Currently Browsing: Rachel A. Kastner

SOUTHWEST OF SALEM

In her newest work, Deborah S. Esquenazi documents the story of the ‘San Antonio Four,’ four women who were charged with the raping of two young girls in Texas in the late 80s. It has been a controversial case that to date, is still awaiting a final decision by the judicial system. Southwest of Salem: […]

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A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS

As much as one might want to love A Tale of Love and Darkness, it is difficult to do so. Natalie Portman’s directorial debut was meant to inspire others by sharing the life story of Amos Oz, a famous Israeli storyteller; but it gets dragged down in dreary sidestory ultimately fails to invigorate the audience […]

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HOOLIGAN SPARROW

Watching Hooligan Sparrow, it is impossible not to think “This is what documentary filmmaking is all about!” Director Nanfu Wang courageously exposes the trials and danger that woman’s rights activist Ye Hiang (aka “Sparrow”) faces in daily life in China. Through the moments it captures–and perhaps more importantly, the moments it fails to capture–Nanfu Wang’s […]

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JOE’S VIOLIN

When 91-year-old Holocaust survivor Joe Feingold donates his 70-year-old violin to a collection drive for NYC schoolchildren, he never expected that it would fall into the hands of a very special girl at a very unique school. Joe’s Violin captures an emotional inter-generational story and is witness to history being passed over from an elderly Jewish […]

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SEPTEMBERS OF SHIRAZ

Septembers of Shiraz–based on an award winning novel by Dalia Sofer– falls short of expectations. Directed by Wayne Blair and written by Hanna Weg, the problems with Septembers of Shiraz stem from a clear inability to translate the novel’s nuances into the film’s screenplay. The lead actors’ attempts to produce believable Iranian accents were distracting, taking […]

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BANG GANG

Bang Gang: A Modern Love Story is a thrilling and ‘artsy’ French film detailing the escapades of French youths as they discover and explore their sexuality –all together –in an attempt to feel “free.” Eva Husson’s debut feature is a dreamy view of youth promiscuity. What it lacks in “consequence” (that the stakes aren’t very […]

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CALL HER APPLEBROOG

Filmmaker Beth B may be the only person capable of filming such an in depth portrait of her mother, artist Ida Applebroog. Call Her Applebroog is an depth look at Ida’s life, groundbreaking work, and unique view of the world. It serves as an archive of her life’s work and opens Ida’s story to the […]

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A LA VIE

All Holocaust survivors carry within them individual traumas, memories and burdens from their dark past. Based on his mother’s experiences, director Jean-Jacques Zilbermann’s A La Vie explores the complexities of life, love and friendship after the Holocaust by following what happens when three friends from Auschwitz reunite after 15 years. Although Zilbermann intertwines delicate moments of truth […]

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LOVE ADDICT

Love Addict is a flailing effort at a bearable romantic comedy. Director Charis Orchard’s film follows “Owen Maxwell” (Elliot Haddaway), a successful divorce attorney and grotesque womanizer, as he faces the greatest challenge of his life: instead of helping to alleviate his cigarette addiction, his hypnotherapist hypnotizes him into developing an allergy to his favorite […]

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CATCHING THE SUN

Filled with meaningful interviews and beautiful landscape shots, Catching the Sun is a powerful documentary about the international movement towards using “green energy,” and the benefits that will come with using clean energy, both financial and health-related. Why is America falling behind other world powers China and Germany in this industry? Why should we care? […]

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STANDING TALL

Emmanuelle Bercot’s Standing Tall (La Tete Haute) is an emotionally laden account of a disturbed youth’s progression through the French judicial and social services systems. “Malony”—beautifully and powerfully played by young actor Rod Paradot— was raised by a struggling mother with substance abuse issues, and as a result, became a juvenile delinquent. The film follows […]

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TRAPPED

Directed by Dawn Porter, Trapped is a powerful documentary that investigates the state legislature’s war on abortion clinics in Mississippi, Texas, Alabama and other US states. The film exposes the nature of the legislative war on these clinics and allows the audience to glimpse into what the individuals running the clinics go through. RAK: (4/5) […]

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