2013 Best Films List – Brendan Rose

2013 was a remarkable year in movies, with strong offerings across all the major sectors that attain American distribution – Hollywood; American independent; international art-house; and documentary. Bright spots abounded. An unusually high number of award-season Hollywood films, for instance, were of stellar quality (and could not all make this list). Moreover, a handful of the world’s cinematic masters made movies that lived up to the lofty reputations of their creators.

As with any year, there were also big-budget clunkers, half-baked indies and overhyped stocking stuffers, but 2013 will certainly be remembered for what it achieved rather than for which films disappointed. And as with any year, I have completed this list without having seen every promising film. To name a few: Bastards (Claire Denis); The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer); Ceasar Must Die (Paolo & Vittorio Taviani); The Square (Jehane Noujaim).

Without further ado, here is the 2013 list:

TOP TEN
1. 12 Years A Slave (Steve McQueen): In many respects, this is the preternaturally talented McQueen’s most traditional film, but it likewise stands as his most perfect work. Breathtaking performances, a ruthless script, and uncompromising direction make 12 Years the best film we’ve had about the scandalously under represented cinematic subject of United States slavery.

2. A Touch of Sin (Jia Zhangke): Another in ways conventional turn from one of world cinema’s true innovators, Jia’s rigorous exploration of straight-from-the-headlines violence within the underclass of industrial, rising China makes for a gripping action-drama as well as a cri de coeur for a more humane form of economic development.

3. Something in the Air (Olivier Assayas): Assayas’s melancholic, mesmerizing film drifts through the post-Soixante-Huitard malaise in France. The film’s lack of retrospective sentimentality along with its non-judgmental approach to the portrayal of youthful exuberance and political conviction are marks of its power.

4. Blue Is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche): Yes, one particular romantic scene shifts from necessarily revealing to perhaps male-gaze pornographic, but Kechiche’s latest is a masterpiece nonetheless. As a piece of cinema dedicated to the examination of young love as it evolves (and devolves) over time, few movies on the subject stand above it. Seydoux and Exarchopoulos captivate in their lead performances.

5. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater): The dynamic trio of Linklater-Delpy-Hawke once again astound with their through-the-years Jesse-Céline tale. This just-middle-age third installment captures spot-on truth-telling sequences amidst crumbling Peloponnese ruins and glimmering Aegean seascapes.

6. Reality (Matteo Garrone): If only everyone who watched Big Brother viewed this haunting but bountiful film about spectacle, reality television and celebrity-consumer obsession. Garrone, the director of the sensational organized-crime study Gomorrah, this time reveals the troubled, entertainment-addled heart of his country, and also of ours.

7. Her (Spike Jonze): The cyber tryst between Joaquin Phoenix’s Theodore Twombly and the Scarlett Johansson-voiced “Samantha” computer operating system plays out magically while Jonze’s anodyne, pastel-toned near-future metropolis secretly screams out in despair.

8. The Grandmaster (Wong Kar-Wai): Hong Kong master Wong reinvents the martial arts genre with this tight-focus, idiosyncratic tone poem of a film, one that feels more wistful expressionist painting than high-octane kung-fu flick.

9. Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach): Mumblecore star Greta Gerwig shines in Baumbach’s whimsical study of post-collegiate New Yorkers struggling to find purpose and recognition in a world indifferent to their carefully cultivated uniqueness.

10. Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler): First-time feature director Coogler and essential actor Michael B. Jordan take a tragic piece of news – the New Year’s 2009 murder of Oscar Grant III on an Oakland BART platform – and create a remarkably authentic, complex portrait of a young man whose life ended all too soon.

HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order): American Hustle (David O. Russell); Bling Ring (Sofia Coppola); Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen); Computer Chess (Andrew Bujalski); Dallas Buyers Club (Jean-Marc Vallée); La Grande Belleza (Paolo Sorrentino); Like Someone in Love (Abbas Kiarostami).

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.

