THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND – Review by Diane Carson

Some rare, remarkable stories are the kind I wish were true, and fortunately The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is. Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor knew its inspirational uniqueness as soon as he read William Kamkwamba’s 2016 book of the film’s title, chronicling the true story of thirteen-year-old William, loving school and science.

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Applause for True/False Film Festival 2019 – Diane Carson reports

Superb organization and the extremely entertaining True/False environment notwithstanding, we’re there for the films, an impressive selection of the best documentaries and, in a Neither/Nor sidebar, films that blur fiction and nonfiction. The lion’s share has regularly taken my breath away. This year I saw 16 films in three-and-a-half days. Those most memorable are as follows.

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APOLLO 11 – Review by Diane Carson

Apollo 11 astonishes and amazes with newly discovered NASA footage. The facts of the July 21, 1969 historic Apollo 11 flight to the moon and Neil Armstrong’s iconic first step on it are well known. But the experience, as never before seen by a cinema audience, comes to eloquent life in director and editor Todd Douglas Miller’s documentary Apollo 11.

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THE INVISIBLES – Review by Diane Carson

Adding to the astonishing true stories of life in Nazi Germany, The Invisibles dramatizes the improbable experiences of four young Jewish men and women hiding in plain sight in Berlin during WWII. German writer/director Claus Räfle expertly intertwines the featured survivors’ formidable contemporary interviews, black-and-white archival footage from 1940s Berlin, and color reenactments of critical moments and desperate decisions.

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NEVER LOOK AWAY – Review by Diane Carson

Writer/director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s “em>Never Look Away is an ambitious film, succeeding in some ways, failing in others. At its essence, it questions the theoretical nature of art, both the stimulus and achievement of the painter and the contribution to the society it serves. However, its three hours plus bogs down in melodrama, weak acting and muddled ideas.

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OSCAR NOMINATED ANIMATION SHORTS – Review by Diane Carson

Each year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominates five short films for the Best Animation Oscar. This year’s compilation offers diversity. From hand drawn to computer animation, with everything from muted to vibrant colors, realistic to surreal scenes, these five Oscar nominees testify to the wide range of subjects and styles gracing animation.

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OSCAR NOMINATED DOCUMENTARY SHORTS 2019 — Review by Diane Carson

Each year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominates five films for the Short Documentary Oscar. This year’s five contenders are in equal measure heartbreaking and uplifting. Each confronts a calamitous problem, and yet individuals achieve breakthroughs to impressive awareness or astonishingly respond admirably to those in dire need.

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COLD WAR – Review by Diane Carson

Oppressive political policies often come most alive when embedded in strong personal stories. That’s the case in writer/director Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War. In 1949 Poland, three workers travel the countryside in a van collecting folk music on audiotape all in honor of the nation. A favored few singers and dancers will be chosen to represent their People’s culture.

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CAPERNAUM – Review by Diane Carson

The title of Lebanon’s submission for a Best Foreign Film Oscar is Capernaum, literally the name of a fishing village on the Sea of Galilea in Biblical Palestine. More appropriate to events in director Nadine Labaki’s film, Capernaum signifies, as the subtitle states, chaos, that is, disorder, a state of anarchical disarray. The twelve-year-old protagonist Zain would surely agree.

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