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”, “Papusza”, “Malak”, pivotal award winner “My Sweet Pepper Land”, and the remarkable “Yema”; isolation, loneliness: “Chasing Fireflies”, “Wolfschildren”; iconic, cosmic individuals who altered the universe: “Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom”, “Walesa: Man of Hope”, “The Unknown Known”, “Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth”; coming of age: “Pieces of Me”, “Lad: A Yorkshire Tale”; compelling, illuminating “The Book Thief” where the wizardly, alchemy of the written word transforms a young girl into a majestic force.
Wonderfully, plaintively wallowing in the crippled world of the “Illiterate” and “Life Feels Good”; navigating injustices and retribution in family and friend dynamics: “The Pact”, “Soul”, “Nordstrand”; criminal capers portrayed in the thrilling, suspenseful, “Bank Lady” and “Monsoon Shootout”; close encounters of the romantic kind: “Under the Rainbow” and “Just a Sigh”.
For two weeks, trolling through the enchanting Parisian corridors; dusky, smoky, suffocating alleys of Morocco; harsh, beautiful South African landscape; destitution and extreme poverty of Brazil’s favelas; domiciles of suicide bombers; war-devastated Germany; rain-sodden lanes in Mumbai; unforgiving, rigid hills of Iran/Iraq. In over thirty films, I tasted the talents of filmmakers who without sensationalism, proselytism, painted “slices of life” resonating with truth and realism.
With exhaustion and a dollop of poignancy I can reminisce in the richness and delights, joys and tribulations of societies miles, time zones away; a short walk allowed me to imbibe, devour, never attaining complete satiation, but colossally indulging in the exotic flavors, mirrors of souls never encountered, but now, because of the prodigious and courageous skills of men and women filmmakers, phenomenal actors, veils are lifted, understanding is gifted.