DECEPTION – Review by Joan Amenn

It helps, but is not mandatory, to know something about the work of author Philip Roth when viewing this adaptation of his novel, Deception. The book is mostly dialog between its two main characters so any attempt at translating it to film is a daring project. Director Arnaud Desplechin takes it on with a strong sense of the rhythmic nature of the give and take between the two lovers that make up the plot. However, the underlying themes of self-loathing and obsession bog down the story, making it feel stifling and static at times.

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SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FEST WRAP – Joan Amenn reports

Since 1976, the Seattle International Film Festival has been a welcoming venue for those underrepresented creatives who have struggled to have their voices heard and their visions seen. SIFF has grown to be a year-round source of inspiration with many events being offered and even a summer camp for kids, but the festival is its heart. Held this year from Apr 14 – 24), the festival’s focus was — as it has always been — on diversity.

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UNPLUGGING – Review by Joan Amenn

Unplugging goes all in on exploring the pitfalls of our addictions to our electronic devices, in a shrewdly satirical and slightly annoying way. The jokes don’t always land but the main characters, a couple who are trying to reconnect with each other, are amusing enough to keep us journeying with them in their weekend escape from the pressures of email, texting, and roaming Wi-Fi connections.

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WOMEN OF THE WHITE BUFFALO – Review by Joan Amenn

We learn about the Lakota tribe in South Dakota in director Deborah Anderson’s heartbreaking documentary, Women of the White Buffalo. Despite crushing obstacles to the preservation of their culture and their language, there are women in the tribe who are fighting for their way of life to endure. Only someone with a true warrior’s spirit could face the personal struggles and the historical tragedies of the Lakota people and continue to safeguard their traditions, but these women are following in the footsteps of their matriarchal ancestors and are resolute.

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THE PRANK (SXSW 2022) – Review by Joan Amenn

The Prank purrs like a twisted kitten when Rita Moreno and David Keith face off against each other. As high school physics teacher Mrs. Wheeler and principal Henderson respectively, there mutual loathing bubbling under a veneer of professional courtesy is just priceless. There are some great moments of satirical commentary about the fleeting attention spans induced by social media but the plot is fairly predictable.

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THE INVISIBLE FATHER – Review by Joan Amenn

The Invisible Father is a wistful and warm look back by director Therese Heliczer on the life of a father she never knew. He was Piero Heliczer, one of the creative forces behind the underground cinema movement that ignited New York and inspired musicians like the Velvet Underground in the 1960’s. Previously, he was a beat poet alongside the likes of Allen Ginsberg. However, Piero is all but forgotten now and Therese has made it her mission to help correct that with this film.

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CYRANO – Review by Joan Amenn

Sometimes a film takes a second viewing to make you aware of how much it moves you. If you have a rather cynical view of romance, perhaps, “Cyrano” (2021) won’t be your cup of tea. Or you might find yourself humming one of the tunes from the soundtrack days later and realize this very romantic film has worked itself through your thorny defenses despite yourself. I confess I am in the latter camp.

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