CYRANO, MY LOVE – Review by Diane Carson

Familiarity with the legendary story of this seventeenth century nobleman’s travails may help viewers immerse themselves in the nineteenth century telling, helping suspend disbelief in this mannered presentation. Still, stereotypes abound, and dialogue is delivered as if the characters are on stage even when they aren’t. As rarefied as it is, cinema lovers who respond positively to admirable messages—don’t judge by appearance but by one’s heart—will enjoy this pleasant, albeit very theatrical, diversion.

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PAIN & GLORY – Review by Diane Carson

Multi-award winning Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar has impressed audiences, myself included, since the 80s with original, creative, provocative and often humorous narratives. His art direction—often riotously colorful—infuses compositions with dynamic energy. Now, after almost forty years, Almodóvar has made his most personal and deeply moving film, Pain and Glory.

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JOJO RABBIT – Review by Diane Carson

Some people consider satirizing the bigoted high and mighty unproductive. Others feel satire offers an effective way to bare and undermine evil, knowing laughter may be both therapeutic and effective, even politically empowering. Based on director Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, I’m in the latter camp, and all for more ridicule of depraved individuals.

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THE LIGHTHOUSE – Review by Diane Carson

The Lighthouse isolates two men with dire consequences.

With a haunting foghorn sounding at regular intervals and ominous music signaling dire prospects, a lighthouse slowly emerges from an all-but-impenetrable fog. Two men arrive for a four-week commitment on an island buffeted by storms, their stay defined by the steady psychological deterioration resulting from claustrophobic isolation. The Lighthouse is an intense immersion in the world of two unstable individuals.

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MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN – Review by Diane Carson

Motherless Brooklyn captures film noir style and story. As he acknowledged at the Telluride premiere for Motherless Brooklyn, actor/director Edward Norton loves film noir—narrative complexity, lighting keeping characters and motives in the dark, and a jazz score expressing and evoking strong emotions. Adding that he wanted to treat the characters “like Chandler detectives,” Norton revisits 1950s New York, that shadowy city of nefarious deeds and racist attitudes.

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JUDY – Review by Diane Carson

Simply titled Judy, director Rupert Goold’s film tackles the last year of Judy Garland’s life, 1968 to 1969. On the whole, it is not a happy one, given Judy’s reliance on alcohol and pills, a self-destructive addiction explored in flashbacks to MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer’s abusive treatment of her during the 1939 shoot of The Wizard of Oz.

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HONEYLAND – Review by Diane Carson

More a rich metaphor than a full-bodied story, Honeyland hangs by a thread on Hatidze. She collects wild honey in a remote mountainous part of Northern Macedonia, though it’s difficult to learn even this given the absence of details. Fascinating and frustrating, Honeyland raises numerous questions for which it provides few, if any, answers.

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BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE – Review by Diane Carson

The Swedish film Britt-Marie Was Here begins with the title character asking, “How do you live a life?” As deeply philosophical as this sounds, her answer is an amusing, disarming exploration. For Britt-Marie, a sixty-three-year old housewife, discovers her husband Kent’s long-term affair—at his hospital bed after he had a heart attack.

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AQUARELA – Review by Diane Carson

Without any narration, director Victor Kossakovsky’s documentary Aquarela pays homage to the majesty and power of water, along with the danger and tragedies global warming has caused. Observing but never interpreting, Kossakovsky travels the world: Greenland to Venezuela, Canada to Portugal, Russia to Costa Rica, in his tribute to water through absolutely astonishing images.

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Telluride Film Fest 2019: It’s a Wrap – Diane Carson reports

That no competitive awards are presented makes Telluride Film Festival a pure celebration of film as the aesthetic treasure it is. The festival’s 46th edition maintained its reputation for outstanding film selection, though more foreign films and more offerings directed by and starring women would have been welcome addition to the roster. Yet, the brilliant and varied program made for a great cinematic experience at Telluride 2019. It’s a good time to be a film lover.

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