For those whose memories of high school days are a bit clouded and sentimental, TRY HARDER!, Debbie Lum and Nico Opper’s documentary about students at San Francisco’s academic powerhouse, Lowell High, will be an eye-opener. Parents of toddlers who are already buying Ivy League sweatshirts in size 3T might do well to observe what happens when kids who try hard sometimes learn that they need to re-define what success means in the college admission process.
While this film is about the students, it is also about the way support from caring teachers, parents, counselors, and peers has an enormous impact on the levels of stress these kids experience while trying to do all the things necessary to be competitive in a process with nearly impossible odds. As an example, the kids hear that Stanford’s acceptance rate is around 4%. They already know how hard it is, but some will try and beat the odds anyway.
SIMPLE AS WATER is an exquisitely shot and urgent film that looks at war and displacement through the lens of parenthood. The San Francisco International Film Festival’s “Doc Stories” noted “The modern world has become all too familiar with images of refugees fleeing their homes, desensitized to the onslaught of harrowing images and heartbreaking stories. Academy Award® winner Megan Mylan (LOST BOYS OF SUDAN, SMILE PINKI) trains her lens on the everyday acts of courage and determination that drive her protagonists, featuring families in Turkey, Greece, the US, and Syria. From a soft-spoken Uber driver who sacrifices everything for his teenage brother to far-flung parents urged on by parental love, this timeless film explores ties that bind and the dreams that empower humans to overcome the unthinkable.”
We invite you to discover from Mylan’s film and this interview what happens after these displaced individuals find sanctuary and slip from the headlines?
The Stockholm Syndrome was not yet recognized in 1970, but Robert Hossein’s Falling Point (Point de chute) provides a thrilling depiction of the complex. Screening as part of Donald Malcolm’s MidCentury Productions’ “The French Had a Name For It,” his ongoing survey of French noir taking place at the Roxie, Nov. 12-14, this intimate drama stars pop star Johnny Hallyday at the height of his beauty as Vlad, a kidnapper holding teenage Catherine (Pascale Rivault) hostage at an isolated seaside cabin. While his confederates (Hossein and Albert Minski) are away dealing with the ransom, Catherine’s escape attempts perversely draw her closer to her abductor.
This year the 44th Mill Valley Film Festival has created a true hybrid with a full schedule of movies showing at the Rafael in San Rafael, Sequoia in Mill Valley and BAMPFA in Berkeley through Sunday, October 17.
40 of the programs will be streaming in your home via several platforms.
I really didn’t know if I was going to the 48th Telluride Film Festival this year. I had a pass in hand, but booking flights, finding a place to stay, and especially reserving a rental car seemed beyond me.
For over a year few of us could go to a theater and enjoy movies the way they were meant to be seen. Audiences are slowly feeling comfortable returning as theaters have made a host of improvements to protect us and to my knowledge no new cases of Covid have been tracked to a cinema.
If you love them movies I hope that you will enjoy this entire article.