Saturday, September 19, 2009

Newark Film Festival

Perhaps it was my mood or my companion or possibly Al Mascitti’s glib introduction to In the loop, Armando Ianucci’s brilliant mockery of how the US managed to involve the UK in Iraq, but I laughed at the horror of it all and felt better for the catharsis.

Outrage, an exposé of homophobic homosexuals in Congress, left me cold – and yet, I have thought and talked about it more than any other movie and the accusations therein will influence my vote in 2012.

Sin nombre takes one from Honduras through Guatemala and Mexico on top of a train and gave a view of the life immigrants are fleeing when they come breathlessly across the border with Texas.

Hunger was an ice-cold view of the most horrific abuse of IRA prisoners --overlayed by the strained and artificially patrician overtones of Maggie Thatcher.

Valentino provided material for reminiscence of a 60s Vogue reader but the staged intimacies fell flat.

Moon was a diabolical puzzle: Sam Bell notices that his body and brain are failing just weeks before he finishes his three-year contract as a miner on the dark side of the moon.

Summer hours was a surprisingly slow and disjointed story of a mother’s death and the family she leaves behind. Many red herrings and several threads of stories that did not hold together left me happy that I could crown the evening with dinner at Saigon.

But the film which made the entire festival worthwhile was Horse Boy, a film about desperate parents of an autistic boy who decide to take him to Mongolia to be treated by Shamans. There was an effect, but the overly educated parents were slow to attribute it to the witchcraft they had sought.

Barry Schlecker deserves so much credit for the panoply of film choices, the invitation of local celebrities to introduce films, the contest for filmmakers to create 30-second commercials of the Film Fest sponsors, the organized activities in Newark, the contacts with film companies and film initiatives whose web addresses are listed below. Special recognition goes to Brian Soward of the Delaware Film Company for his tireless promotion of the initiative to bring films to Delaware. Please visit the sites listed below to support some of these filmmakers and if you love cinema, please patronize the Newark Cinema Center 3 to keep it afloat for next year’s Newark Film Festival.

You can still see Wiener takes all, Liberation, Valentino, Afghan Star, Outrage, Valentino, Cheri and Horse Boy at the Delaware Art Museum September 25 – 27 .

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