For the third year in a row, I attended the Annapolis Film Festival. This year was the festival’s seventh and it continues to grow at an exceptional rate. This year’s festival had a great diverse selection of films and I can’t wait to see what will be on tap next year. Without further ado, here are my quick reviews on each of the ten feature-length films I saw.
The Public – The Public was the opening night film and did a great job setting the tone for this year’s festival. A loveletter to one of the pillars of democracy and community, our libraries, The Public has good humour, a potent message, and an unexpected ending. Despite the film’s more serious undertones, I felt it to be a heartwarming tale.
The Biggest Little Farm – The cute animals are worth the price of admission, but this documentary also has a compelling story of chasing one’s dream, besting adversity, and creating life where it seemed impossible. This was my preffered documentary feature among the two I saw.
Little Woods – Carried by tremendous performances from rising stars Lily James and Tessa Thompson, Little Woods is a bleak, emotional joruney between two sisters finding their place in the world.
Villains – High-energy, a bit weird, and a lot of fun, this dark comedy will have you laughing and jumping the whole way through.
Ramen Shop – Bolstered by good acting, this intimate look into Chinese/Japanse food and race relations, culminated in two families’ stories and one boy’s search for truth and attempt to reconnect with his mother. This charming foreign film you won’t want to miss.
This Changes Everything – Beyond providing a few eye-opening statistics, this documentary with a feminist slant does little to add to the conversation. With its diluting injection of politics towards the end, and the hypocrisy of protesting the lack of female directors whilst being directed by a male, the film lacks the power it wants to inspire.
Wild Rose – JESSIE BUCKLEY is amazing and steals the show. Her performance features great range, including emotions across the dial. She is pissed off at the world and those around her, the situation she has run herself into, she is vulnerable and despite her immaturity is still someone you can sympathasize for, she’s a determined mother who struggles balancing her career and her children, and most impressively has a strong, beautiful voice. Her character is compelling because she clearly flawed and human, but grows from her mistakes and is someone anyone who has faced obstacles while chasing down their dreams can relate to. I just wish there was more singing in the film and that the accents were less thick.
The Interpreter – A man comes knocking on your door one morning, asking for your father who was a Nazi. The man holds a gun and plans to kill your father but you have no idea and invite him in. The man gives you a journal your father kept during the war. You both go on a journey, revisting the same locations your father wrote about in his journal. This is me barely scratching the surface when it comes to the story of The Interpreter and it’s so damn good. Subtle conflict develops into an unlikely friendship (sort of). An ambient score and gorgeous cinematography help create atmosphere for this depressing tale.
Ode to Joy – This quirky romantic comedy is both hillarious and full of heart, how can you not love Martin Freeman? As the film’s title prescribes, Ode to Joy will bring you joy.
In Your Hands – Beautiful piano music and cinematography only go so far, In Your Hands is like a french Whiplash but less intense and more predictable.
Final Notes: This year’s film festival was fantastic and basically every film I saw was worth watching. If you’re a big fan of film too, and are looking for something more under the radar, I recommend looking up some of the films mentioned above. Thanks for reading and I cannot wait for next year.