Pacific Rim

There is an image in Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro’s live-action update of the Japanese mecha genre, where the huge head of Gipsy Danger, the giant mechanical robot (called a “Jaeger,” German for hunter) built to combat alien “Keiju” monsters, is on par with the tops of skyscrapers as Gipsy Danger moves through the rain-soaked streets of Hong Kong. It is an image that hypnotized me as if from a dream and kept me returning to the theater to see the film two more times. I had to see that image again; I longed to re-enter that film-dream just as when I awake from an actual and particularly interesting dream I’ll hit the snooze button to try and get a few more minutes with it. And that image from Pacific Rim had, in fact, invaded my dreams, speaking to me not of violence and a world at war with aliens but simply of pure awesome power. I’m still not sure if I wanted to be the robot, control the robot or simply watch as it lumbered through the dark city. But not since James Cameron’s Avatar had film images so invaded my conscience that I felt unavoidably drawn back to the images, actually felt a need to experience them again, and again.

Personally I’m not hot on films where actors don suits and save the world with super-powers. I was not a huge comic book fan growing up, save for Heavy Metal magazine which featured futuristic landscapes and fantastical pasts as opposed to superheroes. Usually the sight of an actor in a cape and mask, whether human (Batman) or alien (Superman) makes me have to fight to keep from laughing, though I admit I was swept up in some of the sequences of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy. Still, this past summer I slogged through Man of Steel, Wolverine, etc., partly out of my desire to simply see every film I can in an actual theater and partly hoping to be swept up in the pure visuals. But I found myself underwhelmed with the 2013 summer blockbusters until, finally, September was closing in and there was only one big one left: Pacific Rim, with its dubious tagline of “To fight monsters we created monsters.” So there I was, on one of the last precious weekends of the summer, popcorn to the left, soda to the right, trying to remain hopeful as the first images of Pacific Rim came on the screen.

What unfolded was more like a dream than any Hollywood big action movie I’ve seen in years (Avatar, 2009). If anything, Pacific Rim reminded me more of the great silent films (Intolerance, Ben Hur) that created utterly believable realties in the biggest most visual way. Perhaps it was the fact that the heroes of Pacific Rim are not super-heroes; they’re normal humans (albeit highly trained at kicking ass) with flaws whose “suits” are machines they control. No magical powers here. Perhaps it was the dark and intense palette del Toro and cinematographer Guillermo Navarro employed, one might say too dark at times during some of the fight scenes but isn’t that how dreams are when you try and remember them? Alternately sharp as reality and fuzzy at the edges. In fact, in addition to the image mentioned above, I found other images pleasantly invading my dreams, such as the robots being air-lifted and dropped into the churning ocean to do battle, or Mako (Rinko Kikuchi) losing control to the drift (the neural connection between the two pilots needed to operate each huge Jaeger) walking in an ethereal landscape into the memory of a nightmarish experience with a Keiju she experienced as a child.

This is the stuff move theaters were made for. Grand scale and a world that is fantastical but believable. And it all starts with a 16-minute pre-credit sequence that brings you immediately into that world. When the title finally comes up in a borderline-cheesy font, you just know you’re in for a fun and intense ride à la John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China. Within days of seeing the film, I wanted to be on that ride again and so within the week I returned to the theater and amazingly, enjoyed it even more, knowing the story now, able to focus more on the details. By the third time, it was like going to see a band perform whom I had seen many times before; I knew the “music” so well I could take time to focus on the edges of the screen, the edges of the scenes. A fourth time would have been absurd and I didn’t want to wear out that warm feeling, but now that Pacific Rim is out on DVD, I am trying to convince all my friends and film-goers who avoided it to give it the chance it deserves.

Is Pacific Rim a perfect film? No. Problems that were apparent in the first viewing only magnified upon subsequent viewings: the main character has no real arc; the greatest moment of victory comes during the penultimate fight not the climax. And why, if the aliens are clones, is one pregnant? These are hiccups along the way (and perhaps that pesky clone question will be answered in the sequel) but they fall away compared to the visual splendor, the pure visual excitement that del Toro and his team have created. Pacific Rim will be much smaller at home and for those who will only see it that way it will not have the impact it did in the theater. But for those who love action films, who truly love movies that take you into another world, I hope you’ll see it at least on DVD. I think you will be very pleasantly surprised.

Although Pacific Rim is not an independent film, as one of the most enjoyable films of the last five years or so I thought it worth writing about. Mike Fishman

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.

Blancanieves, reviewed by Shirley Rodríguez

“Gorgeous” was my first thought when I viewed the trailer for the new film Blancanieves, the Spanish reworking of The Brothers Grimm tale, Snow White. Written and directed by Pablo Berger, it is a black and white silent film in which the actors delivered their performances so beautifully, I barely acknowledged the title cards. I found it amusing that I was automatically lip-reading because I speak Spanish.

