If I had to sum up this year’s Chicago International Film Festival with one word, it would definitely be “underwhelming.” This year’s programming left much to be desired, especially in its virtual programming, which was scaled back considerably from previous years. This, in my opinion, is decidedly a step backwards.
The Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival recently completed its 2021 edition in its first-ever hybrid format with theatrical and virtual screening options. This flexible approach made it possible for viewers to screen over 90% of its more than 400 feature films and shorts in the traditional manner at multiple locations or from the comfort of their own homes.
The festival’s 57th edition had its share of fine offerings, but there were also a number of pictures that could have been better. Below are my summary reviews of the releases I watched. Full reviews of select films are to come, where noted.
With the 2021 American Film Institute Documentary Film Festival (AFI DOCS) now in the books, it’s time to sum up the 12 offerings that I screened, some of which will be released in theaters, online and on television on the very near future. A number of excellent films are coming out of this festival, and I encourage viewers to catch them when available.
Is it possible that something can be harnessed for good, on the one hand, and for just the opposite, on the other? If we put our mind to it, we can problem think of many examples. Fire, for instance, can be used for cooking and heating when employed judiciously. At the same time, though, it could also be used as a tool for arsonists. Similarly, there are countless instances where knives can serve useful purposes and many others where they can wreak havoc. Some would contend that nuclear energy can be both beneficial and destructive, depending on how it’s used. And on and on it goes for numerous other devices, substances and technologies.
“Becoming Astrid” (“Unga Astrid”) (2018). Cast: Alba August, Trine Dyrholm, Henrik Rafaelsen, Magnus Krepper, Maria Bonnevie, Björn Gustafsson, Marius Damslev, Mira Mitchell, Maria Fahl Vikander, Maria Alm Norell, Willy Ramnek Petri. Director: Pernille Fischer Christensen. Screenplay: Kim Fupz Aakeson and Pernille Fischer Christensen. Web site. Trailer. As we grow up, we lay the foundations for our lives and for who we end up becoming. Some of us may feel that this results from a series of happenstance events, random occurrences that seemingly materialize with no rhyme nor reason. Yet, if we look closely enough, there’s a certain order to things, with elements that unfold from identifiable aspects of our upbringing, many of which, in hindsight, often appear purposeful, as if they [...]