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Group Organizer
Beachwood, OH
Post #: 123
Its hard to believe how much time has passed since Paul Simon released his classic album “Graceland”. Its not just the catchy tunes (“You Can Call Me Al”, “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes”), but the political and musical implications of his endeavor that are remembered.

Skies starts out with withering criticism from the African National Congress and Anti-Apartheid groups about Simon violating the ban on cultural exchanges with the South Africa at that time. The film is rather even-handed on his decision to skirt (or ignore) the UN agreement. In retrospect 25 years later, it is hard not to think the level of protests over his involvement with South African artists was over the top. Clearly the artists loved working with Simon.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect was watching two adversaries (Simon and Dali Tambo of the ANC) face off 25 years later discussing the disagreement like it was yesterday. In contrast to our current political environment, the two talked respectfully about their perceptions, appeared genuinely concerned and wrapped everything up with a hug.

The musical implications are much more positive. Before Graceland, the concept of World Music was quite uncommon. Seeing Simon performing “Diamonds” to a stunned audience on Saturday Night Live in 1986 just shows how this one album charted new territory in integrating music and countries. Interestingly, Simon jammed with the artists for several weeks and then left for New York to create lyrics and music around their foundation.

If you don’t catch it at the Film Festival, its coming to the Cedar Lee in the next few months. Even if you aren’t a Paul Simon fan, you won’t want to miss it.

Competent: 3 1/2 *(out of 4) Compelling 3 1/2 * Saturday: 1:15, Sunday April 1

Yesterday did not bring out any real winners but they are playing Saturday and Sunday.

Restoration This Israeli film won an award for screenwriting at Sun Dance, but I am not getting it. The premise of two brothers owning a furniture refinishing shop and the turmoil that results when the older one dies is a sound proposition. You find out that the shop has been losing money for years and that the remaining brother can’t get a loan. The living brother’s son inherits the shop but doesn’t have best intents on keeping she shop open or offering any support. There are other sub-plots, but nothing really gels.

Competence: 3 * out of 4 Compelling: 2 * out of 4. Sunday 3:50PM

Salt of Life. Several years back, the Festival presented “Mid August Lunch”, a simple Italian story about a son who provides lunch for his mother and all her friends. It was touching and funny since they all started to argue and began eating in their separate rooms. Salt is Gianni Di Gregorio’s follow up and it follows a similar path but is missing some of the humor from the first film. I would recommend it just for the attention he pays to detail and how he draws the characters, but the story is lacking.

Competence 3 1/2* Compelling 2 1/2* Saturday 5:45.

If you are coming to the Festival this weekend, allow plenty of time if you plan to drive. Consider some of these returning films – all on Sunday:

Sense of Humor – 9am. Hilarious look at comedy.
Art of Love – 12pm: Its French. Need I say more?
Shuffle – 5pm. My favorite of the festival so far.
user 2952202
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 8
A Trip--Slow, ponderous, and filled with forced and unconvincing revelations.

Craft--Slow, ponderous, and filled with...nothing.

California Solo--A late addition and a nice surprise. Robert Carlyle of Trainspotting stars
as a washed up rock star. Good story and excellent performances.
user 3824195
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 51
I agree Jim. Sense of Humor was a treat.
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