In works of art and films that I love, my one demand is that I have to FEEL and do so strongly. There is no lukewarm or tepid. NO. I’m not a fan of in-between. I must feel deeply and passionately.

Snow White has been retold so many times that knowing the story, I felt not much more could be told or expressed. I was so wrong. From beginning to end, I was lost in this hypnotic version as never before.

I was immediately drawn to it because of the cultural and time era elements. I love silent films, the 1920′s setting and the Spanish culture, which is close to my heart. I loved the passionate Flamenco score punctuating every emotion both so beautifully and heartwrenchingly painful throughout. Not a lot of films stay with me, but this one did without question.

The Artist, 2011′s black and white 1920′s era silent gem, was another favorite of mine. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Blancanieves takes elements of what I already loved about The Artist even further. It is by no means a copy, but an additional and welcome homage to the art of silent film. The cinematography is entrancing, darker and more intense, it consistently keeps pulling you in until the end.

There was no question I needed to see this film, and afterwards I left with such strong emotions. It is at times morbid, dark and twisted with a sprinkling of deviance but it is always beautiful.

The darkness and intensity was always present, but lifted and lowered with seamless timing, never feeling forced.

This version is set and opens in 1920′s Sevilla, Spain where we find Carmen de Triana (Inma Cuesta) and her husband Antonio Villalta (Daniel Giménez Cacho) the famous bullfighter. Carmen is pregnant and watching her husband in the ring where he is gored, which sets the story in motion. Moving forward, their daughter Carmencita (Sofía Oria), is now motherless and subsequently raised by her grandmother from birth. Her father re-marries a heartless, vain and sadistic woman who is bent on controlling every aspect of his life to her convenience.

As a little girl Carmencita, has a difficult journey. She does not know her father until several years later when she is taken to live in his house, but he is hidden from her by her evil stepmother who despises Carmencita. This is where she sees the darker side of life, a stark contrast to her life with her loving grandmother, Doña Concha ( Ángela Molina).

This time for Carmencita is riddled with pain and torment, but she is ultimately able to re-connect briefly with the father she knew of, but never knew before. For a moment, their loving relationship blooms and transcends any pain and sadness outside of it. His spirit is renewed and she learns valuable lessons from him which will serve her later. Their brief time together gives her the strength and knowledge she will call upon when she needs it most. I feel the true heart of this story is her relationship with her father Antonio

Several years later “Carmencita” is now a young woman and referred to as Carmen. Due to tragic and horrific circumstances she finds herself alone. Carmen/Blancanieves (Macarena García) is found and befriended by a troupe of dwarves who perform in bullfighting arenas. Her connection to this is immediate and natural, and she comes into her own finding her calling in working with them. All the while, her stepmother Encarna played to evil and over the top perfection by Maribel Verdú, follows her career from afar with malicious intentions.

The dwarves are at times humorous, dark and conflicted, but also deliver touching performances as Carmen’s/Blancanieves caretakers. With them, she finds somewhere she belongs at a time she has no one else.

Ultimately, we reach the conclusion we are familiar with, but it is delivered here in such an atypical beautifully sublime manner. I appreciated all of this film’s visual quirks and nuances which are jewels to be discovered. We are shown the spectrum of the beauty and ugliness of life. We also see that love, hope, determination and inner strength even at our lowest counts for much much more than we may think.

Some may see it as piggybacking on a trend/novelty (black and white, silent film, 1920′s) but this movie is strong all on its own. I just choose not to be that jaded.

Absolutely gorgeous and haunting, the beauty of Blancanieves was not lost on me.

Review by Shirley Rodríguez

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.

Alice Perry on cinematographer Janusz Kaminski

image

James Carville once said about his relationship with Mary Matalin, “You can hate the sin but love the sinner.”

I feel the same way about Janusz Kaminski, Steven Spielberg’s longtime cinematographer. Mr. Kaminski is a real artist, a real painter of light. His sin? Working with Steven Spielberg, one of the more heavy-handed (think of a sledge hammer repeatedly whacking your head) directors.

Independent filmmakers almost exclusively use the digital medium, but we can all learn a few things from a master manipulator of celluloid like Mr. Kaminski.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Mr. Kaminski described how he made “Lincoln” look like a timeless movie—not by CG effects but by simply moving the lights.

