We all have dreams, and we’d like to see them realized. However, many of us believe they’re unreachable objectives, pie-in-the-sky goals that can be envisioned but never experienced. But must that be the case? Is there no chance of them ever being materialized?
The truth can be hard to face. We may want to deny it, dismiss it or cover it up, but it inevitably comes back to us in all its unblemished fidelity, forcing us to deal with it, no matter how dire the consequences associated with it may be. Attempts at imposing deception may work for a while, but cracks in the foundation of such lies ultimately emerge,
When we’re past what we think of as the top of our game, we may grow despondent, disillusioned and withdrawn, perhaps believing that we’ll never get back what we’ve lost. It can be a frustrating and depressing time, one that leaves us sorely wanting. Can the redemption we seek be attained, or is it really too late?
The Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival recently completed its 2020 edition in its first-ever all-virtual format. With the future of theatrical screenings in limbo due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this alternative approach made it possible for the Festival to go forward, and it worked remarkably well, enabling viewers to screen a variety of films while remaining safe at home. As has been the case with other such events this year, this is a viable approach well worth considering for future programs, even without the threat of a pandemic. It makes it possible to offer the Festival’s films to a wider audience and provides flexible viewing conditions, benefits not necessarily available when presented exclusively in theatrical venues. Because of this [...]
“The 11th Green” (2020). Cast: Campbell Scott, Agnes Bruckner, George Gerdes, Leith M. Burke, Tom Stokes, April Grace, Ian Hart, Currie Graham, David Clennon, Monte Markham, Kathryn Lee Scott, Tom Connelly, Eli Cusick, Imani McNorton, Peter Tingstrom. Archive Footage: Harry S. Truman. Director: Christopher Munch. Screenplay: Christopher Munch. Web site. Trailer. We all know the truth when we see it, don’t we? After all, it’s a fixed, finite concept that’s applicable to all of us, isn’t it? Or is it something more nebulous, a moving target that shifts over time? Moreover, is it something that compliantly falls in line with our observations and beliefs, or is it subject to manipulation as a result of the influence of outside sources? Indeed, [...]
“The New Bauhaus” (2019 production, 2020 release). Cast: Interviews: Olafur Eliasson, Elizabeth Siegel, Joyce Tsai, Robin Schuldenfrei, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Hattula Moholy-Nagy, Barbara Kasten. Archive Material: László Moholy-Nagy, Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, Walter Gropius. Director: Alysa Nahmias. Screenplay: Alysa Nahmias and Miranda Yousef. Web site. Trailer. A Chinese fortune cookie I once cracked open imparted a simple but inspiring message, “There is no greater joy than creation.” Those words have stayed with me for years, and I’m always moved when I see comparable sentiments expressed through other means. And, in that vein, a recently released film echoes that notion through a portrait of an individual whose calling epitomizes that very idea, the central figure profiled in the engaging new documentary, “The New [...]
“Papicha” (2019 production, 2020 release). Cast: Lyna Khoudri, Shirine Boutella, Amira Hilda Douaouda, Yasin Houicha, Marwan Zeghbib, Zahra Doumandji, Meriem Medjkrane, Samir El Hakim, Nadia Kaci, Lina Boudraa, Khaled Benaissa, Malek Ghellamat. Director: Mounia Meddour. Screenplay: Mounia Meddour and Fadette Drouard. Web site. Trailer. Taking risks can be a scary prospect, and the bigger the risk, the greater the potential peril. However, the same is true when it comes to the prospective rewards involved. Of course, it takes considerable resolve to face such conditions, but that’s entirely possible, as showcased in the inspiring new period piece drama, “Papicha.” For those who lived through the perils of the 1990s Algerian Civil War – a time that came to be called “the [...]
“A Hidden Life” (2019). Cast: August Diehl, Valerie Pachner, Maria Simon, Karin Neuhäuser, Matthias Schoenaerts, Franz Rogowski, Bruno Ganz, Tobias Moretti, Ulrich Mathes, Karl Markovics, Michael Nyqvist, Johannes Krisch, Johan Leysen, Alexander Fehling, Ida Mutschlechner, Maria Weger, Aennie Lade. Director: Terrence Malick. Screenplay: Terrence Malick. Web site. Trailer. Following our conscience often poses us with some of the most potent dilemmas we will encounter during our lifetimes. Such situations force us to confront doing what we believe to be the right thing in the face of circumstances that would seek to compel us to respond otherwise. The effect may be confounding, perhaps even paralyzing, but it generally pushes us to follow our hearts and minds, to address our innermost beliefs [...]
With another year coming to a close, it’s time for my annual review of the best – and worst – in cinema of the past 12 months. And what a generally disappointing year it was. Truly great films were few and far between, with only a handful earning the status of being genuinely outstanding. Some offerings were commendable, and many were adequate, but quite a few were sorely lacking. In fact, in compiling my list, I had far less trouble coming up with my Bottom 10 than I did with those at the top, something that speaks volumes about the quality of 2019’s offerings. This is something that’s reflected in this year’s field of Oscar nominees as well, a subject [...]
“Jojo Rabbit” (2019). Cast: Roman Griffin Davis, Scarlett Johansson, Thomasin McKenzie, Taiki Waititi, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Alfie Allen, Stephen Merchant, Archie Yates. Director: Taiki Waititi. Screenplay: Taiki Waititi. Book: Christine Leunens, Caging Skies. Web site. Trailer. Growing up can be difficult enough as we seek to understand the complexities of the world around us. But, if we add to that a quest to grasp an emerging sense of self and the place we occupy in our existence, the task can become overwhelming. Where do we turn for guidance? Who can we trust? And what advice should we seriously consider? Those questions might seem obvious and fundamental, but that doesn’t make them any less daunting, especially for those who lack [...]