By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, MSJ
The Bentonville Film Foundation recently announced the selections of narrative, documentary, short and episodic films making their debut in the competitive program of the 2021 Bentonville Film Festival which kicked off on August 2. I was able to virtually screen a few films in the name of the Cross, and I’ve noted a few below which are great reasons to look into the remaining days of this full film festival which is being led by “Thelma & Louise ” star and festival chair, Academy Award® winner Geena Davis and Academy Award® winner Callie Khouri.
I’m fine thanks for asking), USA (Directors: Kelley Kali, Angelique Molina, Writers: Kelley Kali, Angelique Molina, Roma Kong) In this exhilarating and poignant first feature, Danny (played by co-director Kelley Kali in a star performance), a recently widowed woman barely manages to make ends meet braiding hair and making deliveries on roller skates. After convincing her 8-year-old daughter that they “camp” in a tent for fun (nod to “La vie est belle”), she manages to save enough money for a down payment on a new one. apartment. When a client is unable to pay her, she realizes that if she fails to raise $ 200 at the end of the day, she will lose the apartment and have to admit to her daughter that she is. in fact “homeless”.
What follows is an intense, manic and frayed day until final judgment. In a world where we need underrepresented voices telling their own stories, this film hits the mark. Both funny and heartbreaking, this is an urgent and booming achievement that heralds the co-directors, co-writers and lead actors as major forces in a work that will have audiences applauding.
It’s a sad but real movie that shows what a single mom determined to survive goes through. It’s co-directed by lead actress Kali, who plays Dani, and “Black-ish” actor and Chicago native Deon Cole is executive producer. Dani doesn’t get discouraged when her hair dates fall apart. She is simply using her skates to propel herself into the world of food delivery, in order to collect the rest of the cash she needs. I say it’s sad how Dani is so determined to keep her secret that she struggles with her sense of poverty and her sense of mourning, both at the same time through a miserably exhausting day. But, like many strong and determined single moms, she wins out in the end. This film should soon be released more widely.
Ms. Wu’s disappearance, USA (director Anna Chi). Realizing that her time is running out, the irascible Wu family matriarch, Lily, is eager to mend the strained relationship with her adult daughter Mary and help her shy 18-year-old granddaughter Emma find her husband. voice.
As her last wish, she persuades her longtime friend Charlotte (Joely Fisher), best friend of Emma and Emma Karen (Tiffany Wu) to get her out of her LA retirement home and take a wild trip on the California coast to a special place in its past. . Along the way, long-standing secrets are revealed, and Mary and Emma each understand the painful choices their mothers have made in this fun and touching multigenerational story about family, forgiveness, and self-loyalty.
This film covers some heavy topics in a light way when needed and in a serious tone when the film warrants it. Lily is absolutely certain that she doesn’t want to waste away in an assisted living facility, and this determination helps her find satisfaction near the end of her life, not only in the freedom she finds, but also in the way. which she helps bring her daughter and granddaughter closer together. The grandmother is finally assured that these two can live more fulfilling lives.
A blowthe short films of interest file includes:
Americanized, (Director / Writer: Erica Eng). Growing up in Oakland’s hip-hop culture, Eng struggles with his Chinese-American identity. For her high school basketball team, she’s just that girl who sits on the bench; but for Asian children, it is “Americanized”. As his sophomore year of high school draws to a close, Eng tries to find a sense of belonging within the two worlds that don’t accept him.
Eng is entirely American, although her mother would prefer her to be more in tune with her Chinese roots. She loves basketball but doesn’t know enough about Chinese cuisine to discuss it at the dining room table. Her need to assimilate into American ways may be the reason she is ostracized by her Chinese classmates, so naturally she found a place on the team and with her black friends to make her feel more comfortable. But this affinity for sport and culture comes at a great price.
Rift, (Director / Writer: Lin Que Ayoung). It’s late summer 1985 in Queens, New York. Toya, a fiery young girl, falls in love for the first time. After a series of unsettling events, Toya’s affection for Poochy forces her to face her traumatic past.
This film, which was supported by the Spike Lee Production Fund, delves into drug addiction, young love, and familiar family secrets, the kind so many young girls keep inside for so long until ‘they are torn.
Message read, which looks at the time between finality and the earth (firth), is an eclectic view of the transition between death and the hereafter and how one expects one to give up worldly possessions. The high life, Beta, Self-portrait and Boss Babes are among a host of other short films offered at this virtual film festival and in person.
For more information on the 2021 Bentonville Film Festival, visit bentonvillefilm.org and follow Bentonville.