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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) 2009 Festival Releases (Read 57,204 times)
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2009 Festival Releases
19. Mar 2009 at 03:49
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As the snow melts, the festival season heats up in flyover country.
Chicago, Cleveland, East Lansing, Madison, Minneapolis and Toronto all will be hosting major fetivals within the next 2 months. I have hopes of attending some of these events and taking in some new quality films. I'm starting this thread to keep track of some of the unprofiled releases that may be of interest......

Win or Lose: A Summer Camp Story

The last week at Camp Ojibwa, in Eagle River, Wis., is Collegiate Week. The kids — all boys — divide into teams named after colleges, and compete in an extravaganza that includes almost anything that can be reduced to a contest: basketball, hockey, playwriting. It is intense, obsessive, and challenging, and starts with a draft pick of the campers. The ultra-competitive coach Andrew Robinson (“A-rob”) gets the worst number in the draft: the 12. No one in the history of Camp Ojibwa was ever won with the 12. Nobody wants to be on his team. Adam Korn isn’t the most popular counselor, but puts some effort into draft strategy to build a contending team. And thus embarks the saga of another Collegiate Week in Northern Wisconsin, where scrawny kids and gangly teens, with testosterone fairly dripping off their shoes, discovers what it means to win, and to lose.

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Dry Rain

On the high plains of Montana, a man and his son are driving across the Canadian border. He’s crossing a line of another kind, for ex-wife doesn’t yet know that he’s taking their son out of the country. Played with roguish scruffiness by James Le Gros, with veteran 11-year-old actor Nathan Gamble, Stil gradually finds a way to reconnect with his son.

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Man Zhong  (Grain in Ear)  (China)

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Cui sells homemade kimchee from an illegal food cart in a northern Chinese industrial town. Like many working outside the official system (she’s of Korean ethnicity, and her husband is out of the picture in jail), she barely scrapes by to create a home for herself and her son, on a concrete hut by the railroad tracks. The local policeman takes a fancy to her, as do other men who stop to buy her pickled vegetables. “Director Zhang Lu uses all the tools of minimalist filmmaking—long, static scenes alternated with occasional, lyrical tracking shots, little dialogue, allusive storytelling—and adds welcome humor. The characters are clearly defined by their actions, and it’s difficult not to fall in love with Cui and her little boy. Cui is struggling to maintain her ethnic identity. She is presented as a woman with a past, but her personal history is only hinted at....Other characters are sharply drawn, either with sympathy—as with the prostitutes next door, who range from petty selfishness to wistful desperation—or scorn—as with the hen-pecked Korean husband or the Chinese policeman resisting the limitations of his impending marriage. The picture never wallows in pity. It’s filled with disarming warmth toward Cui and her son, and even acknowledges the pressures that fall upon those heinous men who makes their lives so difficult.

Somers Town (UK)

Two teenagers, both newcomers to London, forge an unlikely friendship over the course of a hot summer. Tomo is a runaway from Nottingham; Marek, a Polish immigrant, lives in the district of Somers Town, between King's Cross and Euston stations, where his dad is working on a new rail link. When Marek agrees to let homeless Tomo move into his room, unbeknownst to his father, the pair forms a strong bond, as they work odd jobs for an eccentric neighbor and compete for the attention of Maria, a beautiful young French waitress. “There have been very few more moving films from any director since Meadows' own Dead Man's Shoes — though in this instance it's very much a case of joyful rather than sorrowful tears. This is a delightful, quietly topical, deceptively slight miniature about teenage friendship and first love — scarcely new subjects for cinema, but handled with sufficient sensitivity, humour and spirit to emphatically justify such a choice of material. Meadows and his scriptwriter Paul Fraser, meanwhile, deserve particular credit for so deftly maintaining such a delicate balance between the bouncily engaging story and its sad, even tragic subtexts.”

