We were unable to hold an actual Pow Wow, this year.
In its place, I'll post reviews of films that we would have discussed at the Pow Wow in order to help everyone make choices. Those with high rating in bold. Please feel free to add comments so that it will feel like we held a Virtual Pow Wow, and use this space to hook up with other members.
12:00 - Persistence of Vision - IMDB: 7.0 - Striving to make the greatest animated film of all time, visionary animator Richard Williams ('Who Framed Roger Rabbit') toiled for more than a quarter century on his masterpiece - only to have it torn from his hands. Filmmaker Kevin Schreck has woven together mind-blowing animation, rare archival footage, and exclusive interviews with key animators and artists who worked with Williams on his ill-fated magnum opus to bring this legendary story to the screen. A tale of creative genius gone horribly awry, PERSISTENCE OF VISION is the untold story of the greatest animated film never made.
12:15 - This is Martin Bonner - IMDB: 7.4 - Two men from different walks of life form a tentative connection that slowly grows into friendship. TY BURR "A small, disarmingly democratic slice of life set in Reno about the friendship between a paroled convict (Richmond Arquette) and the title character, a wise but regretful older man (Paul Eenhoorn), who has lost touch with God....An unassuming gem, more polished than mumblecore but far from the glossy certainties of the mainstream."
12:30 - Exit Elena - IMDB: 6.8 - A live-in aide has no place to live. TY BURR "From straight outta Lexington comes Nathan Silver’s deadpan tale of suburban dysfunction and the human urge to belong. Co-writer/star Kia Davis suggests an evolutionary midpoint between Greta Gerwig and Lena Dunham as a lost 20-something who gets a job as a nurse’s aide for a maddeningly self-absorbed family. As the matriarch, Gert O’Connell is the quintessential progressive, noodgy outer-Boston mom — you could throw a tennis ball off Route 128 and hit about 10 of her. With the director’s own mother playing the grandmother, oy, is this a family affair."
1:00 - Secundria - TY BURR: Boston University film professor Mary Jane Doherty traveled to Cuba repeatedly over the years to complete this lucid, watchful portrait of young ballet dancers desperately trying to plié their way out of poverty and into the Ballet Nacional. The film follows a path familiar from documentaries like “Spellbound” and “First Position,” the difference here being that the young aspirants have the future of entire families on their shoulders. As we follow Doherty’s primary subjects — middle-class Gabriela, poor Mayara, poorer Moises — “Secundaria” reveals itself as being less about competing in dance and more about battling into adulthood.
1:00 (BRATTLE) - Gold Fever - No Reviews - Gold, an obsession of men and nations; a symbol of wealth and power. But for Diodora, Gregoria, Crisanta and the people living near the Marlin Mine in Guatemala's highlands, gold represents oppression, intimidation, pollution and even murder. With the rising price of gold, the mine's owner, Goldcorp, posts record profits, while these courageous women live in resistance to the mine's unstoppable hunger.
2:45 - Genius of Marion - No Reviews - While working on a book about her artist mother who died of Alzheimer’s disease, Pam White learns she has Alzheimer’s herself. Her son chronicles Pam’s struggle to hold on to her identity.
3:00 - Good Ol' Freda - No Reviews - 'Good Ol' Freda' tells the story of Freda Kelly, a shy Liverpudlian teenager asked to work for a young local band hoping to make it big: the Beatles. As the Beatles' fame multiplies, Freda bears witness to music and cultural history but never exploits her insider access. Their loyal secretary from beginning to end, Freda finally tells her tales for the first time in 50 years. JANICE PAGE "A documentary for Beatle fanatics who think they know it all...Kelly herself asks director Ryan White early in the film, “Who would want to hear a secretary’s story?” The answer (besides the faithful) is anyone interested in what legends look like to the invisible ordinary folk right next to them."
3:15 - Blood Brother - IMDB: 7.7 - Blood Brother is an intimate portrait of Rocky Braat, a young man who longed to find a family. He didn't know it, but this desire would lead him to an AIDS hostel in India, a place of unspeakable hardship, where he would find almost more love and need than he could bear. "An affecting, unusual and intensely personal film, although it works more effectively on an emotional level than a fact-disseminating one."
3:30 - Night Labor - No Reviews - Filmmakers David Redmon and Ashley Sabin (DOWNEAST and GIRL MODEL, IFFBoston 2012) follow a solitary laborer whose work underpins the seafood industries in Maine.
3:30 - (BRATTLE) - Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia - No Reviews - The life and ideas of one of America's most prolific and provocative writers.
4:00 - Much Ado About Nothing - IMDB: 6.9/RT: 87% - A modern retelling of Shakespeare's classic comedy about two pairs of lovers with different takes on romance and a way with words. JANICE PAGE "Did the world really need another adaptation of this Shakespearean classic? Probably not. But Joss Whedon’s modest black-and-white film, shot in just 12 days at his California home, is a breezy delight that proves worthy of keeping company with his other TV and filmmaking credits, including “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “The Cabin in the Woods.” The cast is full of the filmmaker’s pals and regular players — Alexis Denisof as Benedick, Amy Acker as Beatrice, Fran Kranz as Claudio — making it feel like the Bard by way of “The Big Chill.” Even Whedon’s most devoted fans may have doubted the wisdom of following “The Avengers” with something this challenging. They can rest easy. He hath indeed better bettered expectation.