Remembering Rightly

Remembering Rightly

Many of us are probably familiar with at least one variation of the Harry Truman quote, “I never gave anybody hell! I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell.” Perhaps less well known is Truman’s even more telling observation, “The only thing new in the world is the history you do not know.” Both of these sayings came to mind after previewing Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar’s film, “The Silence of Others.” This was Mountain Shadow’s selection for June, 2019, and you can read the full review by clicking on the image above.

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A Thing of Value

A Thing of Value

ONE LAST DEAL - An elderly art dealer, Olavi ,is about to retire, but he cannot imagine life without work. At an auction, an old painting catches his attention. Olavi suspects it is worth much more than its starting price, which is low because its authenticity hasn’t been confirmed. Olavi’s instincts kick in. He decides to make one last deal, with the help of his estranged grandson. This touching film from Finland was Mountain Shadow’s selection for May, 2019. Click on the image above to read our Review.

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Purgatory Revisited

Purgatory Revisited

In Christian Petzold’s film TRANSIT, the main character Georg has assumed the identity of a controversial dead writer, in his attempt to obtain a travel visa and escape a fascist regime that is closing in. While the film is adapted from a 1944 novel by the same name, the film takes place today in the city of Marseille; as if to suggest refugees seeking political asylum still occurs …. The film was Mountain Shadow’s selection for April, 2019, and the review can be read by clicking on the image above.

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Claiming a Life Worth Living: Putting a Little Kindness Back in Humankind

Claiming a Life Worth Living: Putting a Little Kindness Back in Humankind

“Capernaum” (“Chaos”) won Jury Prize at Cannes, and was a 2019 Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. It was Mountain Shadow’s selection for April, 2019. While it is not based on a true story, it is the truest possible story; because all the people who portray all the fictional characters in the film Nadine Labaki wrote and directed are not professional actors, but ordinary, real people who depict what it means to be human. Capernaum is a tough, gritty, episodic film to watch; where the best and worst in human-kind are exposed in the chaos humans can experience, inflict on one another, and endure. Click on the image above to read the full Mountain Shadow Review.

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A Life with a View

A Life with a View

Like all bio-pics PAULA combines historical fact about the early 20th century expressionis artist with a filmmaker’s imagination that fills in those places of unknowing with universal themes found in what is most common and familiar to the human story. It is in this sense that PAULA is far more than an early women’s empowerment story, or pictorial lecture in art history. To read a Mountain Shadow review of our January selection, click on the photo above.

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Sink, or Swim

Sink, or Swim

In the comedic British film, “Swimming with Men,” stayin’ alive is the challenge facing Eric, a middle-aged accountant executive whose hum-drum career, marriage and family life has become so utterly and predictably dull and meaningless that his only escape is swimming solo laps after work. That is, until one day he finds himself sinking – both literally and metaphorically -- to the bottom of the pool. Then he opens his eyes and sees before him the unlikeliest form of re-immersion, initiation and rebirth. His revelatory discovery is that it’s all about coming alive once again, while he’s in the water. To read the full Mountain Shadow review, click on the image above.

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VISION: For Those Who Have Eyes to See It

VISION: For Those Who Have Eyes to See It

Adorableness is a given when it comes to puppy movies. It’s also the “Ahhhhh-factor” when people so much as walk past the movie poster of Dana Bachman and Don Hardy’s documentary, “Pick of the Litter.” But it’s serious business when highly bred litters begin their training at facilities like Guide Dogs of the Blind (San Rafael), or Guide Dogs of the Desert (Palm Desert, California). To read a review of Mountain Shadow’s selection for November, 2018, click on the image above.

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The 4th Annual Short Film Competition

The 4th Annual Short Film Competition

Mountain Shadow’s 4th Annual Short Film Competition was held Sept. 14th – 15th at the Las Lomas Theater. Twenty-two volunteer-member jurors previewed 539 submissions and selected ten Finalists to present live-action, animated and documentary films in person for audience balloting and cash awards. Click on the image above to find out who won, and view a terrific YouTube video of the filmmaker’s Q&A with the audience!

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Love the One You're With

Love the One You're With

“The Cakemaker” - How does one grieve the loss of a lover? Especially a clandestine love who cannot be revealed? Seeking solace and resolution, two abandoned lovers instead try to love the one they’re with; in this critically-acclaimed German-Israeli drama that was Mountain Shadow’s selection for August, 2018. You can read Mountain Shadow’s film review by clicking on the image above.

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Lost and Found: A Once-Believer’s Trail

Lost and Found: A Once-Believer’s Trail

The Desert Bride is a quiet little gem of a film about an ordinary little life. It’s an allegory, filled with metaphors. There’s the desert of nothingness, filled with mythic beliefs in miracles that – like the winds – are strong enough to blow and toss one where one never could have imagined, or undertaken on one’s own. This film was Mountain Shadow’s selection for July, 2018. Click on the image above to read the Mountain Shadow film review.

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Life Lessons: What’s the Worth of a Teacher?

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.

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Places of the Heart

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.

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

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.

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Home Away from Home

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.

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Serious Monkey Business

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.

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Lend Me Your Ear

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. 

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Poetry in Motion

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.

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3rd Annual Short Film Competition

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.

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