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Re: Spring Festival Releases
Reply #1 - 19. Mar 2009 at 04:01
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The gently comic film opens in simple but stunning pastoral Iran, where an unassuming ostrich farmer, Karim struggles to support his family, leading a simple and contented life in a small house. In a string of bad luck, Karim’s daughter loses her expensive hearing aid, and an ostrich runs away from the farm, which causes Karim to be fired. However, his financial woes are short-lived when Karim, who had traveled to Teheran in order to repair his daughter’s hearing aid, stumbles upon an easy way to make money quickly in the bustling city: he inadvertently gives a man a ride on the back of his motorbike in return for a fee, a relatively good sum which prompts him to continue his taxi service on a regular basis. Every day Karim rides into town, bringing back home all kinds of rummage – old furniture, car parts, etc. — and soon finds himself entangled in a world of hustle, materialism, and greed. The people and material goods start to transform Karim’s generous and honest nature, much to the distress of his wife and children. It is up to those closest to him to restore the values that he had once cherished, and Karim must find a way to reconcile his new life with the old. But director Majid Majidi (The Color of Paradise) never strays far from appreciating the humor in Karim’s situation, and the film maintains a buoyant sense of hope. This comes in large part from Karim’s son, who is determined to muck out the old covered well and raise fish for sale. And there’s still an ostrich on the loose…

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Vogelfrei (Latvia)

Divided into four parts (with different directors and actors), four days in the life of a young man named Teodors are illuminated in this remarkable Latvian film. From a youngster playing in the woods with his pals, through adolescence, and maturity, it can be seen as four connected parts that inform the evolving character of this introspective man, or as four more allegorical films that define the ages of man. “The film succeeds in allowing each director their own voice too, no small feat, and in the process, demonstrates that there is some very promising talent coming out of Latvia….The film plays with dichotomies – rural/urban (the first and last scenes are pastoral, while the middle two scenes are coldly alienating in its cityscapes), young/old (the children play as adults, the adults play as children) and loneliness/ human communication….Vogelfrei is beautiful filmmaking, each story told with a compelling visual and narrative sense, and ultimately achieves that rare thing: a multi-directed film coalescing together well.”

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When his parents announce they have bought their dream house, Willy is less than enthusiastic. Moving to a different neighbourhood means making new friends, something which Willy finds difficult. Moreover, he is convinced there will be monsters at the new place, even though he is old enough to admit they are just a product of his overactive imagination.

Soon after arriving at his new home, Willy does indeed meet a “monster” – except the fuzzy yellow creature named Gooby is the teddy bear he left behind when he moved. Having magically come to life and made his way back to his owner, Gooby is eager to have fun with Willy, and the two become fast friends. But Willy knows he must keep Gooby hidden. Since his parents are too busy to spend time with him, he can easily prevent them from seeing his furry friend. But it is hard to keep others from catching a glimpse, putting the bear’s very existence at risk.

Balancing delightful comedy with a poignant message about parent-child relations, Gooby is a charming and heartwarming film. In its story of a boy whose friendship with an unlikely companion helps him develop the self-confidence to face growing up, it presents a meaningful exploration of a child confronting his fears and managing change.


Siri Raja Siri  (King Siri) (Sri Lanka)

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Sirimal is a gifted eleven-year-old boy from a small Sri Lankan village who enjoys his rural life and appreciates the traditions and cultural values instilled in him by his parents. But his talents and intelligence have won him a scholarship to attend a prestigious school in the capital city of Colombo. Trading in bare feet for shoes and blisters, Sirimal reluctantly sets off for his new surroundings.

Coming from a poor rural family, he has difficulty at first adjusting to an urban world among the school's well-to-do boys. Though he is taunted by bullies and misses village life, Sirimal's strong work ethic and self-belief help him to cope. Landing the lead role of the king in an important school play brings him new-found respect from his peers, but also delivers a seemingly insurmountable challenge: getting the money to pay for the elaborate costume.

A wonderfully moving tale that audiences will relate to, King Siri addresses the prejudice and power dynamics stemming from socio-economic class difference, and looks at the importance of having a connection to your land and culture. Pairing engaging performances with breathtaking cinematography of Sri Lankan landscapes, King Siri is also a film about seeing beauty in the smallest things, and how finding strength in yourself can help guide you through the toughest challenges.
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Re: Spring Festival Releases
Reply #2 - 19. Mar 2009 at 04:08
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Kung Fu is a small but feisty seven-year-old Shaolin-trained martial arts student. A proven sensation at the monastery, he is sent by his master from China to Japan for his final test: he must defeat his “last opponent,” allowing him to unlock the secrets of the Shaolin masters. Kung Fu sets out to win so he can be the best and the strongest but, as his master says, the young boy does not yet know the true essence of strength.

