Waltz to an Excellent start to the 38th CIFF

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Frankly, the first movie of the 38th Cleveland International Film Festival was an ominous start. Crack, Back and Sack had a lot going for it.  Norwegian, Irreverent, Sexual tension and an attractive cast.   But all those ingredients couldn’t save it from being overly vulgar (discussing private parts really got old) and listless.  The characters were neither believable and frankly I didn’t really care about them.   Plus the scenery, wasn’t all that great. 1 1/2 * out of 4

I didn’t have time to contemplate my section when I ended up sitting next my counterpart Jewel to drink in the wonderful Waltz for Monica.  This unknown jazz singer on this side of the Atlantic took some major risks by singing jazz greats in Swedish, her country of origin.  While the film didn’t break much ground in terms of movie making, the story was first rate and lead actress Edda Magnason was simply amazing singing and acting in this movie.  If the world were a fairer place, she would have a Oscar nomination under her belt.  It shows again on Saturday March 22 at 11:30AM and at the Cedar Lee on Wednesday March 26 at 9:15 PM.  ****

Umma Among Friends was both a feel good movie and dealt with racial profiling better than I have seen in any film.  Daniel is an undercover secret service man who is temporarily relieved of his duties after a questionable shootout.  He is moved to a heavily Arab location where he begins to become friends with the locals.  When he witnesses how his new friends are treated, primarily based on their ethnicity, he begins to see his role in a different perspective.  ***1/2 Saturday March 22: at 9:30 PM and Sunday 9:15 AM

See you at the movies.  We have 10 more days to go!

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