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THE GREAT BEAUTY (ITALIAN: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

“Jep Gambardella” (Toni Servillo) is a voyeur, flaneur gliding through life, observing, perpetually longing for “the great beauty” to accost him; a muse of inspiration capable of igniting the creative transformation he yearns for. Director Paolo Sorrentino’s homage to glorious Rome, its hedonistic lifestyle, commences with “Jep’s” sixty-fifth birthday party; freakishly beautiful members of Rome’s elite, sinuously writhing, frenetically dancing ... Read More »

PHILOMENA

Judi Dench ignites the screen with her performance as “Philomena Lee”; the true story a young, Catholic, Irish girl, who has a son out of wedlock in 1952;  orphaned herself, she is housed in the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Roscrea, Ireland; where her son, at age three, is torn from her,  adopted by an American family. For forty-seven ... Read More »

BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR (FRENCH: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

Director Abdellatif Kechiche depicts an achingly profound portrait of isolation, loneliness, separateness, love. “Adele” is seventeen, intelligent, inquisitive, conflicted; plagued by untoward fantasies; living with parents, ignorant of their complex progeny. It is the twenty- first century, the parameters between naivety, childhood and carnal knowledge have shrunk, intimacy is the norm, expected, practiced by all over 16; dissected in flagrantly ... Read More »

REMINISCES OF THE 49TH CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Overwhelmingly, the most exceptional film festival to date; due to the prescient insights and monumental dedication of founder Michael Kutza and profoundly committed programming director, Mimi Plauche. By following Mini’s recommendations I was able to plunder the emotional vicissitudes of troubled, challenged marriages: “Le-Weekend”, “With You Without You”, “A Thousand Times Good Night”; women fighting an intransigent, male-governed sphere: “Trapped”, ... Read More »

CHICAGO FILM FESTIVAL: QUIET FILMS ORCHESTRATE A CACOPHONY OF QUESTIONS AND REFLECTIONS

CHASING FIREFLIES (COLOMBIA:ENGLISH SUBTITLES) A film that unveils the fine line between being alone and loneliness. In a desolate Colombian salt mine, “Manrique” , a simple man, cares for the property; his sole companion, a dog “chasing fireflies”, defines his comfortable isolation until a young, sprite “Valeria” trespasses on his turf and irrevocably, magnificently changes his existence. Director Roberto Flores ... Read More »

TRIFECTA AT THE FEST: 3 FOREIGN WINNERS FROM THE CHICAGO FILM FESTIVAL

MY SWEET PEPPER LAND: (IRAQ, FRANCE, GERMANY:ENGLISH SUBTITLES) Scintillating blend of contemporary and archaic spheres in a destitute Kurdish village after the death of Saddam Hussein. “Govend” a gorgeous, idealistic educator convinces her father and seven brothers to allow her to return to her teaching position in this testosterone-driven village;  she meets “Baran” the police commissioner, a fearless war veteran, ... Read More »

BEST OF FEST: MIDWAY THROUGH THE CHICAGO FILM FESTIVAL

At this point of total emersion, I will address, in mini -synopsis, the requests for my favorites: A THOUSAND TIMES GOOD NIGHT (Norway: In English) Juliette Binoche, pulls out all the stops and gives one the most brilliant performances of her career; as photographer “Rebecca” she treads where only the fearless venture; commencing with the conversion of a woman as ... Read More »

YOU WILL BE MY SON (FRENCH:ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

Never has cruelty been showcased in such a ravishing landscape; blackness of human nature set in luscious loveliness, a Bordeaux vineyard run by obsessive, perfectionist “Paul de Marseul” (brilliant interpretation by Niels Arestrup); a Beelzebub, with a Faustian tongue whose “grapes” reap more respect than any man. Director/writer Gilles Legrande paints a portrait of evil, so profound, overwhelmingly egregious, it ... Read More »

WADJDA (ARABIC, ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

Watching this remarkable film by Saudi director Haifaa al-Mansour (first full- length movie filmed in Saudi Arabia) realizing we are almost fourteen years into the twenty-first century and that millions of women live in restricted, reduced environments: individuality denied, erased, censored by scripted clothing; unable to vote, drive or control their finances; divorced by simple sentences; birthing vessels, castoff when ... Read More »

THE ATTACK (ARABIC/HEBREW….ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

“Amin Jaafari” (Ali Suliman) a Palestinian surgeon living and practicing in Tel Aviv, embraced by his Israeli co-workers, the first Arab to obtain an Israeli achievement award; at the ceremony he articulates his fervent desire to remain in his adoptive environment. Noticeably absent from this, the most important moment of his life, is his beautiful wife, of fifteen years, “Siham” ... Read More »

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