In Japan, Kung Fu literally lands in the lap of kindly noodle-house owner Izumi, who welcomes him into her family. Izumi’s granddaughter Reiko is happy to adopt him too – she thinks he’s the cutest thing ever! As Kung Fu continues to seek out his enemy, little does he know his opponent lurks nearby, right in Reiko’s school. An evil conglomerate is trying to take over Japan, starting by infiltrating the educational system and brainwashing students with videogames. Meanwhile, KungFu’s noble heart wins him a ragtag group of friends who work together to defeat an evil much larger than they expected.




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Five-year-old Morrison Glas is about to get a baby sister – and he is not very happy about it. He likes things just as they are. He loves living in the countryside with his dad, Steven, a mechanic who repairs broken cars (and who is even teaching Morrison how to drive), and his mom, Nina, a veterinarian who, as Morrison says, “repairs broken animals.”

But with his parents paying less attention to him now that his sister is on the way, Morrison fears that his whole life will be turned upside down. To make matters worse, he learns that his bedroom will be given to the baby and he will have to stay with his great aunt Zuster at a gloomy monastery in the forest. Morrison tries to convince his parents that they don't need a new child, since he is the best one they could hope for. But when that plan fails and his sister arrives, Morrison decides to run away – taking the newborn with him!

Scripted by Dutch children's author Sjoerd Kuyper, Morrison Gets a Baby Sister is adorable and funny while also seriously representing a young boy's fear about how a new sibling will change his life. The film perfectly captures both what it's like to be a five-year-old child and what it's like to be the parent of one.


My Dad Ralph (Canada)

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For single parent Ralph, a failed artist employed as a house painter, Take Your Kids to Work Day means he can no longer keep his profession a secret from his charismatic son, Zak.



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Liv has just turned twelve and couldn't be more excited about her birthday gift: tickets for the inaugural sail of the Danaworld cruise ship, scheduled to leave in a few days.

But strange incidents start happening to her. She begins seeing things no grown-ups can see: a mysterious, sometimes-disappearing black cat, a secret room in the basement, an old photograph. It seems someone or something from the distant past is trying to communicate with her. When Liv tries to investigate these odd new phenomena, she suddenly develops asthma, preventing her from accessing the most important clues. Moreover, if she falls too ill, she'll miss the cruise!

With no adults believing her story, Liv enlists the help of her friend Thomas to help her get to the bottom of things. The pair is soon hurtled into an adventure that spans nearly one hundred years. Echoes of a famous tragedy ring again: will Liv and Thomas be able to prevent another major cruise-ship disaster?



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Re: Spring Festival Releases
Reply #3 - 19. Mar 2009 at 04:13
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Dylan and Kylie—two pre-teens who live next door to one another in a dreary Dublin housing estate—have equally horrific home lives. The raging temper of Dylan’s alcoholic father is a constant threat to Dylan and his mother. And when Kylie isn’t being tormented by her older sister or neglected by her working mother, she’s avoiding her abusive uncle. Over Christmas vacation, when the threats of Dylan’s father become reality, Dylan has no choice but to run away—to find his brother Barry who left home years earlier and lives somewhere in the city. With little money but a lot of hope, Dylan and Kylie embark on a journey into the unknown: the spectacular and seedy streets of downtown Dublin. In the spirit of any mythic odyssey, they start on a ship. And adventures, both terrifying and terrific, are sure to follow. In his third film KISSES, writer-director-cinematographer Lance Daly innovatively uses color (he saturates the screen in conjunction with the emotions of the protagonists and the images grow more colorful the farther they get from home) to bring life to this memorable tale of two desperate adolescents, played by two extraordinarily apt young actors.

Awesome film. Moments of real beauty juxtaposed with life in Dublin's housing estates. Shane Curry does a fine job in the lead role. Will be especially loved by fans of Bob Dylan and his music.



