Cleveland Independent Movie Goers Message Board › Films you saw - What did you think?

Films you saw - What did you think?

Howard M.
user 12521978
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 1
The Colors of the Mountains (3/25) B+ The movie let me walk around within the lives of common folks caught in the peaceful middle. In this case, peasants in the midst of the four-decade-long insurgency between FARC guerillas and Columbian paramilitary forces, where each side of this dirty war of attrition believes that “if you are not with them you are against them.” If you just want to farm and raise your family or enjoy your friends it is hard… maybe impossible. I felt for these characters because they represented so many around the world who get trapped between murderous ideologies that they don’t share.

Independent Shorts Program 4 (3/25) A Most entertaining short: Sudden Death! My personal favorite: Danny and Annie.

Ohio Shorts (3/26) C The highlight for me was a documentary about a teacher who started a group for fifth grade girls at Giddings Elementary in Cleveland, The Girlfriends Club. Through the club she teaches them to respect one another, respect authority and gives them a reason to feel special. John Ewing: The Canton Years was particularly disappointing. The Goose was quite funny.

2030 – Revolt of The Young (3/26) D- This was probably the worst film fest movie I have ever seen. The completely artificial narrative was as thin and nutritious as wax paper. Its entire purpose was to afford the idea meisters behind the film to terrorize the public (very German focused) with one horror of the dismantled welfare state after another in the guise of unraveling a mystery. In short, expect very little fulltime work, effective healthcare only for the elites, a Big Brother state that will trick us into giving up our genetic secrets then damn us for them, and debts so large and inexorably crushing that the most heroic character in the movie helps you fake your death so that you can sneak out of the official system and live among the denizens of the “No-Go Zone.” If you like your propaganda pedantic and turgid… be my guest. I should have walked out.

I Am Sindhutai Sapkal (3/27) C The strength of this movie is the halo of its true story. From outcast pariah, as a young mother in Maharastra, India, surviving at times on graveyard offerings to her place, in her senior years, as a guest dignitary in San Francisco, speaking on her network of orphanages and the more that 1,000 children who call her mother, Sapkal’s story can’t be anything but heartwarming. Tejaswini Pandit was both beautiful and at times riveting as the young adult Sapkal.

The Light Thief (3/27) B- This Kyrgyz movie might have received an A from me, but the ending just didn’t fit IMO. Apart from that, I enjoyed both the acting and script better than I imagined. I thought the strength of the film would be its exotic local, but it was story and acting.

Connected (3/ 27) C- I went looking for science and got home movies instead. This was my fault. Upon initial reading my selective psyche picked out what I wanted to see –a documentary about the science of human interconnectedness. I overlooked the part of the description that suggested a paean to the filmmaker’s father, Dr. Leonard Shlain. The theories that were purported were marginally interesting but were quite undercooked.

So far my batting average at the fest has not been great. I need some hits!

Monday's films:

Win/Win (2:45)
R U There (4:20)
The Arbor (7:10)
Caterpillar (9:10)


Independent Shorts 3 (noon)
Mundane History (2:00)
The Matchmaker (4:10)

I may try to add Hayfever, after the glowing review.


Independent Shorts 8 (5:30)
Facing Forward (7:40)

Considering adding Red Light Revolution (2:00)


I want to see Dressed but I've had a snafu on that ticket. Otherwise, open so far...


Autumn Gold (2:00)
The Interrupters (3:50) Having second thoughts on this one
Basilicata (6:55)
I Am (9:50)


Self Made (11:20am)
The Man From Nowhere (1:50)
Bill Cunningham New York (7:05)


Independent Shorts Jury Awards (1:45)
Independent Shorts Audience Awards (4:30)
These Amazing Shadows (7:10)
Howard M.
user 12521978
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 2
Win/Win (3/28) B I have to admit that my attraction to this film was the professional stock trading angle (and they did do a good job of representing the people and environment of a professional trading desk). However, the lead character was truly the most endearing element of the film.

R U There (3/28) B- Professional video game player, Jitzie, witnesses a tragic event in the streets of Taipei and is disconcertingly opened up to inputs and sensations in the real world, where Min Min is among its most be beautiful objects. Not a love story exactly… but one of amorous reawakening from the blue-light sleep of the video game night. No aspect of the film is sensational, but the sum of the parts was worthy of my 83 invested minutes.

