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Because of the advantage of screening from home I was able to pass the 40 plus mark; the last two days were a blitzkrieg :


STEP INTO THE RIVER (CHINA/FRANCE). An animated film beautifully conveying acceptance, bullying, sending a strong message to children and adults.  FOUR STARS!!!!

COMRADS (CHINA). Hong Kong uprising of 2019 is an intimate portrayal of solidarity, rebellion; compared to the rioting in prime cities in the United States this past summer, seems civil as opposed to barbaric. THREE & ½ STARS!!!


SUMMER OF 85 (FRANCE/BELGIUM). Exquisite depiction of what is potentially a “fatal attraction”; a chance meeting leads to a sexual awakening; acting, cinematography, scenario blend to perfection in this fanciful flick. FOUR & ½ STARS!!!!

SCHOOLGIRLS (SPAIN). Explicitly, poignantly portrays fourteen-year-old girls testing the boundaries between childhood, adolescence and adulthood; achingly, pragmatically, truthfully honest. FOUR STARS!!!!

SPRING BLOSSOM (FRANCE). Director/actor Suzanne Lindon with grace, intelligence and precociousness portrays a sixteen-year-old girl’s reciprocal infatuation with an adult male; gentleness, kindness ooze from every actor in this insightful, gorgeous film. FOUR & ½ STARS!!!!

STRIDING INTO THE WIND (CHINA). Partially autobiographical telling of director Wei Shujun’s early years in film school; delinquency, truancy, deceptiveness, paired with the thanklessness of being a poorly paid director’s assistance; pertinacity bludgeoned to death. TWO & ½ STARS!!

THINGS WE DARE NOT DO (MEXICO).  A documentary featuring “NoNo” a young man, in a devastated, traditional Mexican village, whose dream to live as a woman is attained; his emotional journey proves worthy of the pilgrimage. THREE STARS!!!

The scope of this year’s festival was astounding, addressing a rainbow of themes: ambiguity of sexuality; limits of loyalty, both familial and patriotic; multifaceted women, dominating their destinies; bravery and fortitude in living a “life” chosen, not prescribed; music and dance, melodically blanketing a myriad of films, haunting classical, operatic, pop, jazz infused levity, joy, remembrances of times past, loves lost, everlastingly enshrined. 

This was a Festival for the archives. Thank you to Director Mimi Plauche and all those who made this year’s festival a masterpiece.



  1. Hey Penelope,
    Your coverage of all those films has been Herculean and wonderful. We film buffs are in jealous awe of all the viewings and beautifully rendered appraisals you’ve delivered. Hopefully, many of us might share your obvious pleasure with some of those remarkable titles. Brava!

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