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Elaine Cheng is a woman with far too much on her plate. An immigrant from Hong Kong, she hustles around Boston from morning till night, trying to keep her act together enough to scrape up some money for herself and her two kids, Raymond and Tina. Her deadbeat ex-husband is in Hong Kong and never sends any cash. She and the kids are kicked out of their apartment and are squatting in a model home. She continually invests in no-risk, get-rich-quick schemes that somehow never pan out. In another attempt to make it big fast, gullible Elaine puts money she doesn’t have into a pyramid scheme that involves other immigrants. When Elaine disappears suddenly, Raymond and Tina are left on their own. Pre-teen Raymond does a masterful job of fending for himself and his precocious little sister, but they’re up against pretty stiff odds. CHILDREN OF INVENTION highlights a lack of understanding among immigrants in a society they don’t fully grasp. The film also reveals the risk for children who must rely on stressed-out adults.

Okay film. Almost played as a documentary. Michael Chen didn't show much charisma in a leading role.  

Lake Tahoe  (Mexico)

May be a little too old for a profile, but the director made Duck Season so the film will probably be worth a look.

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A day in the life of LAKE TAHOE'S main character Juan is anything but normal. After crashing the family car into a post, he must find someone who can help him fix it. Throughout the day he's led on a journey that he never expected. He meets many different people who seem to have something in common: they all want something from him. His first encounter is with an older man who asks Juan to walk his uncontrollable dog. The second is with a young girl who wants Juan to watch her infant son so she can go see a band. The last is with a young man who is obsessed with martial arts and just wants Juan to be his friend. Juan eventually gives in to each request as a way of dealing with the loneliness he feels from his father's recent death. That event also left his mother to become unable to function as a parent, leaving Juan to care for his younger brother. LAKE TAHOE is a charming feature full of laughs and emotion when you least expect it.

Slow, slow, slow. For such a slow film it was almost good. Diego Cataño was Moko in Duck Season. Yemil Sefani is in some scenes playing his younger brother. I would have liked the story more had 25 minutes been trimmed off the running time.

Ce qu'il faut pour vivre (The Necessities of Life) (Canada)

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In 1952, an Inuit hunter named Tivii, stricken with tuberculosis, leaves his northern home and family to recuperate in a sanitarium near Quebec City. Uprooted, far from his land and his loved ones, unable to speak French and faced with a completely alien world, Tivii becomes despondent. He refuses to eat and expresses a wish to die. He finds his fading will to live suddenly reinvigorated after his nurse, Carole (Éveline Gélinas), arranges for another young Inuit to be transferred to the same hospital. The boy, an orphan named Kaki (Paul-André Brasseur), is also sick, but he has experience with both worlds and over time he manages to help Tivii grow more comfortable with his surroundings. In exchange for Kaki's kindness, Tivii educates his newfound friend about the ways of the land and the Inuit people. By sharing his culture with Kaki and opening it up to others, Tivii rediscovers his pride and energy. Ultimately he also rediscovers hope through a plan to adopt Kaki, bring him home and make him part of his family.

Another rather slow moving, but handsome film. Well worth seeing. Paul-André Brasseur is probably the third most important character. Good "fish out of water" story, easy to see why this was Canada's foreign language Oscar submission for 2009 and an award winner at the Montreal film festival.

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Re: Spring Festival Releases
Reply #4 - 19. Mar 2009 at 04:21
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Nereikalingi zmones (Loss) (Lithuania)

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Director Maris Martinsons was inspired by "Six Degrees of Separation" to make LOSS, a moody tale that weaves together the stories of six seemingly unrelated people’s interconnected lives. One of the threads tells of Valda, a destitute young mother who gives her son to a local orphanage and takes off in search of a better life in Ireland, promising the boy she’ll return. In Ireland she meets a fellow Lithuanian, a priest with dark secrets in his past. Meanwhile, back home, Valda’s son is adopted by a businesswoman named Nora who has no children of her own. Nora’s former husband Ben is a permanently drunk former business owner whose life fell apart when his cell phone was used to trace calls to his mistresses. The final thread is Laima who is not only Ben’s ex-lover, but also the cutthroat new head of his former business. LOSS is a meditation on the fragmented nature of contemporary life in Lithuania.

