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Review: Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf

— by BEV QUESTAD — Brimming with beauty, Thomas Piper’s sensitive presentation of “The Gardens of Piet Oudolf” is a soft poem of life. Already known as an art photographer, capturing the gardens of Dutch landscape designer Piet Oudolf in all of the seasons is truly a project suprem[...]

Review: Naila and the Uprising

— by BEV QUESTAD — Specifically, this is the story of Naila. In 1967, when she was a young girl at school, she learned her house had been blown up. She and her four sisters went home to see her father crying. She grew up with this experience of the Israeli occupation in Ramallah and [&he[...]

Review: In the Last Days of the City

— by BEV QUESTAD — “If you want to see the world in one day, ride the sun.” A cinematographic study, a film poem and a mosaic of life in Cairo during President Mubarak, Tamer El Said’s film witnesses daily life in Egypt. Though there is spartan dialogue and plot, there is a sense t[...]

Review: Return to Mount Kennedy

— by BEV QUESTAD — This film is just not what you expect it to be. Opening with gorgeous photography of quiet, pristine snow on a field of majestic peaks, it abruptly switches to the raucous grunge scene of Seattle in the ’80s, focusing in on the band Mudhoney (“Touch Me, I’m S[...]

Review: Dirtbag

— by BEV QUESTAD — Described as the Bob Dylan of mountain climbing – “completely inscrutable and no one’s sure if they like him or not” – Fred Beckey was the ultimate rock-climber, with more first ascents than anyone in the world. A dirtbag in colloquial speech is a dirty, unke[...]

Review: RBG

— by BEV QUESTAD — Thank you, Ruth, for making sure my friends had the freedom to pursue the jobs of their passion (Marines) and could be hired irrespective of their gender (security guard). Thank you for promoting respect and equity under the law so that women cannot be excluded from pu[...]

Review: The Girl and the Picture

— by BEV QUESTAD — The 1937 Nanjing Massacre by Japanese forces is an example of a military invasion gone berserk. Initially, the Japanese vehemently denied their actions and called reports of the mass murder of sick, elderly and poor as made-up stories. But unknown to these liars, John [...]

Review: Lou Andreas-Salomé

— by BEV QUESTAD — Lou Andreas-Salomé, born in Russia in 1861, machete-chopped herself into the inner sanctum of the all-male intellectual community in Germany with a strident drive for independence and equality. Gifted with an extraordinary intellect, a drive to pursue advanced study a[...]

Review: Lives Well Lived

— by BEV QUESTAD — If we knew the secret to being happy, would it change how we lived our lives? Sky Bergman, inspired by her grandmother who, at almost 100 years old still worked out, has made a film of interview responses to questions related to what might help us live in the now. [&he[...]

Review: NY Export: Opus Jazz

— by BEV QUESTAD — Celebrating Jerome Robbins’ birth centennial, ballet companies are resurrecting his choreographed works throughout the US this spring. Most famous for his collaboration with Leonard Bernstein in creating “West Side Story,” Robbins has been described as the “qui[...]

Review: Chronic Means Forever

— by BEV QUESTAD — This core-deep self-examination reveals a poetically insightful young woman who asks the big questions: Does my body have value? What do I do? How do I save myself now? Is life worth living? Filmmaker Kadazia Allen-Perry has taken the reality TV aside and made it into [...]

Trailer: Miss Kiet’s Children

— by BEV QUESTAD — This film gets an A+ and an encore on March 4 at the Portland International Film Festival. A microcosm of the world is captured in Kiet Engels’ primary classroom in a Dutch village. Her focus is on order, getting along, work ethic and overcoming adversity. While the [...]

Trailer: Her Love Boils Bathwater

— by BEV QUESTAD — One of eight films chosen for an encore performance at the 2018 Portland International Film Festival (PIFF), “Her Love Boils Bathwater” is about resilience and fortitude in the face of great challenges. It is also about mothering. Futaba, a single mom, is surrounde[...]

Interview: Director Thomas Morgan

— by BEV QUESTAD — The Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) has chosen eight, from nearly 90 films it featured this year, for encore showings. Festival publicist Nick Bruno reports these films were chosen because they met two criteria: viewer popularity and distributor permission [...]