The Arbor (3/28) This is an A- or B+ movie that I can imagine recommending to almost no one. It’s an art documentary that deals so unsparingly with the pitiful choices of drug use, sex, abusive men, and parental neglect and is so generous with its suffering that it is, at times, difficult to watch (thus why I wouldn’t recommend it to many). However, it is effective as a work of documentary art. I liked the element of using the family members’ actual voices but having their words lip synched by actors. And injecting the author’s play within what was, ostensibly, a play about the playwright worked at times for me as well. Liked the craft but the content was a cudgel.

Caterpillar (3/28) B+ This film had a bit of a voyeuristic quality. At times I felt like I shouldn’t be seeing what was going on with these people. But I suppose watching a disfigured, limbless caterpillar of a man have sex with his duty-bound wife will do that to you. As the suffering wife, Shinobu Terajima turned in the best performance I have seen so far in the festival.

Has anyone seen a good old fashion love story?
Howard M.
user 12521978
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 3
Independent Shorts Program 3 (3/29) C+ Girlfriends Club highlighted an average grouping of shorts. A Lost and Found Box of Human Sensation combined a good/above average story with technically very accomplished animation. Picnic was somewhat unintelligible. Can anyone tell me why the boy stands in one spot, silent for a night and day into another night?

Mundane History (3/29) D At times the topography of the chair row I was seated in was more engaging. I often support movies that employ slow, spacious, atmospheric techniques that provoke and afford room for reflection. However, the narrative has to provoke something…!

The Matchmaker (3/29) A- A coming of age story that I would happily recommend to many. Warm, funny and poignant in appropriate turns. I sure wish I had had a mentor like Yankele Bride.
This film festival seems to have no buzz about any must-see film.

And more than a few folks have mentioned the dour nature of the choices so far.
Group Organizer
Beachwood, OH
Post #: 114

Is just another example of why I attend the Film Festival religiously each year. It tells the tale of a young girl with Downs syndrome who becomes separated from her mother when the Israel Mutual Association is bombed in Buenos Aires. While this 1994 incident is the setting, the real story is how the girl navigates herself in the city where she doesn't know her address or even her mom's real name. Anita's Alejandra Manzo who appears to have Down Syndrome herself, is either truly gifted or director Marcos Carnevale is excellent in getting the most out of his actors or both. This film won a major award at the Los Angeles Film Festival. It took my heart away. 4 stars out of 4. It shows on Thursday at 1:45pm.

Steam of Life.

I am not sure how I ended up seeing a movie about Finnish men taking Steam Baths, but Steam of Life proves that any topic can be enlightening. In retrospect, it makes sense that men from all stripes of life feel comfortable baring their soul when draped only in a towel or less. While one man bares his soul about being estranged from his children, another scene shows a bunch of Santa Clauses partaking in the humidity in stride. Alternating between sadness and humor (one steam bath is in a phone booth), you begin to understand why Finland has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. 3 stars. Thursday 8:50 pm.

Howard M.
user 12521978
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 4
Red Light Revolution (3/30) B+ Director’s goal? Be Funny Director’s accomplishment: Funniness. The film walks a good line between a movie with a funny narrative and devolving into a sophomoric gag movie. For instance, had they actually shown us the “karaoke dildo” that would have been too much. But knowing it exists… that’s funny enough!

Independent Shorts Program 8 (3/30) B Sleeper for short film award, Bye Bye Now, from Ireland. It’s about the removal of phone “boxes” throughout the villages of Ireland. Can any of us imagine leaving our village and walking over hill and dale into another village in any kind of weather to a phone box for a weekly 5 minute phone call from our sweetheart? It is for films like these that there should be film festivals. On the other end of the spectrum, Penny never should have made the cut for inclusion. If not for Penny this would have been an A group of shorts.

Facing Forward (3/30) A- Like most documentaries of its type, how interesting it will be is dependent upon the personalities that the director chooses to follow. Director Laura Paglin makes the right choice in making middle-schooler Tyree the center of her film about the Cleveland charter school, ePrep Academy. You will be both charmed by Tyree and shocked by the world he navigates. If you have an interest in the challenge of education reform then this film is a must-see.

