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Film Reviews
3rd Annual Short Film Competition

Mountain Shadow's 3rd Annual Short Film Competition was held on September 15th & 16th in the Las Lomas High School Theater. Thirteen filmmakers from across the country (as well as Nils from Belgium) presented their terrific collection of short films to a total audience of nearly 600! Each film was a winner in its own right. Click on the photo above to read the results of the combined audience ballots from the two shows and awards presented to the filmmakers! To watch a YouTube presentation of the filmmakers, click here.

Sounds of Silence

What better way to try to express the elusive and most inexplicable meanings to be discovered in our lives than in the finest expressions of language, art, music, and perhaps the most powerful form of modern communication, film? In this regard, Patrick Shen’s cinematic pursuit does an eloquent and masterful job of what one contributor in the film calls “the language of the great silent spaces.” You can read a full review of Mountain Shadow's selection for August, 2017, by clicking on the image above. Following his in-person presentation, the filmmaker sent the following message to Mountain Shadow: "Thanks so much for screening the film. I’m so impressed with the important work you’re doing to bring these “small” films to Walnut Creek. Your membership is engaged and thoughtful. A dream for a filmmaker. Thank you again." - Patrick Shen

 

 

A Time for Honesty, or    Payback, in time?

If honesty is its own reward, the payoff may be hard to measure sometimes. That is, until a full recompense is made for others who try to work both sides of the street between feigned pretense and downright duplicity. That’s the question that’s left up to the viewer to decide in the last few fleeting and startling seconds of Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov’s Bulgarian film, “Glory.” This was Mountain Shadow's monthly film selection for July, 2017. Click on the image above to read the Review.

What’s in a Name?

[Mountain Shadow's show for June, 2017] - In Ken Lough’s newest, I Daniel Blake, the disabled and unemployed craftsman finds himself caught up in an unwieldy bureaucratic system that only identifies human beings as case numbers to be processed; rather than human beings to be lifted up when the vicissitudes of life’s happenstances have dealt them more than a blow or two.  Fortunately however, indifference is not impervious.  Click on the image above to read the full review.

“Faire le Pitre” [Clowning Around]

A review of "LOST IN PARIS." [Mountain Shadow's show for May, 2017] - While the film-making team of Abel and Gordon don’t credit Chaplin directly as the inspirational source for their latest work, they readily acknowledge they are part of what they call the professional “actor-clown” tradition; with what they themselves dub as “burlesque comedy.” In this, their latest film, the dialogue is minimal; leaving facial expression and body movement to tell a tale that’s sheer comic delight. This was Mountain Shadow's selection for May, 2017. Click on the image above to read the review.

Parts Known & Unknown

"Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent" - [Mountain Shadow's show for April, 2017] - The popularity of Anthony Bourdain’s well known series, Parts Unknown, is all about revealing people and places as yet undiscovered. But what about the first well-known “celebrity chef” who, to this day, remains an unknown mystery?  The answers are not to be found in some secret recipes, but in a study of one extraordinary man’s unique personal gifts and baggage. This was Mountain Shadow's selection for May, 2017, and a Bay Area premiere.Click on the image above to read a Mountain Shadow review.

Free and Clear

A Review ofAsghar Fargadi's Oscar-winning film, "The Salesman" - [Mountain Shadow's show for March, 2017] - In Arthur Miller’s 1948 theatrical classic, Death of a Salesman, the main character plays the role of a disgruntled shell of a man; exhausted from a life spent peddling some unnamed commodity that ends up being as meaningless as the sum of all his days.  Willy Loman is plagued by his failures that are a heavier burden to bear than the suitcases full of worthless wares he carries. In the end, he puts an end to his embittered life; but not before inflicting plenty of pain and misery on those around him. In the course of Asghar Fargadi's Oscar winning film, The Salesman, Emad is left to deal with the aftermath of a suspected and presumed assault on his wife, Rana. But the cost of revenge can be both deadening and deadly. To read the full review of this gem of a film, click on the image above.

When Poetry and Politics Mix

As the son of a railway worker, Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto’s sympathies for the working class are in his bones. But when he achieves success as a world-renowned poet and later Nobel prize winner, he changes his name to Pablo Neruda; and joins a company of world-class intellectual elites like the artist, Pablo Picasso, and existentialist philosopher, Jean Paul Sartre. He is not just an esoteric, rabble-rouser poet. In 1948, he is also a Chilean opposition leader, whose political views are subversive to the status quo; where gross economic disparity reigns and divides a nation. When a warrant is issued for his arrest, he will run only fast enough to elude and torment his would-be captor. The escapade will blur fiction and non-fiction as an epic cinematic poem. [Mountain Shadow's show for January, 2017] - To read the full review, click on the image above.

A Dramedy on Thin Ice: A Review of HERE IS HAROLD

Charlie Chaplin once said, “Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot. To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain, and play with it!” There’s also hardly anything funny to be found in the first fifteen minutes of this Norwegian cinematic drama-comedy; but subtle humor that underlies much of the way the real world exists will break through the ice and expose both the absurdity and touching beauty of life. Click on the image above to read the full review.

Two Left Feet

Fúsi is a baggage handler at the airport, where he spends his days handling everyone else’s arrivals and departures. Unfortunately, it suits him well.  Enter Sjöfn, a spunky, but seriously flawed chick who introduces Fúsi to a whirlwind of new experiences he could hardly have conjured up for himself.  Fúsi then goes through all the pains of growing up; from the innocence and naiveté of childhood to a kind of mature and compassionate affection some adults never achieve. Click on the image above to read more about this little gem of a film.