. In his first Swedish film in nearly thirty years, he has brought us a dark and violent story of a mass murder. The lone survivor of a massacred family is comatose. In the quest for clues, the investigating officer tries to convince a disgraced doctor to hypnotize the boy.
“Particles of light mad diss the space-time continuum;” “Wars have been started by particles of light;” “Bad things happen to good particles of light;” and “Particles of light murder people you grow fond of.”
Nothing really called to me as I looked at the films for the day, so this was a complete surprise. It is the story of two grieving people who meet at a bereavement group. This is the kind of film that I go to festivals to discover.
The Camino is a 500 mile pilgrimage across northern Spain that has been walked by pilgrims for 1,200 years. Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago is a documentary that focuses on six pilgrims as they make the journey.
In the evening I picked a psychological thriller for viewing: The Girl on the Train. Is there a difference between fiction and non-fiction? Which would you prefer: a great love or a great story?
It’s not Cannes or Tribeca, but the River Bend Film Festival will add a bit of culture to northern Indiana this week as independent filmmakers get together to show their stuff. South Bend is not exactly the film capital of the world, or even Indiana, but they make an effort. Here is an interview with first-time film producer Danielle Minnes.
This is the latest film from Cristian Mungiu, one of the Romanian New Wave filmmakers. Romanian New Wave often seems as though it is seeking to be a kind of therapy for the trauma of recent Romanian history.
My favorite scene from the production is when Caesar is eulogized by Marc Antony. It takes place in a prison courtyard with prisoners all around at barred windows becoming more boisterous as Marc Antony turns the crowd against Brutus and the other conspirators. I wouldn’t have wanted to be the actor playing Brutus going back inside.
On the Road is a kind of pilgrimage to self. Such pilgrimages characterize mid-20th Century America. The Beats, and later other counter-cultural groups, sought a new kind of freedom—freedom from convention.
The temptation when making a film about the Communist period is to see it as either the good old days or the bad old days. Barbara manages to show that, as with most periods of history, it was both.
The systemic failure in the case of the Central Park Five not only damages those wrongfully accused and incarcerated, it damages us all. It calls into question our ability to trust in a system that can get something so wrong—and then not even own up to its mistakes. And lest we forget, we are all part of that system.
Well, you probably can figure out that Pat and Tiffany will end up together, but how that happens through the convergence of dancing and football is what makes the film so enjoyable.
For my last day at AFI Fest, I went for a couple movies from the Special Screenings section. Special screenings usually are films that will be out in theaters fairly soon. Both of these films had casts that will attract audiences.
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