Anita (3/31) B An innocent young woman with Down Syndrome is lost in Buenos Aires after her mother is killed in a bomb blast. Yes, every cliché you might expect to see in a film like this probably shows up. However, the film effectively tugs on your heart strings and there is nothing wrong with a little tug there when needed.
Howard M.
user 12521978
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 5
Dressed (3/31) B+ When the story is of a 14 year-old, Nary, abandoned to the streets by his parents who self-teaches himself fashion and achieves his own international fashion line in his twenties, you know it will be inspiring. But the central question is: How did he do it? If you assume the answer includes perseverance, self-motivation and a fundamentally optimistic spirit, you would be right. However, if you want to know how the subject arrived at these traits in the face of such discouraging odds, the film maker is going to leave you mostly wondering, as the neither the subject nor the director open up to this magic tonic. Had they done so this would have been without doubt an A+ documentary. Inspiring none the less and filled with fashion insiders commenting on the guts of the industry, Nary’s story is well worth watching.
Group Organizer
Beachwood, OH
Post #: 115
When it comes down to it, whether a movie is worthwhile, it comes down to the heart. All movies have flaws, but if the movie captures your attention or affects you in some manner, then you sometimes you are forgiving of those flaws. Not unlike relationships. A friend and I were discussing Anita, which I really liked, and he was just okay due to the number of inconsistencies in the movie. While he was probably right about the defects, it didn't matter to me as I still enjoyed the movie. Which brings us to the current crop of movies.

The oddly named Basillcata Coast to Coast movie is a road film about a band of musicians who walk / ride horses across southern Italy to reach the coast. They perform along the way, mostly for themselves, meet various women and reveal past stories from their lives. While the movie was not meant to be a deep character study, I never cared enough about the people to even attempt to find a plot. Others will find this film very funny and light-hearted. 1 1/2 * out of 4. Saturday 1:55 pm.

Autumn God is an inspiring tables of athletes from all over the world in their 80's, 90's and 100's who are competing for their version of the Olympics in Finland. As you can imagine, it is very inspiring to see spry elderly people who continue to punish themselves. Perhaps the most interesting character is a 100-year old discus player who has knew surgery but then competes anyways. 3 stars. Sunday 11:40 AM.

Kawasaki's Rose is by an established Czech Director (loved "Beauty in Trouble") that deals with forgiveness. A well-known dissident psychiatrist will be accepting an award for his work in the 1990's. As the days lead up to his acceptance, new information comes to light that suggests some collaboration with the enemy. As the plot thickens, we realize that it doesn't just affect him, but his friends and family. A satisfying film. 3 stars. Sunday 4:45pm.

Films I will be seeing this weekend: Limbo, Small Town Murder Songs, Hello How are You, The Roman Waltz, With Love from the Age of Reason and Soul Surfer.

user 8819192
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 6
I thought much of With Love, From the Age of Reason was slow and tedious. I had trouble caring about the self-absorbed Margaret and whether or not she finds herself. Then, at the end, the film did somewhat redeem itself with some warmth and fuzziness and more creative scenes. A solid two-and-a-half stars from me.
A former member
Post #: 134
I saw Basilicata Coast to Coast last night with the Italian group. It provided a great look at a little-featured region in Southern Italy as well as some interesting cultural and political commentary well hidden in both the story line and the characters. My thanks to Elia and Carlo of the Italian Meetup Group for pointing out some of these aspects of the film. Clearly, the true appreciation of foreign films requires some knowledge of the country and the time period depicted. This film was enjoyable and worth seeing but it did fall somewhat short of Laura Luchetti's wonderful Febbre Da Fieno, or HayfeverBasilicata­ did have some scenes that reminded me of Felini, especially the unusual festival and dancing joining two men with every woman, the beach scene that delayed the journey and it is an Italian ‘road movie’ with visions of La Strada. The panoramic views of the Basilicata region were breathtaking. Highly recommended!
user 3464426
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 110
With Love, From the Age of Reason - I agree with Bill and George that this is a disappointing movie. I thought the plot was clever in itself, but I felt that the movie took the cleverness gimmick way too far... (But then again, perhaps if I had to live the uptight lifestyle that Margaret did I, too, might sit in the john contemplating childish collage messages?!) It wasn't the quality of the film that annoyed me; it was the erratic behavior of the spoiled, shallow main character. Her supposed change of heart was so flippantly thrown in at the end, I hardly had a chance to notice. A 2.5-star rating would be generous, IMO.

The Rowan Waltz was a very interesting movie, filmed in rural Russia. A real nail-biter about young girls being trained to defuse bombs left at the end of WWII. It had a few flaws--one of them being some rather wacky subtitles--but it was quite realistic and had some very good acting performances.

Of the Jury Shorts Awards, the one that most affected me was Save the Farm, about a group of people's tireless efforts to keep LA from bulldozing their community organic farm. Very hard to watch.
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