Coming Attraction 

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18th, 7:30  PM and
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19th, 7:30 PM

OAK VIEW ROOM, WALNUT CREEK LIBRARY

Our September show will feature seven Short Films that have been selected by our own 12-member Jury. Categories for these seven great shorts include documentary, narrative, comedy and animated. All films have been completed within the last 18 months. The seven finalists will present theeir films in person and engage the audience with Q&A. Audiences will vote for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners, and cash awards ($1,000, $500 & $250) will be presented at the end of the competition at the Saturday show! (We’ll post the YouTube video of the presentation on our website for those who won’t be able to attend the show.)  A Reception will follow each evening’s screening where audience members can engage the filmmakers in person. Each attendee will receive a complimentary, specially-designed ‘souvenir’ poster of this event.  It’ll be a great show, and the first show of what we anticipate will be a great annual Mountain Shadow event!





 

Film Review & Commentary

Film Reviews
Trust, but Verify

A Commentary & Review of ABOUT ELLY
By John Bennison, Mountain Shadow Volunteer Director
A Film by Asghar Farhadi
Drama-Mystery - Non-rated - 118 min. Iranian (Persian, with English subtitles). 
This was the Society's film for August, 2015.  

It’s August, so what better time for a movie about a fun-filled seaside weekend vacation amongst family and friends? At least that’s the way the film, ABOUT ELLY begins … The men will dance together, the women will laugh and clap their hands, the children will, well, be children.  It’ll be a great time for this group of educated, up and coming, middle class types with their Beemer, their SUV, their spouses, girlfriends and kids.
 It could be the ordinary beginning to a summer vacation story. Except this beach house just happens to be located on the Caspian Sea, about 200 kilometers from Tehran.  And presumably, it's a story all about Elly.

Click on the picture above to continue reading.  

Getting Even

A Commentary & Review of “WILD TALES”
By John Bennison, Mountain Shadow Volunteer Director

A Film by Damián Szifrón
Comedy-Drama-Thriller - R, 122 min. Argentine
This film was the Society's selection for July 2015

It has been said one can marvel at the depths to which we are sometimes willing to sink in order to seek revenge. It can be sweet, but the pleasure short-lived. If one survives long enough, a bitter aftertaste is often the result. 

But what if one has been unjustly wronged? In such a case, retribution would appear justified. With retributive justice, the offender is said to pay a price for their misdeeds. The punishment should fit the crime, we say. Lex talionis (‘an eye for an eye’) is an ancient legal concept that is still fully operative today. But when is enough enough? And when is that thin line crossed between justifiable retribution and unbridled vengeance?

Click on the picture above to read the full review.  

Lie ‘n Wait

A Commentary & Review of AN HONEST LIAR
By John Bennison, Mountain Shadow Volunteer Director

A Film by Tyler Measom and Justin Weinstein
Documentary - Biography - Comedy – NR – 90 min.
This was the Society's selection for June 2015

“Magicians are the most honest people in the world. They tell you they’re going to fool you, and then they do it.  No matter how smart or well educated you are, you can be deceived.  It’s OK to fool people as long as you’re doing that to teach them a lesson, which will better their knowledge of how the real world works.”      -  James Randi

Such is the premise that begins this bio-documentary about the life of the honest liar, James “the Amazing” Randi.  It’s not only a true life tale of a masterful deceiver’s crusade to expose the fakery of charlatans who claim to possess amazing powers, but a very human story about a man caught up in his own self-deceptions, as well.

Click on the image above to read the full review.  

A Touching Film

MARIE’S STORY - Biography • Drama, Non-rated, 95 min. French (English subtitles)
A Film by Jean-Pierre Améris, screened by Mountain Shadow in May, 2015

Review by John Bennison, Mountain Shadow Volunteer Director

It is an intriguing task to tell such a “true” and “biographical” fable like MARIE’S STORY with sumptuous cinematography, a minimal script and a stirring musical score where the main character is blind, deaf and dumb. It leaves the only two remaining sensory experiences unavailable to such a medium as film (touch and scent) to the visceral world of filmmakers and critics alike.  As the filmmaker comments on his work: “This project began with my fascination for the story of Helen Keller..." 

Click on the image above to continue reading.