Saturday, August 27, 2016


Lots of films for viewing variety
Ok: you’ve been reading some films I've  reviewed – a few from the FFM (World Film Festival), and in its 40th year, it may be remembered for the chaos that happened off screen and behind the scene. It was touch and go right up to opening night, as sponsors, Cineplex Forum screening venue and PR guys pulled out because festival founder/director, Serge Losique stayed on. At the age of 85, many felt it was time for him to seek younger blood to direct the festival.  

I credit him for hanging on for so many years, but not knowing all the politics behind the disorganization that affected everyone involved this year, perhaps the writing is on the wall for the festival – or in this case the screen.
I have always enjoyed the accessible factor of the festival that brings youth and energy from directors from oodles of countries. They are affable, open and eager to share their stories face to face in the Q and A (none this year – nor is there a program book).  The audience is an older bunch, and this year, seats and ticket line-ups were not exactly a problem. 

Here are some more reviews of films that are fun to watch if not enriching and curiously revealing about each country’s  distinct cultural flavour and artistic acumen via the unique films that make this festival so stimulating.

THE LAST BIRDS (Directed by Bedir Afsin) *

Slow moving, this Turkish film makes its poignant point about not respecting village customs and rules. When city-dweller, Bekir, comes to visit his parents who live in a Turkish mountain town surrounded by lush forest, he insists on hunting birds. Animals are only to be hunted during the season, but Bekir just wishes to distress and so as he pleases. When bad events ensue, Bekir becomes the patsy for the misfortunes of others. He refuses to listen to his father who repeatedly tells him to stop being arrogant and to adhere and respect to the customs. The Leif motif of a crow cawing, and the background big boom sounds that happen when something bad is about to happen becomes laughable. 

MY ITALY (Directed by Bruno Colella) ***

Hilarious and quirky, this Italian work presents a director and his assistant – who attempt to raise money for their documentary film about four international artists who love Italy. The films takes us to several cites in Italy and in other countries. It is a refreshing piece of comedia del arte – contemporary style. It really entertaining and we also get to meet some brilliant artists who have their own troubles.

LONGING FOR A KISS (Directed by Julia Ziesche) **

German filmmakers just can’t do comedy. This story about a family with a daughter and mother who get pregnant and keep it a secret for a time is light-hearted but far too light in impact. The message is an one one: searching for love, and finally attaining it no matter the conflicts that problematically prove to be the precursor to happiness.

As Far As The Eye Can See (Directed by David Franklin) **

When loner/recluse Jack Ridge consents to appear at the local piano competition as the featured performer inside the little church of the tiny Texan town  (he lives on its outskirts surrounded by acres and acres of land), not-so-jolly Jack does a stupid thing: he puts his fist through the wall of his tumble-down farm house. He has just been hit with divorce papers, and to make matters worse, Herbel Farms is trying to take over his land.


Jack’s farm has been in the family for seven generations, jack’s wounds go deeper than his injured hand. It takes Alyssa, a sassy 16-year-old country gal to start gardening on his land – against his will. Still she ends up being his best support along with old Philip, his Mexican pal. The day arrives for his playing; the town is eager for Jack to perform again. After all, it’s been 25 years since he won the Van Cliburn Competition, and because of him, their small town earned some fame.

Jack does not want to perform, but he’s able to pull off the Brahms Intermezzo in A-minor (a piece I love to play). However, as he takes his bow, a shocking moment occurs. Maybe, it is the jolt he needed to get on with his life. Jack realizes moving on might be the answer to his stagnant life, and that leaving the farm that’s been in the family for so many generations is his best performance of all.

Jason London as Jack was credible, but the film’s pace slagged slowly, and the ending was a let-down in tone and change of pace. The American director though shows promise.

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