The Story of Qiu Ju

26 03 2011

Rating: PG
Runtime: 1 hr. 40 min.
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%, 8/10

I began watching The Story of Qiu Ju with the expectation that the seemingly strong-willed pregnant woman Qiu Ju would be a valiant heroine who saves her family’s honor. I was wrong. By the end you aren’t really sure who is most to blame for all the trouble, Qiu Ju, the village chief who is feuding with Qiu Ju’s family, or the Chinese judicial system.

The best part of this film is not a beautifully written plot or flashy camera shots. Instead, this film gives viewers an incredible insight into Chinese culture. It may not be glamorous or entertaining, but it is a complex system of maneuvering between societal, personal and legal obligations.

Qiu Ju is not a heroine. Not in the traditional sense of the word. She is not always right. She does not fix everyone’s problems. She wants what is best for her family. She wants to be respected. She worries. She makes mistake. She is strong. She is a Chinese woman.


The White African

18 03 2011

Rating: Unrated

Runtime: 1 hr. 30 min.

Rotten Tomatoes: 7.6/10 97%

Foreign documentaries often focus on injustices done to minorities, but rarely are those minorities white men. The White African tells the story of a farmer and his family who live in Zimbabwe during the time when Robert Mugabe is trying to incite division between the blacks and whites. Without portraying all black Zimbabweans negatively, the film appears to keep a balanced view of those who are racist and those who want justice, no matter what their skin color.

Despite beatings and death threats, white farmers in Zimbabwe fight to keep the land that they rightfully own. One cannot watch this documentary without comparing it to apartheid in South Africa, allowing a reflection on human nature and the realization that people have the will and the capacity to either accept or discriminate against each other. The White African follows the international law suit the white farmers have against Robert Mugabe, making the appropriately long-winded like the prolonged suit.

Will justice prevail? Well, like life, it’s a little more complicated than that.

Encounter Point

11 03 2011

Rating: Unrated
Runtime: 1 hr. 28 min.
Rotten Tomatoes: 7.2/10, 100%

This is the first movie I have seen that has for me truly humanized the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Though this film is now five years old, it is still extremely relevant as the fighting continues. Throughout the world, we generally only hear about the negative aspects of the situation. We rarely hear about the hundreds of people who are trying to reconcile the two sides through dialogue and understanding.

Encounter Point shows the stories of 28 families who have lost children in during the conflict and how they are learning to cope with their loss and forgive and make peace with those who killed their children. This film will move you to tears as you see the deep love and hate people on both sides of the issue express. Without simplifying the situation, Encounter Point gets to the heart of the matter–that there is no easy solution, that solution has to start from within the Israeli and Palestinian people, and peace will take time, a lot of it.

A breath of fresh air from many movies that seem to take sides on the issue, Encounter Point is a must see.

After you watch the film, click here to read more about one of the mothers, Robi Damelin, and how she responded to the sniper that killed her son after the sniper was arrested in the end of the film.

True/False Review: Secret Screening Green

5 03 2011

Each year, True/False brings in movies that have not yet had their premier. They do not announce the name of the movie until the audience is already in their seats and then the audience makes an unspoken pact not to reveal which film it was so as not to ruin its premier at future film festivals.

So, unfortunately, I cannot give any details of this film except to say that it is a must see. The film will keep you thinking for days to come. In fact, this film embodies what True/False stands for, the blurred line between reality and lies.

Here is the description  True/False gave of Secret Screening:Green. I hope you take the chance to see this amazing film…

“A tale of greed, exploitation and the media frenzy that surrounds a child prodigy – this Secret Screening is documentary storytelling at its finest. It’s a carefully constructed mystery, and a film that moves expertly from gleeful emotional highs to shocking lows. But, in the end, we’re left with a touching look at the loving relationship between a teacher and his pupil.”

True/False Review: Blood in the Mobile

4 03 2011

By: Kelly Gehringer

Runtime: 1 hr. 22 minutes

IMDb: 6.6/10

This film exists because Frank Poulsen had the conscience to ask questions that no one else wants to ask. When he discovered that his Nokia cell phone was made from minerals that fund a civil war in the Eastern Congo, he not only decided that he did not want to be a part of it, but that he would go to find out how this injustice is happening. Read the rest of this entry »