Final Cinequest 18 Thoughts

I feel about the same about this year’s festival as I did about last year’s: It was a pretty good festival and very few of the films were bad, but none got my top 4 stars rating either.

Here is my rough ranking of the 17 films I saw, from best to worst:

  1. Bitter Sweetheart—the ending of this Swedish film touched me for some reason I can’t fully explain
  2. Gone with the Woman—lots of fun, from the director of Elling, which almost no one I talk to has seen
  3. Mars & Venus—I would have ranked it somewhat lower right after seeing it, but I’ve thought of it several times since I saw it
  4. Shelter Me—well done Italian drama that covers some important issues
  5. The Substitute—fun though more tense than I expected
  6. Take—well done drama, but really hard to watch
  7. The Village Barbershop—good little slice of life drama/comedy
  8. Empties—bittersweet little Czech comedy
  9. The Trap—I’m sure this is better than I’m rating it, but I wasn’t quite ready for something this depressing on a Saturday morning
  10. Autism: The Musical—to be on HBO soon, I hear
  11. The Aerial—bizarre little black and white Argentinian film
  12. Mardik: From Baghdad to Hollywood—mostly engaging, and fun stories
  13. Butterflies—whimsical little Swedish film
  14. Commit.—interesting premise and mostly good dialog, but merely adequate performances—definitely avoid if you get motion sickness
  15. The Reject—this might have been better if I had a clue what it meant
  16. AFR—bizarre Danish fake documentary
  17. Eden Court—what were they thinking picking this film? it was the second worst opening film in my 8 years of attending Cinequest, with Your Guardian being the worst

I will note that I have a special affinity for Scandinavian films, which served me well this year. I saw all six such films on the schedule, and four of my top five fell into this category.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled movies…

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