Gelmis Naujikas may not have enough screen time for a profile, but I thought the film was fantastic! The most haunting score I have heard in a few years and a well woven story makes this a recommendation from me if you like Eastern European storytelling. Kostas Smoriginas offered some comic relief from what was generally a mysterious, serious story.

El regalo de la Pachamama (Pachamama) (Bolivia)

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The lives of the Quechua, an indigenous people who live on Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni (Salt Lake), are beautifully rendered in this moving film. PACHAMAMA, is filled with lyrical cinematography that reveals this gorgeous but harsh landscape, tells the story of a 13-year-old boy, Kunturi, who lives with his family on a farm on the salt lake. Kunturi’s father earns his livelihood by mining salt and then transporting it to rural villages using a herd of llamas. Kunturi’s life begins to change when his grandmother dies and he accompanies his father on the “Ruta de la Sal” – The Salt Route. They travel between tiny Andean villages untouched by modernity as they trade blocks of salt for other products. This is a coming-of-age story in which Kunturi’s journey helps him to understand the harsh beauty of the world, as well as the true nature of the pachamama, which translates as “mother universe” in his native religion. The world of the Quechua, who are descended from the Incas, seems to exist in another time and place, far from the vicissitudes of today’s global economy. Yet as the film shows, technology and modern life are steadily encroaching on the ancient rhythms of this way of life.

The presence of Christian Huaygua in the second leading role was not enough for me to overlook the annoying score and the glacial pacing of this film. Should you ever have the chance to see this, you might rate it higher if you are interested in the vanishing culture of the indigenous Quechua or nature films in general.



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Ramchand is a young Pakistani boy who lives with his parents in a village on the Indian border. Doubly scorned, the family are not only Hindus in a country where 97% of the people are Muslims; they are also untouchables (members of the lowest caste). When they inadvertently venture over the border into India, Ramchand and his father are arrested by border guards as spies. The two are transferred to a jail where they spend an unbelievable five years. Based on a true story from 2002, RAMCHAND PAKISTANI traces the development of the son’s relationship with his father and with the adults surrounding him in prison. He particularly warms to his female warden who must care for him though she detests him for being untouchable. As the years go by, Ramchand grows from a frightened child into a defiant young man. Parallel to the men’s story is the heartbreaking plight of Ramchand's mother who doesn’t know what’s happened to them. RAMCHAND PAKISTANI is not a story about Pakistanis and Indians, or about Muslims and Hindus. It is a universal tale of people’s frustration with fate and of the longing for freedom.

Appears to have been projected on video in my screening. Looks very low budget, but the story is well told (and quite a bit different in tone from the Oscar nominated The Little Terrorist which has a similar premise) and well acted by Syed Fazal Hussain. He does a great job of carrying the film on the strength of his characterization of Ramchand. Films that are this low budget only work if you care about the characters.

White on Rice

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Jimmy is 40 years-old but he has the personality of a young child. He shares a bunk bed with his ten-year-old nephew and his favorite thing is dinosaurs. He lacks any sense of charisma and he speaks his mind a little too often. Ever since his divorce he has been living with his sister and her family. His brother-in-law, Tak, thinks he is a idiot. Jimmy believes that if he can get remarried, he can move out and all of his problems will disappear. As he decides to start dating again, he falls for the beautiful and out of his league Ramona. And it doesn’t help him that Ramona is in love with Jimmy’s best friend Tim. Surprisingly, his luck continues to get worse when he leaves his nephew home alone one night to pursue Ramona. He ends up getting kicked out and losing his free room and board. Jimmy just cannot catch a break. WHITE ON RICE is a hilarious comedy about a grown man looking for love in all the wrong places.


