Now Showing at: Cincinnati World Cinema on January 15th - 16th.
Review by: Larry Thomas
It’s comforting to know that Cincinnati filmgoers can count on Cincinnati World Cinema to bring us programs of short films several times a year. Oscar nominated shorts and documentaries are a staple of their programming, and so is the annual Lunafest, a compilation of films by women filmmakers. The latest edition of Lunafest is next week, and as with past showings of this series, a portion of the ticket sales is donated to The Breast Cancer Fund and the Greater Cincinnati YWCA.
There are ten films in the 90-minute program. Most live up to their designation: short. The longest film in the collection is 21 minutes. The films have been thoughtfully chosen so as to include a spectrum of narrative, documentary and animation. Some are funny, others sad, one particularly heartbreaking. But all are just wonderful pieces of moviemaking.
The 21-minute film is Family Reunion from Iceland. A young woman returns home from New York for her Grandfather’s birthday celebration, while still trying to conceal from her family that she is a lesbian. It’s a terrific object lesson in “don’t sweat the small stuff.”
The Guarantee is animated to the voice over of Charles Farruggio, a ballet dancer with a big nose who decides to get a nose job. The time-lapse pencil illustration is fascinating to watch, and will likely require more than one viewing to absorb it all.
Make a Wish, from Palestine, chronicles the daylong efforts of a young girl and her sister to purchase a very special birthday cake. It’s warm and brilliantly acted by the two young stars, and may actually bring a tear to your eye.
The other seven films in Lunafest are equally intriguing, making it very difficult to pick a favorite. Unlike some short film collections in which the viewer exits the theatre feeling the weight of the world on his or her shoulders, the films in the 2008 Lunafest are…well…illuminating. Lessons are learned, stories are told, fun is had, and an incredible band of filmmakers get the opportunity to display their talents on a big screen.
In a time where commercial producers throw millions of dollars at the latest torture-horror film, or another dreary Adam Sandler comedy, it’s refreshing to see that somewhere, somehow, real moviemaking can be seen and appreciated. You need to make time in your schedule to attend.