Bye-bye CIFF 38

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Standing in line at the 38th Cleveland International Film Festival, waiting for the theater to clear so the passholders could enter and take up the precious aisle seats, I began talking with the smartly dressed, middle-aged woman next to me. She was, at that moment, a total stranger, but we obviously had something in common—a […]

Winding Up and Shutting Down

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The film festival ended last Sunday, and after a few days of rest, I’m ready to wrap-up the experience. I began winding down (preferable to going cold turkey) on Saturday, scheduling only two films on each of the last two days. They were all good! Good Ol’ Freda was one classy lady. An early Beatles […]

CIFF 37: Triple “A” Day

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Bone-chilling is what came to mind as I watched The Last White Knight. Racism is alive and well, but it is still stunning to see three KKK members dressed in full regalia—giving their names, but not showing their faces—talking about the Invisible Empire of police officers, local officials and others who continue to believe that […]

CIFF 37: The Lebanese Connection

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Lord Edward Montagu inherited his lordship at age 2½, when his father died and left him with the responsibility of a 10,000-acre estate. One of England’s great homes, the property was virtually insolvent following WWII. Montagu, then 25, opened his home to the public, personally guiding the tours of his ancestral home. Disaster struck when […]

CIFF 37: Two “B” Days

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The Kings of Summer, filmed in various Northeast Ohio locales, is a light comedy typical of opening night selections. Its main characters are appealing and funny, each in his own way. The plot also has its moments—both funny and touching. Altogether, though, I spent more time trying to identify the shooting locales than engaging with […]

CIFF: Day 8. Under the African Skies

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Its hard to believe how much time has passed since Paul Simon released his classic album “Graceland”.  Its not just the catchy tunes (“You Can Call Me Al”, “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes”), but the political and musical implications of his endeavor that are remembered. Skies starts out with withering criticism from the […]

CIFF: Pelotero to Cape Spin

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For young boys in the Dominican Republic, baseball may be their only chance to raise their family and themselves out of poverty. There are lots of reasons to dislike Major League Baseball, and chief among them, for me at least, is the way in which the organization and its agents take advantage of these future […]

Mid-week synopsis

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In the last two days, I screened 6 films but won’t spend much time discussing them since they have gone to movie heaven – or wherever they go when they are not picked up by a distributor.  Here is the rundown. Apartment in Athens.  A typical WWII movie that is good but nothing special. Shuffle.  […]

CIFF: Of Two Minds about . . .

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Suppose you’re 11 years old and you find out that the man who raised you is not your “real” father. What feelings emerge? Surprise, anger, confusion? For Kattaka, it’s a terrible shock—enough to make her storm out of the room, slam the door, and wish her parents were dead. In “Winter’s Daughter,” Kattaka learns that […]