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Re: Spring Festival Releases
Reply #5 - 19. Mar 2009 at 04:39
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SMALL COUNTRY is set in Uruguay’s political turmoil of the early 70s and told from the point of view of two lifelong friends whose families ended up on opposite sides of the conflict. Rosana is the privileged 11-year-old daughter of Severgnini (the police chief of Montevideo) and a sophisticated mother who objects to living in a working class neighborhood. Young Xavi and his family live next door. His father, a Spanish immigrant named Manuel, is a humble shoemaker. Both men are decent people and dedicated to their families, but political events compel them to make wrenching choices. Marxist guerrillas known as the Tupamaros are plotting to overthrow the authoritarian regime, and they’re putting pressure on Manuel to use his friendship with the police chief to help them. Meanwhile, the military government is taking over the civilian police and Severgnini is forced against his will to cooperate. As young Rosana and Xavi start to enjoy the beginnings of puppy love, their world is suddenly split apart in a way that will haunt them throughout their lives. Years later, when they reunite in Spain, neither of them can shake off the hold that their “paisito,” their SMALL COUNTRY, still has on them.

Superior reminisce of Uruguayan political upheaval in the 1970's. Not as strong as Machuca or Kamchatka but still worth seeing. Pablo Arnoletti is probably the third most important character in the film.



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An uplifting Canadian-American story about the power of youthful ideals, STICKS AND STONES centers on one boy’s intention to right a wrong. A pee-wee hockey team of 12-year-olds from Brockton, Massachusetts is excited to travel to New Brunswick to compete against a tough Canadian team. It's 2003 and the U.S. invasion of Iraq is all over the news. En route, the kids and their chaperones are intercepted by anti-war protesters who rock their bus and burn the American flag. Frightened, they vote nonetheless to stay on and play, only to be rudely treated by Canadian fans and a seemingly anti-U.S. referee. When the Brockton team attends a Montreal Canadians game and the crowd boos the U.S. national anthem, they vow never to return to Canada. But it’s not only the Americans who are disgusted by Canadian behavior toward their guests; one boy on the Canadian team vows to make it right. Supported reluctantly by his dad, young Jordan makes a case for inviting the Americans back to a friendship tournament, taking his plan all the way to the Premier’s office. Inspired by a true story, STICKS AND STONES features a strong cast of young actors as the hockey players.

Made for TV Canadian movie with all of the compromises that that description might evoke. Alexander De Jordy will be absolutely compelling to this audience making this a very worthwhile watch. Daniel Magder and Scott Beaudin have fairly large roles as well. Cameron Ansell, Samuel Earle and Alessandro Costantini are in support. Not much subtlety on display here. Story emphasizes that while all Québécois are jerks, they are offset by the kind people of New Brunswick. Not sure where that leaves you, joseph.  Tongue  Smiley

School Play

Following a group of fifth graders as they put together a SCHOOL PLAY of “The Wizard of Oz,” the audience is introduced to five different students with five very different personalities. We meet Jeffrey, the social outcast of the class; Joey, the wannabe actor; Elizabeth, the competitive leader; Nick, the class clown; and Isabel, the unique artist. Director Eddie Rosenstein shows the development of these elementary students into more mature individuals. With only a limited amount of time to learn an entire play, the students are put to the test to overcome their personal issues. For example, we learn that Joey goes to see a speech therapist for a stuttering problem, and Jeffrey gets picked on by the majority of his classmates. Throughout the learning process of the play, the students gain valuable lessons that they will need for their entry into middle school. Winner of the Festival Prize as Best Documentary Film at the Big Apple Film Festival, SCHOOL PLAY is not only a great reminder of how tough it is to be a kid, but how much fun it is as well.

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I'm not much of a documentary fan and this film won't make me change that view. Some scenes that had nothing to do with the story thrown in to pad the running time. The co-director said this film was shot in his spare time around other projects he was involved in and it showed in places. Despite this handicap, he managed to capture some very good moments including the wonderful interaction between Nick Viagas and his father preparing for the big show. The personality of "crazy, funny, charming" (and modest) Joey Angiletta is another big plus.
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Re: Spring Festival Releases
Reply #6 - 19. Mar 2009 at 05:47
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I hereby declare this thread top-notch quality. Thanks.
  
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Re: Spring Festival Releases
Reply #7 - 20. Mar 2009 at 02:19
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Excellent thread, Zabladowski! Lots of interesting movies there.
  
