Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Ajami is an amazing film. The range of emotions I felt truly ran the gamut. When will America make films that have matter and make you feel? Films, movies, cinema is not just about substance, it is about creating dynamic and broad cinematic images and storytelling that inform and entertain all at once.

Nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film 2009, Ajami, is the story of families, clans, gangsters, policemen and friendships on the West Bank's Jaffa neighborhood. After their uncle shoots an important clan member, 13-year-old Nasri (Fouad Habash) and his older brother, Omar (Shahir Kabaha), finds their entire family and lives in danger. While members of the community struggle to negotiate a peace agreement Omar employs the assistance of his friend Malek (Ibrahim Frege) and takes things into his own hands.

Ajami is an important film from the region, as it is modern. It unfolds and tells of the social issues, family bonds and day to day struggle in a world which seems to only know the international turmoils when at the end of the day there are real people living on the West Bank. The West Back is a mixture of cultures and diverse views from Muslins, Jews and Christians.

Afterall Ajami is a neighborhood - a vibrant international community you can visit thanks to filmmakers Yaron Shani and Scandar Copti.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Kids Are All Right

"The Kids Are All Right" is a Lisa Cholodenko film. Annette Bening and Julianne Moore are Nic and Jules, are a lesbian couple with two kids. The teens share a biological father via an anonymous sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo). Their family life is unexotic, unglamorous and totally routine like most American families until daughter Joni (Mia Wasikowska), having turned 18, gets in touch with their biological father. And there begins a hollywood film with smart dialogue and great acting.

It's a movie about basic things, about the meaning of family and the vulnerability of families. I wish it was about the complexity of relationships. The evolution of family not basic things. I wanted to be taken for a ride. I wanted to see something other than a movie. It is a good movie. But in the end it was like any other accept some people were acting gay.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

35 Shots or Rum

Silent waters run deep in Claire Denis' serene drama 35 Shots of Rum. 35 Shots focuses on four inhabitants of a French apartment building centering most on Lionel (Alex Descas). The stoic Lionel, a train engineer, shares his apartment with his daughter Jo (Mati Diop). The two other characters and potential mates are their neighbors Gabrielle (Nicole Dogué), a taxi, and mysterious and sexy Noé (Grégoire Colin).

The characters build boxes around themselves, mistaking their private shelter for safety. Breaking out relies on finding a balance between old and new, and in having the guts to knock down the walls and really change.

See just how many shots it takes to get out on your own or coupled. Great film.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Watermelon Woman

Cheryl Dunye's debut feature film The Watermelon Woman is so entertaining. It is so original, so smart, so funny and so indie.

The Watermelon Woman is the story of a budding young Black lesbian filmmaker, Cheryl, in Philadelphia struggling to make a documentary about Fae Richards, a beautiful and elusive 1930s black film actress known as "The Watermelon Woman."

While uncovering the untold history of the fictional Fae Richards, Cheryl's personal life is subject to the comic yet biting criticism of her best friend, Tamara, when Cheryl meets and engages in a relationship with a white lesbian.

Get yourself a slice and cool out with The Watermelon Woman.