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— Claire C.
Film Reviews
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.

An Impossible Dream

As a place known only too well as one of international conflict and internal civil strife, modern day Iraq might seem an unlikely place for a film about two star-crossed lovers following an impossible dream.  In fact, the director of El Clasico, Halkawt Mustafa, has described how filming on location in Baghdad’s “Green Zone” was interrupted numerous times by nearby bombings. At the same time, perhaps the point of the storyline is made all the more poignant and persuasive when the internal ways of the heart can withstand all the slings and arrows the outside world can heave, and still triumph in the end.  With no U.S. commercial release for this film (only a few select festivals), this was Mountain Shadow's exclusive screening and selection for October, 2016. Click on the picture above to read the full review.

2nd Annual Short Film Competition

With the conclusion of our 2nd Annual Short Film Competition the weekend of September 16-17,  the consensus is in: “Wow, ten spectacular films by some remarkable filmmakers!”  All ten Finalists were winners for having beat out hundreds of other submissions; but you can click on the image above to find out the tallied results from the 300+ ballots cast from our three audiences. You can watch a YouTube video of the Q&A with the filmmakers here.