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Reply #8 - 20. Mar 2009 at 04:45
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I expect to have some first hand feedback on some of these soon.
Will make sure to post comments.
  
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Re: Spring Festival Releases
Reply #9 - 05. Apr 2009 at 06:33
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Comments posted. Due to other priorities it appears these are the only ones from this bunch, I'm going to get to see this spring.
  
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Re: Spring Festival Releases
Reply #10 - 05. Apr 2009 at 15:07
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Quote:
Story emphasizes that while all Québécois are jerks, they are offset by the kind people of New Brunswick. Not sure where that leaves you, joseph.


LOL

Well, I'm from New Brunswick, but have been living in Québec for more than 5 years and consider it home. So I guess I'm kind of a jerk.
  
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Re: Spring Festival Releases
Reply #11 - 05. Apr 2009 at 18:48
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Thanks for the excellent report, Zab. I suspect I will be referring back to this thread - someday.  Tongue
  
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Re: Spring Festival Releases
Reply #12 - 07. Apr 2009 at 08:56
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josephk wrote on 19. Mar 2009 at 05:47:
I hereby declare this thread top-notch quality. Thanks.


I couldn't agree more.

Thanks for this mighty effort Zab, a prime reference thread.

I like the way you added your personal comments in red, making it very easy to reread and distinguish plot outlines from opinions.
  
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Zabladowski
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Re: Spring Festival Releases
Reply #13 - 21. May 2009 at 04:55
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Here are the Cannes films of interest that I was able to find....



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A village in Protestant northern Germany.
1913-1914. On the eve of World War I.
The story of the children and teenagers of a choir run by the village schoolteacher, and their families: the baron, the steward, the pastor, the doctor, the midwife, the tenant farmers.
Strange accidents occur and gradually take on the character of a punishment ritual.
Who is behind it all?




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Life as a restaurant owner in an eastern African country is not easy for the 40 year old, African born and bred Eduard Zuiderwijk after the sudden
death of his wife. He now stands for the task of raising his 9-year-old son Thomas all by himself.
The young Thomas seeks and gains support from his friend Abu, son of Mafillu, one of the female black staff members in the restaurant.
One day Abu disappears suddenly together with at least ten other children, after a nightly and violent raid of his village by the rebel army. Abu’s father and many other villagers were killed and the missing children are nowhere to be found.
Young Thomas cannot be consoled. He wants Abu back, and Eduard, who feels he is failing as a father, decides to try to find Abu and save him from
the hands of the rebel leader.
While Eduard proceeds to an IDP camp in the middle of the conflict-infested area to gather information about the possible whereabouts of Abu and the
other abducted children, Abu himself is undergoing harsh child soldier training in the rebel army of Michel Obeke. No means, either physical or psychological, are being withheld in order to transform the children into ruthless killers.
Against the advice and will of the aid workers that Eduard meets, he persists in his plight towards finding and saving his son’s friend, and after a dangerous and irresponsible search through the jungle he manages to reach Michel Obeke’s camp. Obeke demonstrates to Eduard that all of the children in his camp are there of their own free will, and that neither Abu nor any other child wants to leave the rebel army and go with Eduard.
When Eduard is an unintentional witness to a secret weapon delivery his troubles become even more immense. The arms dealers as well as Michel
Obeke want to rid themselves of this inconvenient spy. Eduard now not only needs to save Abu but also his own life.


Portrait de groupe avec enfants et motocyclettes (France)

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The lives, dreams and stories of a group of children aged between 8 and 14, in a Motorcycle racing school.

Nammae ui jip (Don't Step Out of the House) (South Korea)

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A poor boy and his sister live in a basement apartment.
One day, strangers enter their house and threaten them.


