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Rated Various
Now Showing at: Cincinnati World Cinema January 27 and 28.
Review by: Larry Thomas

Cincinnati World Cinema is the only local purveyor of short films, and as in past years, it’s time once again for the annual LunaFest collection. This collection of ten titles is made by women and about women, but is for everyone with a serious love of film and quality filmmaking.

As in any compilation, not everyone will like every film, but every film is worth seeing. They have been selected from 600 entries worldwide. Countries represented are the US, Canada, England, Hungary, India, Iran, the Philippines, and Portugal.

To begin the evening on a high note, the best film in the package is shown first. It’s called Big Girl, from Canada, and is about a test of wills between a nine-year-old girl and her mother’s potential new boyfriend. Josephine is giving Gerry a hard time, as she’s still attached to her father. But Gerry proposes a challenge: five different competitions between the two, with the winner getting at least three out of five. If Josephine wins, Gerry will go away. If Gerry wins, Josephine will give him a chance to prove himself. The quality of the filmmaking, performances, and script provide, in its brief fourteen minutes, more heart and emotion than all the PG-rated so-called family films released in a year to the plexes. Big Girl is just outstanding.

Another Canadian winner is Sarah in the Dark. Sarah is somewhat shy and tentative in her life, decisions, and relationships. This self-doubt manifests itself in the person of an imaginary observer, who is male, and incredibly obnoxious, and who offers nothing but snide, negative comments. How Sarah overcomes this monkey on her back is not only well-told, but manages to do so in eleven minutes.

There are sports documentaries made all the time for theatrical and television use…way too many to enumerate. But try to think of the last time you saw a documentary about high school and college level women’s wrestling. Grappling Girls tells the story of this growing sport on both the scholastic and Olympic levels. Any high school girl who strives to excel at athletics, in any field, should see this film.

The one animated film in the batch is a real delight. My First Crush from England takes voice recording of different people reflecting on their early romances, and sets them to animated animals and images. The style is fetching, the stories both heartbreaking and romantic, and is the kind of film that could go on for much longer than it’s allotted running time.

As always, Cincinnati World Cinema presents post-film discussion with several women filmmakers, and it’s worth staying for the Q&A session.

Another facet of LunaFest is that the showing and distribution of these films raises needed money for The Breast Cancer Fund, so you will be able to enjoy some terrific films, while also supporting a terrific cause.

Showings are at the Cincinnati Art Museum’s auditorium this Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 pm.


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