“I felt you had to pull back a bit, so as not to jar the audience,” he explained. “One way of achieving that is to not light the walls. They were not 100% unlit, but enough so that the colors of the walls and carpets were muted. You have to think about the philosophy of light. It’s supposed to be motivated by natural sources. But if that logic doesn’t work for dramatic reasons, you adjust.”

image

“For example, the gas lamps of Lincoln’s time wouldn’t give enough illumination for the cameras, which are not as sensitive as the eye,” he continues. “You cannot photograph a Spielberg movie using just candlelight. Stanley Kubrick did some shots like that, but with special lenses and just in certain scenes. If you light with just an oil lamp, you will see only the lamp and the face next to it. So I used the natural light in the scene and moved the film lights back. It’s a trick, a cheat. But it works.”

Mr. Kaminski also explained why some people believe that the acting was better during the black-and-white film era.

 “In color movies, actors are not always the main objects of illumination. Sometimes they’re not lit much at all, and audiences start appreciating things that aren’t the most important to the story. In black-and-white films, there’s no color to distract viewers. Consequently, actors in black-and-white movies are the main focus of the frame because they are often the brightest element in the frame. Because you’re not lighting the actors in color films, some attention is drawn away by that absence.”

Perhaps the use of black-and-white film in “The Artist” was the nudge that pushed the Oscar into Jean Dujardin’s hands last year.

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.

Alice Perry on Room 237

image

“Room 237,” a documentary about obsessive fans of “The Shining” who read meaning into the film’s most mundane details, opens at the end of March, and I’ll be the first, or last–depending on those rabid Kubrick devotees–in line.

I believe that the film contains footage from a documentary that Kubrick’s daughter, Vivian, made in 1980. It’s called “Making the Shining” (yes, just “Making,” not “Making of”), and you may be able to find it tacked onto “The Shining” DVD in the Extras’ section. Here are some of my favorite bits from the doc:

image

1) Jack Nicholson getting into character while swinging an ax — and almost knocking over an assistant director — and growling, “Death to pussy”;

image

2) Kubrick typing up script notes at the same table where Scatman Crothers and Danny have their “Shine” conversation;

image

3) a set worker tossing a bucket of fake blood on the wall;

image

4) Jack N. demonstrating how he marks up his script lines, a style he says he copied from Boris Karloff.

That picture of Kubrick at the typewriter reminded me of a scene in another “making of” documentary. In “Hearts of Darkness,” a doc about making “Apocalypse Now,” there’s an image of Francis Ford Coppola also at a typewriter.

image

Perhaps this is the start of a great idea: a photo book of great film directors on set at the typewriter, entitled “Directors Type.”

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.

2012 Best Film List – Brendan Rose

2012 will be remembered as a year of masterpieces (see the top half of this list), diverse gems from across the globe, and pleasing, if flawed, middlebrow Hollywood award-seekers, all in all making for an eclectic and exciting year for cinema.

The year’s offerings did have their shortcomings, however, especially in the American Independent world. In addition, a number of promising-seeming movies by big-name Anglo-American filmmakers fell completely flat (see ‘Biggest Disappointments’ below).

And, as with every year, there were plenty of well-regarded films, which I did not see in time for this list, especially a number of impressive-looking documentaries. With special apologies to films like Magic Mike, Red Hook Summer, How to Survive a Plague, Holy Motors, and many others, here is the 2012 list:

TOP TEN
1. Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan) – This elusive, visually stunning, modernist film wears its mystery plot light and its philosophical weight heavy; Ceylan takes a giant leap forward, entering the very upper echelon of world filmmakers.

2. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson) – Anderson wisely avoids a trite Scientology biopic, instead using his melancholic, drifting film to capture the post-war experience of a PTSD-plagued vet via Phoenix and to shine a light on low-grade demagoguery through Hoffman; Anderson now has two of the best American films of the last 25 years with The Master and There Will Be Blood.

3. Amour (Michael Haneke) – The Austrian master turns his rigorous camera toward the subject of love and still manages to plumb the depths of human violence; every image feels essential.

4. The Kid With A Bike (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne) – Another strong child-centered film by the inimitable Belgian fraternal duo unafraid to take on the most wholesome of virtues – in this case goodness and devotion – in the most gritty of manners.

5. Oslo, August 31 (Joachim Trier) – This pitch-perfect story of addiction, compressed into 24 hours of the protagonist’s life, once again confirms Trier as the poet laureate of bohemian-bourgeois Scandinavia.

