The Human Rights Watch Film Festival -New York-June 10 to 19th

June 6, 2016 § Leave a comment

‘Almost Sunrise,’ is an open and honest documentary that discusses the emotional demons and moral injuries that some veterans face upon returning home from tours of war. What is a ‘Moral Injury’?  ‘Moral injury is a wound to the soul caused by participation in events that violate one’s deeply held sense of right and wrong.’

Being sent to combat at a young age, wondering why they were doing the things they were doing, yet being unable to question it, Tom Voss and Anthony Anderson felt as if they have done something morally wrong and wondered if they could ever be forgiven for their actions. Even years after returning home from war, they felt a deep sense of guilt, shame and anger. The therapy that the soldiers found solace and comfort from is a must for every healthcare provider to learn from.

Tom and Anthony walked 2700 miles in approximately 5 months, from the War Memorial in Milwaukee, WI to the Santa Monica Pier, in LA, raising awareness for vets, and restoring some level of faith and trust from the kindness they received from strangers they met along the way. The goal of the walk: to change the narrative, promote wellness, and change legislation.

Can they forgive and be forgiven?  Can their futures be brighter than their pasts? What healing and therapy techniques were used?

‘Almost Sunrise’ screens at the New York Human Rights Watch Film Festival on Saturday, June 11th at 9:15pm at IFC Center, and Monday, June 13th at 6:30pm at Lincoln Center.

To purchase tickets: http://ff.hrw.org/new-york

 

“Hunt for the Wilderpeople”

April 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is a lovable and funny adventure comedy.  Ricky Baker goes from being an unwanted  child passed around from foster home to foster home, to an outlaw on the run hiding in the New Zealand back country with his guardian.  The first scene opens up with a young Maori boy dressed in hip hop clothes and a bad attitude. His case worker drops him off by a police escort to his new foster home in the New Zealand countryside. Ricky takes a walk around the grounds of his new home, and goes right back to the police car.  His new, friendly Aunt Bella warms up to him, and he eventually comes around. She is so kind and loving to him that he really takes a liking to her. Bella’s husband, Hec, however, does not take a liking to Ricky at all. Not too long into the film, Bella suddenly dies of what appears to be a heart attack, and the case worker wants to come and collect Ricky to take him on to a new home because there is no female role in the home any longer. Defiant Ricky doesn’t want to leave, and instead, he and Hec decide to live like “The Revenant” in the hillside.  The two are notorious throughout the country, their photos plastered everywhere, it gets harder and harder for them to hide from the authorities, meanwhile their uncle/adopted son relationship grows stronger.

4/22: 6pm BTC7

 

 

“Reset”/”Releve”

April 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

Renowned choreographer and dancer, Benjamin Millepied, takes you behind the scenes during his time in the position as Director of Dance at the Opera National de Paris. Observe the dancers rehearse as they prepare for the upcoming gala performance of  ‘La Fille mal gardée (English: The Wayward Daughter, literal translation: “The Poorly Guarded Girl” and also known as The Girl Who Needed Watching) is a comic ballet, presented in two acts, inspired by Pierre-Antoine Baudouin‘s 1789 painting, La réprimande/Une jeune fille querellée par sa mère.’

What was most impressive in the film, aside from the graceful ballet choreography, was Benjamin’s terrific rapport with the troupe.  He knew the main female dancers; Leonore Baulac, Eleonore Guerineau, Aubane Philbert, Marion Barbeau, Letizia Galloni, Laurene Levy, Ida Viikinkoski, Jennifer Visocchi, and the main male dancers; Axel Ibot, Florimond Lorieux, Germain Louvet, Allister Madin, Hugo Marchand, Marc Moreau, Yvon Demol and Jeremy-Loup Quer, were a good group. As a result, his style reflected generosity without being militaristic, allowing them freedom, and complimenting them often.  He was grateful and thankful to the group for all of their hard work, which was very impressive.

“When I dance, I can communicate in a way and say things I can’t say in everyday life.”

Question: ‘What was it like having the film crew present?’

Benjamin Millepied: “I soon forgot about them. Their presence was more of a pleasure than a discomfort. I was quite at ease.”

Question: ‘You are sketching and taking photographs throughout the film. Do you enjoy taking photos?’

Benjamin Millepied: “Yes, I love taking photographs. It’s difficult to capture the beauty of an instant through the imagination alone. Filming is quite simply a tool for doing my job. Video allows me to take a certain distance from my ballet, to correct and improve it.”

Question: ‘What did you think when you saw ‘Reset’?’

Benjamin Millepied: “It was very interesting to see myself at work in the theater. The distance helped me understand a lot of things.”

Question: ‘Which films about dance left a great impression on you?’

Benjamin Millepied: “The Red Shoes,” “Black Swan,” “White Nights,” and “Singin’ In the Rain”

“Reset” is directed by Thierry Demaiziere and Alban Teurlai. They followed Benjamin every step during the creative process all the way up through the gala opening night.

