Film Reviews

One Little, Two Little, 40 Little Indies

Page 3 of 5

Noted: Kuttner was born in Munich but moved to NYC in 1975. He has worked with David Lynch, and apparently lived to tell the tale.

Honey and Ashes
(country not listed), directed by Nadia Fares.
This film takes us into the lives of three Islamic women living in an unnamed North African country. They're caught between tradition and modernity; in particular, the young woman is turned out by her father after insisting on seeing the boy she loves, even though he's been pledged to his cousin. The fact that she then turns to prostitution to work her way through prep school is presented in refreshingly matter-of-fact terms. And though there is a feminist polemic here, it's presented in dramatic and human terms, rather than as a harangue. It loses steam toward the end, but is still one of the festival's stronger films.

Noted: Director Fares is half-Egyptian, half-Swiss. This is her first feature.

Hurricane Festival
United States, directed by Chi Y. Lee (Not reviewed).
This sounds like fun: A street musician stabs the host of a party and winds up in a jail cell with a retarded kid with a great sense of smell. The magician decides to work the kid into his act, and both dream of becoming rich and famous.

Noted: Chi has an M.A. in psychology from UCLA. The script for Hurricane Festival previously won a screenwriting award from Worldfest.

The Inner Sanctuary
Australia, directed by Chris Clarke.
In this earnest little number, a very yuppie accountant makes fun of a co-worker who happens to be his boss's son-in-law, and so the yuppie is taught a lesson. He's sent to balance the books of a hopelessly unbalanced Catholic social-service center, where the good father cares less about cleaning up his books than about cleaning up the vomit his misfits squirt forth with alarming frequency. Not surprisingly, the accountant's eyes are opened -- there's more to life than a balance sheet. But his humanization happens too fast, and he doesn't resist the process hard enough. Too unsubtle by a mile.

Noted: Before this, his debut, Clarke made documentaries and commercials.

Katuwira: Donde Nacen y Mueren Los Suenos
Mexico, directed by enigo Vallejo-Nagera (Not reviewed).
This one sounds like an exercise in magical realism. It concerns the efforts of a computer scientist and a botanist who are looking for a supernaturally potent flower. The conflict is simple enough; one guy wants to help the world; the other just wants to get rich.

The Lesser Evil
United States, directed by David Mackay (Not reviewed).
In yet another old-friends-bound-by-a-tragic-youthful-error tale, we have a priest, a cop, a lawyer and a businessman reliving the bloody events of a night now 22 years old. A clue has surfaced, and one of them is going to be in big trouble.

Noted: Mackay has a B.A. in economics from Stanford, and worked in the American Stock Exchange before taking up filmmaking. He's currently shooting a film with Kyle MacLachlan.

Lilian's Story
Australia, directed by Jerzy Domaradzki (Not reviewed).
Lilian was unjustly locked away in a mental institution for 40 years; now she's out and trying to win back her father's love, coaxing him with lines from Shakespeare. Father is unresponsive, and the harder she tries to win him back, the more clearly she understands what happened to her all those years years before.

Noted: Domaradzki graduated from the celebrated film school in Lodz, Poland, in 1974.

Medusa
Greece, directed by George Lazopoulos.
This is a thorough updating of the Medusa myth, and a fairly interesting one, even though it feels more like a Hammer horror film than a Greek classic. In the Greece of today, realistic, fully dressed marble statues of men are turning up everywhere. Turns out that these men had the misfortune to look into the eyes of the old hag herself. She still looks pretty good, actually, until she takes those dark glasses off. The film has a compelling subtext; Percy (though he keeps saying, "Don't call me Percy") mysteriously lost his parents when he was just a child. When he and some partners in crime break into Medusa's house to rob her, he recognizes it as his old homestead. He may recognize some of the statues in the unusual art garden, as well.

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David Theis
Contact: David Theis