The party’s over, but what a party it’s been! My last day at the 35th Cleveland International Film Festival was Saturday. The films we saw ranged from OK to very good.
Route Irish (B), British film about two lifelong friends from Liverpool who go to Iraq to make big money working for a security contractor. Route Irish is the name for the most dangerous highway in the world, connecting the Green Zone with the Baghdad Airport, and a shooting gallery for snipers. Fergus had convinced Frankie to come to Iraq. Fergus makes it back home, but Frankie is killed along Route Irish. Filled with grief and rage, and not believing the “official story,” Fergus sets out to find out how his friend died.
It’s a tense and absorbing film, the main characters speaking with such heavy Liverpudlian accents that one audience member, on leaving the theater was overheard to say, “Just when you need subtitles, there are none.”
Basilicata Coast to Coast (B+), If With Love, From the Age of Reason was a French pastry, as my husband described it, then Basilicata is a cannoli. This light Italian comedy follows a group of ragtag musicians as they travel on foot—as a publicity stunt—across southern Italy on their was to a music competition. The distance is about 60 km., an hour and a half drive, but they aim to make the trip last ten days. Tropea, the daughter of a wealthy businessman and reluctant journalist, is assigned to video the trek. The result is an enjoyable and quirky road movie.
These Amazing Shadows (A+), This is an important film for anyone who enjoys movies, and a “must see” for movie fanatics. Remember when Ted Turner bought the MGM collection and began to colorize the black/white films we grew up with? And remember the uproar that caused? So great was the opposition that Congress passed some amazing legislation in 1988—the National Film Preservation Act to save this significant part of our nation’s cultural history. Beautifully assembled and great fun to watch, These Amazing Shadows gives us a look at bits of “sprocket-worn classics” that few of us have seen, experimental films, Hollywood favorites—in short, a stunning array of American filmmaking.
Each year, the National Film Preservation Board selects 25 films to go into the National Film Registry, and since 1997, we the people, have been invited to nominate our favorites for inclusion. You can do your part to preserve these American historical treasures. Find out how at http://www.loc.gov/film/filmnfr.html.
Bill Cunningham New York (A), If you’ve ever looked at the style section of The New York Times, you’ve seen Bill Cunningham’s fashion spreads. Since 1978, he’s bicycling up and down the streets of Manhattan, at society charity soirées, at Paris fashion shows (where he’s considered “the most important person in the world”), capturing the pulse of fashion. Less interested in haute couture, Cunningham—at 82—still has a keen eye for fashion trends and outstanding “wearable” clothes. If it’s interesting, he’ll shoot it.
Anna Wintour, the doyenne of fashion, editor in chief of Vogue, and inspiration for The Devil Wears Prada, says, “We all get dressed for Bill.”
Yeah, it’s a bit of a letdown. I’m home today catching up on laundry, food shopping, and bill paying, but I’m looking ahead. It’s only 353 days ‘til CIFF 36!