6. This Is Not A Film (Jafar Panahi) – One of the world’s preeminent filmmakers copes with life in Tehran under house arrest by frenetically plotting out scenes on his floor, screening clips of his own films and palling around with his pet iguana; both the most bizarre and the most authentic film of the year.

7. Neighboring Sounds (Kleber Mendoca Filho) – A finely wrought social drama set on one block in Recife, which may also be read as an allegory of the history of violence in northeast Brazil.

8. The Day He Arrives (Hong Sang-Soo) – A playful cinematic experience of shifting identities, overlapping angles and wistful dreams; a film that trusts the power of the moment.

9. Argo (Ben Affleck) – Stellar semi-historical thriller in which Affleck nicely balances tension-fraught high-stakes hostage smuggling and a humorous look at Hollywood absurdity.

10. Bernie (Richard Linklater) – This Harold-and-Maude gone wrong tale vividly set in small-town Texas is constantly inventive, grimly humorous, and expertly performed.

HONORABLE MENTION (in no particular order): Bonsai (Cristián Jiménez); Life of Pi (Ang Lee); Barbara (Christian Petzold); Lincoln (Steven Spielberg); Miss Bala (Gerardo Naranjo); Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin); Silver Linings Playbook (David O Russell)

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS
1. Zero Dark Thirty (Katherine Bigelow) – By far the most disappointing film of the year; in fact, the most disturbing; a technically brilliant movie that glosses over the horrors of the war on terror and avoids the real facts concerning torture and evidence-gathering.

2. Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg) – A wretched adaptation of Don DeLillo, an almost comically bad movie, which reconfirms Cronenberg as one of our most overrated directors.

3. To Rome With Love (Woody Allen) – A solid section with Roberto Benigni and some expert shower-sung opera don’t save this meandering clunker.

4. The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan) – The flaws here are legion, but I’ll highlight two: (1) an all-too unfaithful Alfred cries his way through the picture dreaming of Italy; and (2) arch-villain Bane – an at first convincing-seeming foe – is given a ridiculous, humanizing backstory.

5. Skyfall (Sam Mendes) – A bloated, feckless attempt to round out Bond’s biography; moreover, why play the James Bond-is-getting-old card so soon with first-rate 007 Daniel Craig only three films deep into the franchise?”

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.

Athena Film Festival 2013

“Everyone knows that the absence of strong female characters in Hollywood films is epidemic. But we’ve found the antidote, albeit one that lasts only four days: the Athena Film Festival at Barnard College. Here’s a chance to see some Crushworthy cinema.” Alice Perry, CrushworthyMoms.

Read Alice Perry’s intriguing column about the 2013 Athena Film Festival at CrushworthyMoms.com:
http://www.crushworthymoms.com/2013/02/athena-film-festival/

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.

The Margaret Mead Film Festival, Nov. 29 – Dec, 2, 2012

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.

The Hamptons International Film Festival


United Artists, East Hampton

Another year, another Hamptons International Film Festival. Celebrating the fest’s 20th Anniversary, Executive Director Karen Arikien and Programmer David Nugent put together an exceptional line-up of screenings and programs (http://www.hamptonsfilmfest.org). Knowing I would necessarily miss a number of promising films, even with three screenings a day, I managed to shoe-horn in a brunch at the Maidstone Inn with Gotham Chopra who said a few interesting words about his new doc, Decoding Deepak, a portrait of his father Deepak Chopra.

Brunch with Gotham Chopra

So I saved In Your Dreams – Stevie Nicks for another time and honed in on a variety of features, docs, and shorts programs and was duly rewarded with a smorgasbord of entertainment. Among the features, the HBO-produced docudrama The Girl was a stand-out, with an outstanding performance from Sienna Miller as Tippi Hedren and Toby Jones proving mostly believable as a sadistic, sexually-frustrated Alfred Hitchcock obsessed with his latest blond actress.

Two notable docs that proved well-worth catching were The Standbys, a look at the trials and triumphs of three Broadway hopefuls who spend most of their would-be stage time in their dressing rooms waiting to see if tonight is the night they will actually go on stage. Was I worried the film might wallow in self-pity? Yes. Did it? Yes, but not over-whelmingly, just enough to remind viewers that these are, after all, people who grew up saying “Look at me!” Rounding out the docs was the excellent BBC-produced Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007, tracing the early history of the James Bond franchise, especially revealing in its exploration of the rift between Sean Connery, the original Bond, James Bond, and producer Cuby Broccoli, as well as some fascinating details about author Ian Fleming. Missing, though, was a real discussion of the famous music, opening titles and beautiful women that played such crucial roles in defining the lasting appeal of the spy thriller franchise.