Lars og Peter (Denmark)

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Lars (9) is naïve and innocent, all he wants is for his father to be happy and his family to be together. Lars' mother is gone and life is empty and dysfunctional without her. Today is his dad's birthday. Lars bakes a cake and sings birthday songs, but in the evening his dad, Peter, sits up late drinking alone, lost in the memories of his wife. In his loneliness Peter ends up going next door to confess his feelings of desire to the next-door neighbour, Alma. He of course is quickly rejected and a twist of fate finds Lars in the back yard seeing the argument that ensues. After his rejection Peter storms home and, caught up in drunken despair, masturbates violently behind the house. Of course Lars is witness to it all. Not understanding what is going on, and full of shock and worry, Lars calls out to his father, who in return yells at him, and tells him to get away. The next day, no one in the house wants to talk. Now Lars is really alone, struggling to understand the new and vastly more complicated and absurd adult world that he has just found himself in the midst of, he has to figure everything out by himself




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Set in a 1970s coastal town, The Six Dollar Fifty Man follows Andy, a gutsy 8 year-old boy who is forced to break out of his make-believe superhero world to deal with playground bullies.
« Last Edit: 30. Mar 2013 at 21:59 by Zabladowski »  
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Re: Spring Festival Releases
Reply #14 - 25. May 2009 at 19:07
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From The Zlin film festival in the Czech republic...

Ulice: Velká trojka (Czech Republic)

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Children from a children's home arrive with their house-mother at the Šternberk castle for a week's holiday. They want to rehearse a historical play based on a legend related to the location. A girl named Anna also arrives there with her grandmother. The Big Three - Agnes, Frances and Mirek - have a suspicion that something unfair is about to happen. They find out that Pilous, the castle warden, is somehow involved in a planned theft of a valuable painting and that Mr. Liška, an kind old man, is to be blamed for it. The Big Three decide to both manage the rehearsals and prepare a plan that would prevent the theft of the painting. But the biggest adventure is still to come for the Big Three.

A School Day with a Pig (Japan)

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A new school teacher suggests that his pupils raise a pig to teach them "the real link between life and food" and… that they eat the pig when it is fully grown. The deadline will be their graduation. The class buys a piglet together and take care of it. The piglet is named "P-chan", and though hesitant to take care of him at first, it's not long before they cherish him. The teacher later starts facing irritation from his colleagues and the student's parents. The kids themselves begin to quarrel over P-chan. But teacher and students overcome their problems and learn a lot from this experience. But near the end of the year they face an even bigger dilemma. After 365 days of love and devotion, P-chan has grown big. The deadline of the project is near and they have to decide the fate of P-chan…



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Cross your heart and hope to die! Can you honestly swear that at least once in your life you have not thought that robbing a bank is a good idea? Especially, if you're five years old and that bank has just thrown your parents out of a brand new apartment, because your father has lost his job. Robby (5) is no Zorro, but he'd like to be. His sister Louise (7) thinks he's too childish, but can't resist the game of robbing a bank. Together they can pull off just about anything. Getting away with it is the hard part.

Pětka s hvězdičkou (Czechoslovakia - 1985)

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A gang of five boys living in Čejkovice in Moravian-Slovakia like their new teacher far too much. Staňo Matička, Rosťa, Edison, Fera Ondráček and the Gypsy boy Štefan Daniel (nicknamed Daňo) are the first to find out that a new inhabitant has arrived in the village and decide to make friends with him before they meet him at school. They help him to cosy up his new flat and adapt to the new environment. This of course brings a number of troubles and small catastrophes. But these are only the first small fiascos awaiting the teacher and his "favourites". The story develops into an elaborate situational comedy, which still has a lot to say to today's audiences. This is also one of the reasons why the film is among the ten best-selling Czech films on the international market in the 1980s. When the teacher is finally joined by his would-be wife Petra, there is nothing the experienced teacher would be afraid of.



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8-year-old Tomas has been living a lonely life in an orphanage - sad, friendless and alone. Then Maire O'Donnell comes into his world, whose smile and spirit light up the darkest room - and Tomas's heart. Before he knows it, Tomás is sailing to Corrie Island off the coast of Ireland, where he meets Alec, her reticent husband who cannot hide his disappointment with the boy. Undiscouraged, Maire introduces Tomas to the wonders of his new world; the secret of the seals, the mystery of the stone giant and that magic can be found anywhere if you really look. But when tragedy strikes, Tomás must find the magic inside him or lose everything. A Shine of Rainbows is a story about the transformational power of love.
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