Directors: “The visual approach is unadorned, shunning sophistication, yet carefully framed and focused. This results in a resolutely documentary look, but with an artistic touch which makes this a theatrica film. We want the spectator to be immersed in this universe, consciously or not, and to be faced with a story that has never before been told in this way, with the distinct feeling of being plunged into a genuine narrative.”

Music written by American composer, Nico Muhly.

4/21: 9pm BTC7

4/22: 9pm BTC7

4/23: 2:30pm RGL4

“Don’t Think Twice”

April 19, 2016 § Leave a comment

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This is a fascinating film from a psychosocial standpoint. Take a group of comedic improv actors known as “The Commune.” They have all worked together for over a decade.  Not only are they quick-witted with each other’s responses on stage, but they are also emotionally supportive of each other’s needs off stage as well. That is, until their theater is going to close down and a talent scout comes to observe them. Two walk away with auditions to a very well-known TV Comedy show.  Out of those two, one lands the job, and the other has to face her inner insecurities disallowing her to go on the audition. It is at this point when the group as a whole, no longer ‘has each other’s backs.’ There is jealousy, envy, and deceit. The teacher of the one who landed the TV gig, gets very upset because he taught him everything he knew, and outrage as the one who landed the TV gig, stole one of his friend’s jokes and used it on air. Some of the troupe’s relationships are falling apart, while others are getting closer together due a family member in crisis. Feelings of betrayal, success, insecurities, priorities, love, failure, support, non-support, and jealousy all resonate when everyone doesn’t make it to the top. The one’s on top are feeling the pressure, while other’s find their meaning to success in different ways.  Fascinating.

4/19 7pm BTC9

4/20 7pm BTC9

“Midsummer in Newtown”

April 19, 2016 § Leave a comment

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No words can ever describe the tragedy that took place in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012, however, filmmaker, Lloyd Kramer, took Shakespeare’s words and used them to aide the grieving town.  By performing in a musical version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the local students, aged 5 to 20, found a voice, expressed their feelings, and put their energy into something creative, confident building, and fun.  The film follows the students, their families, and the collaborators behind the scenes, as they prepare for the auditions, all the way up to the successful opening night. “Midsummer in Newtown” demonstrates how artistic expression can transform lives and be used as a positive outlet to combat negative emotions.  As you watch the students open up about their experiences, you observe the healing process take place.  Not only do the students heal, but the parents as well.  One of the parents, who lost his daughter, found solace by playing his saxophone, while his wife went to Washington, D.C. to discuss gun violence.

4/19 8:30pm BTC8

4/21 6:30pm BTC6

4/24 3:15pm BTC4

 

 

 

 

 

“Bugs”

April 17, 2016 § Leave a comment

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Lead food researcher, Josh Evans, from the Nordic Food Lab in Denmark, Ben Reade, and Chef Roberto, bring new meaning to the term “Farm-to-table molecular gastronomy.”

Fractioned fats from soldier fly larvae, aka maggot fats, chicken with garlic saffron sauce crumbed in buffalo worms, tabouli with locusts, dung beetle stew, noodles fried in soldier fly larvae fat, and rose beetle larvae, are just a few of the insects that the documentary “Bugs” shows being prepared and cooked up for edible consumption.

By 2050, the world will be home to over 9 billion people. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that food production will have to increase by 70%. Will insects become a crucial part of our diet, and a natural source of protein and nutrients?

Citizens of Thailand, Ghana, Mexico, China, Brazil, Australia,  Japan, and the Netherlands, are no strangers to entomophagy, or the practice of eating insects.

Travel with Josh and Ben to rural areas in Australia, Africa, Mexico, and Italy, to harvest termites, honey ants, crickets, grasshoppers, and watch them eat some of them raw, while others are prepared tasting menu style.

Disgusting or entrepreneurial?

“Bugs”

4/18: 7:30pm RGL9

4/20: 10:30pm RGL9

4/21: 2:30pm BTC8

One World Cinema

“Strike a Pose”

April 17, 2016 § Leave a comment

“Truth or Dare?” “Express Yourself” “Strike a Pose”

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Seven back up dancers (six gay, one straight),  joined Madonna on her “Blond Ambition” World Tour back in 1990. Madonna used that tour and the “Truth or Dare”documentary to shed light on gay rights,  AIDS awareness, and encouraging people to open up about their sexuality.  However, if you recall, there was a controversial kissing scene between two men in the film, and one of the men was ashamed of this kiss. He asked Madonna if she would cut the scene out of the documentary, as this would ‘out’ him to his family and friends, and when she refused,  three of the dancers filed a lawsuit against her.

25 year later, “Strike a Pose” discusses how the dancers have had a very difficult time living an ‘open’ life, are afraid to be the liberated men they portrayed on stage, and still to this day, have had a difficult time being themselves due to the judgmental beliefs of others.  Sad.

4/18 3:15pm BTC4

4/24 6:30pm BTC6