FIRE IN PARADISE: Questioning the New Normal

by C.J. Hirschfield

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The new Netflix documentary Fire in Paradise was planned for release near the one-year anniversary of the Camp Fire in Butte County, the country’s deadliest wildfire in over a century. The fire killed 85 people in the town of Paradise. As the film’s November 1st release date approached, Oakland-based co-director Drea Cooper recalls feeling good that the 2019 fire season was not as bad as last year. But by the time the actual date arrived, the entire state of California had endured three weeks of flames, and causing millions of people to be without power–including Drea and his family. “Surreal,” is how he puts it. Surreal, but as the film suggests, also the new normal.

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MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL 42 – Part 2 a BIG FINISH!

By Meredith Brody

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Spotlight on Kristen Stewart | SEBERG | Photo © Jonathan Scott Shensa

The programmers at the 42nd Mill Valley Film Festival (October 3rd through 13th) have saved some of the best for last – plums are studded through the second half of the festival (Click film titles to open a new window taking you to full details, showtimes and  ticket purchase), including on Wednesday October 9th WAVES , its “Centerpiece” film, showing at 7 pm at the Rafael (repeated 11:30 am on Friday October 11th at the Sequoia).  Continue reading

SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN FOREVER

by Gary Meyer
ON THE TOWN, ROYAL WEDDING, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, IT’S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER, FUNNY FACE, THE PAJAMA GAME, INDISCREET, DAMN YANKEES, CHARADE, ARABESQUE, TWO FOR THE ROAD and BEDAZZLED.

All winners in our book.  Hollywood’s elite agree.  And yet the man who directed them all, Stanley Donen never was even nominated for an Oscar.
On the eve of the 2019 Academy Awards we are saddened to learn of his passing but happy that he lived a full 94 years and gave movie audiences many hours of pleasure.  It will be interesting to see how they work Stanley into the Oscar “In Memory” reel.
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LISTEN TO THE ELEPHANT PATH

by Kristy O’Brien

ELEPHANT PATH/NJAIA NJOKU will have its World Premiere at the San Francisco Docfest on Sunday, June 10 and Tuesday, June 12.

There is something about being in nature that instantly calms you. Being surrounded by majestic towering trees or open skies instead of austere concrete seems to turn off the chatty mind and widen the eyes and ears eager to take in all the colors and sounds, be they subtle or bold. Becoming attuned to the multitude of these details can make us feel both insignificant as individuals but also deeply connected and integral to the process as a whole.

Image result for todd mcgrain elephant pathArtist Todd McGrain‘s beautifully crafted and poetic documentary Elephant Path/Njaia Njoku starts out much the same way, as an invitation to slow down and enjoy the natural rhythm of Dzanga Bai (Village of Elephants) in the Central African Republic (CAR).

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