Coming Soon 

FRIDAY, JUNE 12th  – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, JUNE 20th – 7:30 PM

  OAK VIEW ROOM, WALNUT CREEK LIBRARY

AN HONEST LIAR - Comedy • Biography • Documentary -
Non-rated – 90 min. 
The life and career of the renowned stage magician turned scientific skeptic of the paranormal, James Randi makes the distinction between quack fakery and entertainment.  “ ... a human richness and an emotional power that both complement and expand, “An Honest Liar"’s enthralling exploration of the contest between deception and truth-telling in one singular man’s personality.” - Godfrey Cheshire, RogerEbert.com.  See the trailer here.  

The show also includes the comic short film, "HYPOTHETICAL".  Two friends discuss an awkward hypothetical dilemma.  


FRIDAY, JULY 10th  – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, JULY 18th – 7:30 PM

  OAK VIEW ROOM, WALNUT CREEK LIBRARY

WILD TALES - Comedy • Drama • Thriller 
Rated R - 122 min. - English subtitles
“Wickedly hilarious and delightfully deranged, Wild Tales is a subversive satire that doubles as a uniformly entertaining anthology film.” (Rotten Tomatoes )  Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars this year, this Argentinian film is comprised of six different short stories involving distressed people.
See the trailer here.  

The show also includes the comic short film from Austria, "MIT BESTEN GRÜßEN" ("MY BEST REGARDS").

 

Film Review & Commentary

Film Reviews
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.  

A World Away That’s Closer Than You Think

A Commentary Review of the Film, TIMBUKTU
A Film by Abderrahmane Sissako • 97 min. • Rated PG-13
Review by John Bennison, Mountain Shadow Volunteer Director
This film was Mountain Shadow’s feature film in April, 2015

Located 20 miles north of the Niger River, on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert in the West African country of Mali, Timbuktu dates back to the 12th century. Timbuktu today is impoverished, suffering from “desertification.” But seven centuries earlier, the city had been a flourishing trading route, and a center for Islamic scholarship; before a succession of invading forces vied for its control to this very day.  

For a brief time in 2012, the Timbuktu region was overtaken by outside extreme Islamic Jihadists, who strove to impose a strict and distorted form of Shariah law.  In January, 2013, French and Malian government troops began retaking Timbuktu from the radical extremists; but not before scores of ancient documents were destroyed, and rebel suicide attacks wrought further havoc for another six months. 

In the midst of this widespread chaos, one incident went largely unreported; namely, an unmarried couple who were stoned to death by religious extremists, leaving their children orphans. It is against this backdrop that Abderrahmane Sissako wrote the screenplay, and then directed  (and co-produced) his film, TIMBUKTU.

Click on the image above to read the full review.

Whistling in the Dark

A COMMENTARY ON THE FILM, “CITIZENFOUR”
This documentary was the selection in March 2015 for the Society.  
Review by John Bennison, Mountain Shadow Volunteer Director

What makes CITIZENFOUR simultaneously both compelling and seemingly un-dramatic in a theatrical sense is that it isn’t based on a true story, after the fact. Instead, it’s a real story that unfolds in real time.  Regardless of whatever personal predisposed opinions each viewer may have at this point nearly two years later about the famous (or infamous) main character, the filmmaker takes us to the front lines of a battle that has yet to begin; with raw footage of Edward Snowden’s deliberations and declared intentions, before he even puts the whistle to his lips.  

It is the kind of exclusive scoop with unfettered access of which most investigative reporters and documentarians can only dream. It is this front row seat every viewer is given of an unscripted non-actor and real-life character playing a role only he can play that makes CITIZENFOUR fascinating to watch.

Click on the image above to read the full review.

PLACES OF THE HEART

Brief Reviews of Six Oscar Short Film Nominees for 2015
By John Bennison, Mountain Shadow Volunteer Director

Like the literary genre of the short story, an effective short film can tell an entire tale and convey everything that needs to be seen and said in a matter of minutes.  At the same time, these vignettes can leave enough spaces between the lines to engage the viewer’s imagination.

The Oscar nominations for Best Short Film has three categories, documentary, live action and animated. Over Valentine’s Day weekend in February, Mountain Shadow’s audiences enjoyed all five of the live action shorts, along with one of the animated titles.  

Click on the image above to read the full review.