Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Galway Film Festival – a Credit-Crunch Themed Line-up

I saw 7 films during the festival, including Atonement. They ranged from the excellent (Frozen River) to the very bad (The Race). Here’s my opinion on some upcoming films I saw:

Frozen River – Melissa Leo was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for this one and I can see why. She plays broke single mother Ray, who embarks on a dangerous people-smuggling scheme across the frozen St. Lawrence River with Mohawk woman Lila. Leo gives us everything in a brave performance that shows off every line etched into her face. You’ll be on the edge of your seat for much of this one.

The Race – terrible Irish film about a girl who wants to be a go-cart racer. Less said the better – no wonder the Irish film industry is in crisis.

The September Issue – this is billed as the real Devil Wears Prada, focussing on the behind the scenes action of the September 2007 issue of American Vogue. Anna Wintour is the star of the film, showing us that Meryl Streep was barely exaggerating in her portrayal of the steely magazine editor.

Amreeka – Palestinian office-worker Amreeka gets an unexpected Green Card to the States and movies there with her teenage son. Unfortunately for them, it is right after 911 – and a bad time to be perceived as Muslims in the U.S. This is a very enjoyable film that brings us on Amreeka’s journey as she struggles to get a job, help her son navigate school and gain acceptance in their new country.

Malta Radio – an excellent documentary about what happened when Spanish trawlermen picked up a boatload of stranded African refugees – only to find that the nearest port, Malta, was refusing them entry. A thought-provoking and ultimately heartwarming story.

Sugar - from the people who brought us Half Nelson comes this unusual sports movie about a Dominican baseball player who achieves his dream to come and play for a team in the U.S. It isn't long before he starts to question the sacrifices he has been asked to make and to wonder if it is all really worth it. I have no interest in baseball but really enjoyed this brave and thoughful movie.

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