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— Claire C.
Film Reviews
Life Lessons: What’s the Worth of a Teacher?

Life Lessons? What’s the worth of a teacher? In Santiago Rizzo’s autobiographical drama, an abused 12 year old graffiti addict has his life turned around by a humble middle school teacher and football coach in Berkeley; who believes that there is no such thing as a bad kid, only a bad situation. “Quest” was Mountain Shadow’s selection for June, 2018. To read the Review, click on the image above.

Places of the Heart

From Chile, Oscar winning “Best Foreign Language Film,” A Fantastic Woman is a readily recognizable love story; including a tragic twist. It is one in which one lover is lost to the other; with the one left behind having to learn how to muster the strength and courage to carry on alone. The unfolding drama is subsequently one that seeks the answer to a question with which anyone who has ever mourned can identify. How shall one grieve? And specifically with the particular set of circumstances in this story, how will Marina, a transgender person, be allowed to grieve the death of Orlando? This fantastic film was Mountain Shadow’s selection for May, 2018. Click on the image above to read the review.

Finding What Lasts Forever

FINDING WHAT LASTS FOREVER - A personal journey of self-discovery combines with a documentary to delight foodies, along with a beautiful travelogue of Italy! Click on the image above to read a film review and commentary of Mountain Shadow’s selection for April, 2018: Matteo Troncone’s document: “Arrangarsi - Pizza and the Art of Living”

The Mole Hill, the Mountain, and the Way Back Home

If one considers film an art form, and one subscribes to the maxim about art imitating life, then a fine film like THE INSULT is an excellent example. It is also an “everyman’s” story. Lebanon's submission for "Best Foreign Language Film," was aptly selected as one of five nominees at the 2018 Oscars. The film was Mountain Shadow's selection for March, 2018. Click on the image above to read a Mountain Shadow review of this film.

Home Away from Home

Journey, home and homecoming are universal themes, portrayed time and again in a stock story line. But they can be all the more powerful when depicted with characters who were once total strangers; but now find themselves thrown together by misfortune that becomes the catalyst for a semblance “family” where one never existed before. Such is the story line in Jackie van Beek’s slow-burn film, “The Inland Road.” To read a review of Mountain Shadow's selection for January, 2018, click on the image above.

Serious Monkey Business

Nearly sixty years ago, words like “liberated” -- let alone “empowered” -- were terms hardly associated with a woman’s role in Western society.  Now, in an era when TIME magazine’s “Person of the Year” are a group of women known as “The Silence Breakers,” it’s almost quaint to recall the scientific community’s surprise when a young British secretary with no formal training in their field made the cover of The National Geographic magazine in 1965. To read a review of Brett Morgen's documentary, JANE, click on the image above.

Lend Me Your Ear

LOVING VINCENT is the world’s first fully oil painted feature film. First shot as a live action film with actors, the film was then hand-painted over frame-by-frame in oils. The story line is a standard murder mystery. The total charm of the film, however, is to be found less in the who-done-it-if-Vincent-didn’t storyline; and more in the manner in which each character vividly comes to life as if van Gogh had painted them through his own artistic eye, in his own style. The film was Mountain Shadow's selection for November, 2017. Click on the image above to read a Mountain Shadow review. 

Poetry in Motion

When I see a limber ballet artist bend themselves in half or defy gravity by flying through the air like a leaping gazelle as a form of human expression, it is nothing short of pure poetry in motion.  Capture such visual expression with the eye of a director’s camera and a realistic script and you have the makings of a good film like “Polina.” This was Mountain Shadow's selection for October, 2017. To read the Review, click on the image above.

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 read the full review, click on the image above. To watch a YouTube presentation of the filmmaker's personal statements about their works, 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