First up was Shorts 2: Looking for Something New
AFRICAN RACE: A young boy builds a motorcycle from salvaged parts, and races it against the big boys. Pretty awesome.
BLESS YOU: Church-snot. Gross! And funny!
BONA NOX: Boy in a wheelchair. Dead mommy. Sad daddy. Time for some time travel.
HIGH NOON: The showdown after school is set. That big guy is totally going to whup that little nerd's ass. If he actually shows up, that is. Good story with a nice twist.
LOLOTTE: The ultimate daddy-daughter day...and maybe the last one for a long, long time.
LULLABY FOR LUCIOUS AND SUMAT: Beautiful and inventive collage-style film. The moon spies on everyone, from werewolves to lovers. And he's so smitten by a woman that he gives up being the moon and decides to settle down with her...then weird things happen.
LUNCH DATE: A guy actually sends his 14-year old brother to break up with his girlfriend at lunch. But it turns out the little brother is a really nice guy and a good friend.
NIGHT SHIFT: The survival struggle of an airport cleaning lady. A look at the life of one of the invisible people. Well made and touching.
That was the last screening of Short 2. Sorry, but that will be a more common occurrence as the festival winds down.
Then I actually had time for a quick dinner and then to the fabulous California Theatre for THE CITIZEN, a drama about the American Dream and American reality. It opens on the deportation hearing of one Ibrahim Jarrah (Khaled Nabawy). William Atherton (who in my mind has already been typecast as the professional jerk) plays the aggressive prosecutor. Cary Elwes is Ibrahim's attorney. And then we flash back to five years ago, when Ibrahim won the green card lottery and first set foot on American soil. Specifically, in JFK airport, on September 10, 2001. Next day, of course, things turn really, really bad. But Ibrahim is an eternal optimist. He survived the Lebanese civil war. He worked in Kuwait just before Saddam invaded in the 90's. He's had bad luck, but he's survived, and now he's in the land of opportunity. Even when he's detained with no charges for 6 months (until they release him for lack of...any reason at all to keep him) he still wants to stay in America and become a citizen. And yes, he's surrounded by racism and violence. His friend gets assaulted. He gets beaten just trying to help a stranger (who is jumped by a racist gang just for replying "Happy Hanukkah" to a "Merry Christmas.") A big theme in the movie is how people who have suffered and survived are much more likely to help out, starting with Ibrahim himself. Then the girl who helps him out and offers him a couch to sleep on after she flees from her abusive boyfriend. Pretty much all the good people in the movie are people who have had some tough times. It makes me think...the fear of losing the good things you have (i.e., "your" country) can make people do stupid, hurtful things. But if you've lost everything before and still survived, maybe that fear isn't so powerful. It's easy to think that once you've been hurt you'll be less trusting of others. But maybe once you've been hurt you'll realize that you're actually strong enough to take it and you'll actually be more ready to trust others. Interesting thought at least. And a good movie with a great hero. I have a well-known love for immigrants (I don't think anyone appreciates America more than people who chose to be here), and I would say THE CITIZEN is just the kind of American we need more of.
THE CITIZEN plays again Thu, 3/7 2:30 PM and Fri, 3/8 7:00 PM
Then I headed to the Maverick Meetup at Myth Taverna, had way too much to drink and stayed up way to late before finally heading home.
Total Running Time: 204 minutes
My Total Minutes: 319,713