Now Showing at: Cincinnati World Cinema: February 9 and 10 at the Carnegie Arts Center
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 there’s a variety. They have been selected from 600 entries worldwide. Countries represented are the US, England, India, Australia, Bulgaria, Brazil, China, Germany, and Israel.
The program begins with a delightful film from Israel called A Summer Rain. An 11-year-old Israeli girl, who knows very little English, immigrates with her family to Connecticut in 1982. At first, Ellie communicates a lot with her friends back home. But as things change and time passes, will she open up and make friends in this new land?
From Australia comes Plastic, the most whimsical film in the bunch. In its brief seven and a half minutes, Plastic manages to speak volumes about young women and the obsession with having a perfect body, and does so in a humorous fashion. It’s a charmer!
The centerpiece of the collection has high-profile talent, and a larger budget than most. Courteney Cox, from TV’s Friends, has written and directed The Monday Before Thanksgiving, a poignant drama about love, loss, and healing. The luminous Laura Dern stars as a woman who is unsure how to deal with the first anniversary of her mother’s death. Cox plays Dern’s best friend, and there’s a small, but pivotal role for Rosemary Harris. The Monday Before Thanksgiving is my favorite of this year’s winners.
Anjali looks at a rebellious Indian-American teenager, and how she must cope with a shocking revelation about one of her parents. In the course of this soul-searching, Anjali also finds a way to reconnect with, and understand, her mother on a deeper level. It’s a very good film with excellent performances.
On the negative side, several of the films are incredibly short, running from barely a minute to around three minutes. It can be a little disconcerting to begin getting wrapped up in a film only to discover it’s already over. But that’s a minor quibble.
Cincinnati World Cinema presents post-film discussion at both showings with filmmaker Sara Mahle Drabik from Northern Kentucky University, and Kristen Erwin, executive director for the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Film Commission. 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 enjoy some terrific films, while also supporting a most worthy cause.
Showings are at Covington’s Carnegie Arts Center Theatre this Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30 pm, preceded by a social hour and cash bar.