Global Peace Film Festival 2015

From The Orlando Weekly, September 30, 2015

These three reviews are part of a larger article. See the link above for the full piece and many other reviews. Below are my three contributions.

 

Ballad of Holland Island House

Image copyright Lynn Tomlinson

Part documentary, part anthropomorphic allegory, part Irish folk tune, The Ballad of Holland Island House (5 stars on my 0-5 short-film scale) is an emotionally involving, stunningly animated tale of a real Chesapeake Bay building slowly succumbing to rising seas. Created by Lynn Tomlinson in an Impressionistic, clay-on-glass, stop-motion style – with soulful music by Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle – the four-minute film combines the imagery of Winslow Homer and Vincent Van Gogh with the urgency of climate-change awareness.

The film will screen with Planetary at Rollins College’s Bush Auditorium at 3 p.m. on October 3 and again at Fashion Square Mall’s Premiere Cinema at 1 p.m. on October 4.

 

The Diplomat (3 ¼ stars on my 0-5 feature-film scale) is an informative and even occasionally emotional portrait of Richard Holbrooke, a man described as the diplomatic hope for a generation. Arguably the most influential negotiator and foreign-policy wonk never to have achieved Cabinet status, Holbrooke died unexpectedly five years ago, leaving behind a legacy stretching from Vietnam to Bosnia to Afghanistan.

Though it focuses heavily on interviews with Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Henry Kissinger, Bob Woodward and others, the documentary is almost as personal as it is political. After all, it’s directed by Holbrooke’s son, David, who is just now coming to terms with his father. Though the film is still more of a talking-heads history lesson than compelling cinema, it’s a solid piece of journalism and an important epilogue to the Dayton Accords of 1995 and the failed negotiations with the Taliban in 2010.

The Diplomat will screen at Rollins College’s Bush Auditorium at 6 p.m. on September 30 and again Fashion Square Mall’s Premiere Cinema at 5:30 p.m. on October 1.

 

Though it’s being presented as a stand-alone feature, Parables of War (2 stars on my 0-5 short-film scale), at just 32 minutes, is actually a short. It’s an odd attempt to document choreographer Liz Lerman’s Healing Wars, a theatrical project that interprets, through dance, the American war experience. And in a greater sense, both the dance project and the film provide a unique commentary on the artist’s relation to the art.

Despite a noble effort by director Nina Gilden Seavey and actor Bull Pullman, Parables works as neither a feature nor a short. Not only is it awkwardly conceived and executed, but, despite its obviously heartrending subject, feels pretentious. It might work as live theater, but as a film, it has more in common with Christopher Guest’s Waiting for Guffman than inspirational or artistically challenging cinema.

The film plays the Sun Trust Auditorium at Rollins College at 6:30 p.m. on September 30 and again at Fashion Square Mall’s Premiere Cinema at 6 p.m. on October 1.

 

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