Lastly, I was so glad I decided to catch the one feature-length animated film in the festival, the unusual Zarafa (http://www.patheinternational.com/en/fiche.php?id_film=701), based on the true story of the first giraffe introduced to Paris as a gift from Egypt to France’s King Charles X. This French-Belgium production is co-directed by Jean-Christophe Lie (The Triplets of Belleville, Disney’s Tarzan, Hercules and The Hunchback of Notre Dame) and offers glimpses of Belleville’s quirkiness while avoiding the often crowd-pandering nature of Disney films. A beautiful film of a journey filled with drama and gentle humor, and marked by an engrossing colorful palette. The unfolding nature of the filmmaking here creates a dream-like experience that should appeal to fans of animation and prove rewarding for young viewers. Mike Fishman

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.

Green, written and directed by Sophia Takal

Green, written and directed by Sophia Takal

Film review by Shirley Rodriguez

I love being pleasantly surprised. I especially love a surprise when it involves creativity and passion. This was the case when I was invited to a screening of Sophia Takal’s film Green at the Museum of Modern Art. The focus of the film is the jealous nature of Genevieve, played by Kate Lyn Sheil, whose jealousy steadily begins to consume her. I attended the screening knowing very little of the film, but left wanting to know everything. It is one thing to leave a film only questioning the film and another thing to question yourself. Green is both, it grips you while you watch it and haunts you long afterward.

Genevieve and her fiancé Sebastian played by Lawrence Michael Levine, Takal’s fiance in real life, are a young couple who move from the city to the country. The move is Sebastian’s decision and it’s clear that he is the one calling the shots. The change of environment brings at first subtle changes and subsequently role reversals. It feels as if the introduction of nature brings out the primitive and not so prim and discreet behaviors witnessed in their city life. Genevieve and Sebastian meet a young local named Robin, played by Takal herself. Robin both wittingly and unwittingly shakes up the couple’s relationship. The presence of Robin as the imagined rival to Genevieve becomes integral to Genevieve’s awakening. Genevieve’s previous passive aggressive personality now has Robin as a catalyst to express what before was hidden. The effect of the film is strong even when it is being subtle; the simmering frustration of a look or seemingly simple scene that speaks volumes with its body language and symbolism.

The subject of jealousy has been visited many times before in other films, but Takal makes it personal, intimate and awkward. Those who do not or have ever felt jealousy on the level of Genevieve’s character, cannot know how painful it is. Personally, I can attest to the pain, and thus could easily empathize. I admire Ms. Takal’s bravery in addressing the issue of jealousy because she is taking something so personal and sharing it with us. For those outside looking in on a jealous woman’s behavior, it can be easy to label it as “crazy.” It may be simple to label what you cannot comprehend, but upon closer investigation there are many layers and subtleties. Full blame in this case placed entirely on the jealous woman is not the entire story. In our real lives it also deserves a respectful and compassionate understanding. I have always known jealousy to be a highly controversial topic from it’s minimal to full blown expression. Some people may defend it and some may be against it, but none of us have escaped feeling it. The motivations may vary greatly, but the emotion is universal. Jealousy does not “just appear” out of nowhere and it is important to know where it stems from. Jealousy is defined by being fearful of losing something or someone you value to a rival. It can be trivialized, hidden, shameful or denied among other things, but cannot be eliminated. It can take hold of you at your best moments and when you least expect it. Sometimes the object of your affection can benignly or purposely trigger it by doing or not doing something.

After the screening in a Q&A session with Ms. Takal that also included her fiancé Mr. Levine, she spoke candidly and at times humorously of her personal experience with jealousy. They both shared how they have worked through it and continue to, putting a welcome positive spin on it. Green causes you to examine how jealousy plays a role in your relationships. It will push your buttons without hitting you over the head. Jealousy may be uncomfortable and taboo to some, but Ms. Takal confronts it with courage in the face of uncertainty. She serves as a medium to uncover this powerful emotion in an effort to find freedom in its expression. We may not get every answer we are looking for, but sometimes just being able to ask the questions is what we need.

Thank you again, Ms. Takal.

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.