The Cleveland International Film Festival is such an incredible experience and this year several of our staff members attending screenings. Here’s a compilation of some movies we saw.
Directed by Michael Engler, Screenplay written by Julian Fellowes, Based on the book Laura Moriarty
Starring Elizabeth McGovern and Haley lu Richardson
A young Louise Brooks has the opportunity of a lifetime to attend a dance institute in New York City in the 1920s, under the condition that she is accompanied by a chaperone. Local housewife, Norma Carlisle, volunteers to chaperone Louise and they embark on a life-changing adventure. Norma seizes the opportunity to find closure with her past and redefine her future.
Winner of the Roxanne T. Mueller Audience Choice Award
Directed by Max Carlson, Written by A. Shawn Austin, Starring Ana Ortiz, Taylor Buck, Martin Sheen
A persistent young girl is determined to take care of her mentally ill father who suffered a traumatic brain injury while serving in Iraq, and now lives with severe PTSD on the streets of LA’s skid row. This movie was beautifully shot with such a powerful message. If you get a chance watch it, be sure to have tissues on hand.
Shorts Program 3
Lunch Break – Directed by Tyler Smith
A Monsoon Date– Directed by Tanuja Chandra
Death Metal Grandma – Directed by Leah Galant
Bertie- Directed by Garry Crystal
Digital Age– Directed by Piripinghi
I am Black and Beautiful – Directed by Hawanatu Bangura
Light Work – Directed by Scott Kawczynski
With Thelma – Directed by Ann Sirot & Raphael Balboni
Directed and written by Florian David Fitz, Starring Florian David Fitz, Matthias Schweighöfer, Miriam Stein
Lifelong friends, Tony and Paul develop a software that helps big data companies precisely advertise consumer goods to users. As they are on the brink of breaking into a huge market, their egos force them to challenge each other in a bet. They make a bet that the other can’t live without all their stuff for 100 days. Each day they can reclaim one of their possessions. The movie was hysterical and a great commentary on how much time and energy we spend being consumers.
To Kid or Not to Kid is a documentary directed by Maxine Trump. My wife and I previously met the filmmaker and identified with the topic, so our schedule was centered around making sure we were in the audience for one of the screenings of this personal film during CIFF43. Maxine interviews several women and traces her own journey of deciding whether or not to be a mother. She explores how the medical industry makes it difficult for women to make choices about their own bodies. She examines the cultural/societal pressure that pushes women to have children and makes them feel as if something is wrong with them if they don’t either by choice or by chance.
Storm Boy is a family drama from Australia directed by Shawn Seet. Geoffrey Rush plays a retired business man. The movie is primarily his reminiscences of his childhood when he raised orphan pelicans. Like the many stories about a boy and his dog or a girl and her horse or any other kid learning about the circle of life from raising a pet this was a bit of a tearjerker. This is actually the second adaptation of a short book by the same name. The production design set in modern day and back in the ’50s is well done, and the cast does an excellent job.
Around the Sun is an indie drama directed by Oliver Krimpas. This British film consists entirely of two actors having various conversations at a French chateau. Our library was one of the sponsors of it. There are multiple chapters and parallel realities imagined through this film where the young man and woman are at the chateau for different reasons and they meet under slightly different circumstances. They discuss big ideas of science and philosophy and human relationships. It is a bit disorienting keeping the different versions of their story straight, but I liked it. It was a challenge like putting together a puzzle.
This film is a documentary about the scandal surrounding Malaysian wealth fund 1MDB. Investigative reporters from The New York Times and Wall Street Journal manage to trace the money trail and unravel the scheme. 3.5 billion dollars was allegedy stolen from a Malaysian government wealth fund called 1Malaysia Development Berhard. This fund was intended for strategic development projects in the areas of energy, real estate, tourism and agribusiness in Malaysia. To the utter dismay of the Malaysain people, this fund evolves into one of the world’s biggest white collar heists. Portions of the allegedly stolen money was used to bankroll the 2013 Leonardo DiCaprio blockbuster Wolf of Wall Street. This is a compelling film about greed and a financial scandal of global proportions. As a viewer, I was very engaged and on the edge of my seat.