MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 22, 2019: SHOOTING THE MAFIA

Anyone who’s ever winced at the mob violence and manipulation in The Godfather will quickly realize it has nothing on the real-life crimes of the Italian Mafia, as captured through Letitzia Battaglia’s talented eye and focused lens. The fearless photographer is the subject of Kim Longinotto’s fascinating documentary Shooting the Mafia.

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SHOOTING THE MAFIA – Review by Sheila Roberts

The brutal atrocities of life and death under the Mafia have rarely been captured in such a riveting way as they were by acclaimed Italian photojournalist Letizia Battaglia, the fascinating subject of filmmaker Kim Longinotto’s engrossing documentary, Shooting the Mafia. Battaglia’s photos encompassed the gamut of Sicilian life starting in the early 1970s, but the vast majority focused on violent Mafia crimes and their impact on the people of Palermo. Battaglia acknowledges that making a living documenting terrifying violence and receiving death threats, took an emotional toll, but she rarely let fear stop her. She knew she was being watched, and she learned quickly how to cough to conceal the click of her camera at the victims’ funerals.

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SHOOTING THE MOB – Review by Leslie Combemale

Battaglia had a fearlessness that is powerfully feminist, and the viewers experience her complicated perspective as an Italian woman with a passion for her work. We are drawn into her conflicted feelings about a subject matter that, at its core, expresses violence, cruelty. and pain. Shooting the Mafia is imperfect, but it shines a light on a complicated woman and truly compelling artist.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 15, 2019: ATLANTICS

Dreamy and full of unexpected twists, Mati Diop’s narrative debut Atlantics — Grand Jury Prize winner at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival — is simultaneously a tender tale of star-crossed lovers, an eerie ghost story, and a gritty procedural. That unusual combination keeps it surprising and engaging throughout and underlines writer/director Diop’s notable talent.

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Filmmaker Alma Har’el on Shia LeBeouf and the Truth of HONEY BOY – Sarah Knight Adams interviews

Honey Boy, her first narrative feature film, premiered in the dramatic competition at Sundance 2019, where Alma Har’el won the Special Jury Award for Vision and Craft. Honey Boy is based on the volatile upbringing of actor Shia LeBeouf, who wrote the script during his ordered re-hab stay. He reached out to Har’el and asked her to direct the feature film about his life, with him playing the character based on his father, a rodeo-clown, haunted with regrets.

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ATLANTICS – Review by Loren King

What a stunning, original, visually striking feature debut from Mati Diop. Senegal’s entry for Best International Film Oscar consideration,Atlantics made history and generated wide interest when it won the Grand Prix at Cannes. Not just that, but Diop, who is of African and French heritage, became the first black woman to direct a film featured in the Festival’s Competition section.

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ATLANTICS – Review by Sheila Roberts

Mati Diop’s highly original film is a magical and mysterious tale told from the female-centric perspective of those left behind. It’s filled with ghostly apparitions that capture both the plight of the migrant crisis and the life altering impact of genuine love. Ada’s dreams, nightmares and memories are central to her African identity. They are omens that remind her of who she is, what she can become, and how the future belongs to her.

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HONEY BOY – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

In Honey Boy, Shia LeBeouf takes ownership of his own screwed-up childhood back when he starred on a Disney Channel series and splashes it on the big screen in a form of performance therapy. This biographical shrink session, based on a script he wrote as part of his rehab, is a far cry from his Transformers sci-fi blockbusters that get a skewering in the opening moments. On top of that, he makes matters even more interesting by playing his own shiftless, unstable and self-absorbed abusive father – probably the most honest acting he will ever achieve as he attempts to shoo away the demons that haunt him.

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HONEY BOY – Review by Loren King

Alma Har’el, best known for the 2011 documentary Bombay Beach with its intimate moments of beauty in a gritty story about life on the margins, must be credited for the searing, memory-soaked urgency of Honey Boy, her fiction directing debut. What could have been a maudlin melodrama about family dysfunction is instead, despite the heartbreaking and disturbing abusive father-son relationship at the center, a haunting and lyrical memory piece.

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