Feature Films & Documentaries Make An Impact On Reviewer(Victoria Film Festival 2021)
I would like to once again thank Emily McMahon for reaching out to me and ask if I would be interested in covering this year's festival.
If you live in Canada you have until 10 pm tonight to watch any of the films I have reviewed here or that you find on their website. The link is below:
Director: Charles Officer Canada | 2020 | 90 min DCG – Craft Award – Directors Guild of Canada
In Akilla's Escape, we have seen the story before, the difference-maker is our lead in the film.
Saul Williams(Akilla) commands the screen with his strong delivery of a man who is left with a sudden choice when robbers show up to take the stash of drugs he and his partners have in their place of business, he is able to knock one of them out. What starts out as gritty and when the film really works best is the tension that is built within the narrative, but then we end up with more of the same. I find that a shame as this film had such potential to be something better than a run of the mill kind of movie. I will have a longer review when the film gets a full release.
DIRECTOR: Arnold Lim CANADA | 2020 | 87 min BC Spotlight
As they often say, you can choose your friends but you cannot choose your family--this could not be more true for our lead character Madonna. As it turns out their father chose to call her and her younger sister(Cher) after his favorite celebrities. Madonna is your typical teen, as she wants to be at school with her peers but without good reason, her father insists that she stays homeschooled
It is about midway through the film that she(& we, the viewer) find out his reason why.
He has a past that he is not only hiding from his family but himself as well. I was interested to see how the film played out and I wasn't disappointed, but then again this is not a new story, but the performances overall were good and enough to keep me interested until the end.
HARRY CHAPIN: WHEN IN DOUBT, DO SOMETHING
Director: Rick Korn USA | 2020 | 93 min
You don't even need to know who this man was, or what song(s) he sang, or that he revolutionized what we now know as world hunger and homelessness advocacy. We Are The World, Live Aid, and Farm Aid were essentially all inspired by one man Harry Chapin. I did not know that he had such an impact on the world-& still does. His many charity organizations and his push to (then) President of The United States of America, Jimmy Carter to not only agree to start the Governments work to end poverty and homelessness in the USA but across the globe.
It wasn't enough for Mr. Chapin to just perform a concert if there wasn't some organization that was benefiting from the show in some capacity, raised poor but with a lot of love that didn't really make him poor in the end. As he shared that love with others in his words, his music, and his never-ending compassion to change how things were around him.
More than just knowing that he was trying to make an impact & change for the better, he touched those many lives around him. Pat Benetar, Billy Joel, and many other personal families and close friends speak so highly of him, we can tell the world was a better place with Harry Chapin in it.
First-class documentary on a first-class human being.
Director: Emma Seligman Canada/USA | 2020 | 77 min
Here is the meaning of the word Shiva -"a period of seven days' formal mourning for the dead, beginning immediately after the funeral."
There is a death, there is also a couple having sex on the couch as the film opens.
Danielle(or Danny-as her parents call her)is a young woman who is late for everything it would appear to be from what the other characters seem to imply Danielle seems to have a lot going on and from what I can see, she most definitely does. She has more than meets the eye and as more of the mourners come to pay their respect, she finds out more than she cares to know.
There are some very tight moments when I felt like the lead character could not breathe and some of the dialogue is very quick and well written, almost to the speed of a David Mamet piece.
Joel(Fred Melamed) plays Danielle's father(Rachel Sennott) and next to her is her mother Debbie( Polly Draper)who are your overbearing and analytical parents, as you can see by the expression on Danielle's face. There is some history between Danielle and another young woman who is there to pay her respects Maya(Molly Gordon).
In what could play out to be another episode of The Young & The Restless, this is a very well-written, acted, and directed story of lost loves admiration & desires that we all have had or have yet to experience.
THE BIG HIT (UN TRIOMPHE)
Director: Emmanuel Courcol France | 2020 | 105 min
In all of the films-short or feature-wise, this would have to be my favorite of the festival that I had the chance to watch.
When I read that this was a prison movie I was kind of intrigued but thought with the English title it would be another movie about bank robbers or the like.
Much to my surprise and enjoyment instead of telling us the life in prison for the men being there, this instead was based on a true story of a man who wanted to teach 5 prisoners how to act and perform his favorite stage play "Waiting For Godot".
When he feels the men are capable of putting on the performance, he then goes even further and asks the warden for permission to have them perform at a theater that his close friend owns. She in turn has to ask the judge, which does get approved and they are then invited on a small tour of their great performances.
In most prison movies it's usually a depressing look at the system and how it's demeaning to the people who are there, this film inspires and engages the viewer in so much more than that we get to see them at their core and they're most vulnerable(in moments).
I really applaud the filmmakers and the man who inspired this tale to be told, he wanted to show that even the most hardened of criminals, there is still the desire to be told they matter to some degree.