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Review: Soufra

— by BEV QUESTAD — Mariam Shaar was born imprisoned in the narrow corridors of a labyrinth of narrow passages with dangling lethal electrical wires and men slumped in the shadows on plastic chairs. Like her mother and other refugee women, she was trapped in a No Exit scenario. But unlike[...]

41st Portland International Film Festival

— by BEV QUESTAD — Each February, Portland, Oregon, sparkles up with PIFF, the Portland International Film Festival. This year’s opening night gala – abounding with Pinot Noir, grilled vegetables, quinoa and baklava – was a maximum capacity event. The movie of the night was “The [...]

Review: The UnAmerican Struggle

— by BEV QUESTAD — The Doug Jones election win, though narrow, may indicate that things are not as rock-solid depressing as director/writer Ric Osuna has been thinking. His passionate documentary, compiled in the wake of the November 2016 election, is a collection of reactionary intervie[...]

Review: The Force

— by BEV QUESTAD — A staccato soundtrack by Justin Melland forebodes serious danger and grave trouble. The cinematographer/writer/director Peter Nicks, an Emmy Award-winning director, is the drive-along who lives to bring “The Force” to the screen. Earning the 2017 Sundance Film Fest[...]

Review: The Breadwinner

— by BEV QUESTAD — I couldn’t stop from noticing the ironic parallels in this film between the life of its producer, Angelina Jolie, and the life of women at large who are coming forward with complaints in one of the most advanced countries the world has ever known. Though “The Bread[...]

Review: Trumping Democracy

— by BEV QUESTAD — I don’t mind advertisements. I know advertisers are trying their best to convince me to buy their product. Maybe they will even use a favorite pop song or celebrity. It’s okay. It’s an ad. But what if the ad is a lie? What if Pepsi said Coke causes cancer? What [[...]

Review: The Divine Order

— by BEV QUESTAD — With footage of Gloria Steinem and the Women’s Liberation Movement, anti-Vietnam War protests, Hendrix posters, and Janis Joplin, this 1971 dramatization of the battle for women’s suffrage in a little village in Schweiz is a reminder, especially true with today’s[...]

Interview: Filmmaker Daniel Miller

— by BEV QUESTAD — In “Discovering James Blue” (2014), created by students and supervised by Daniel Miller, filmmaker and professor at the University of Oregon, Blue is shown in teacher-mode with a bookcase lined up with video cassettes. He says, “Now what I thought … that if we [...]

Review: Citizen Blue

— by BEV QUESTAD — Who produced James Blue’s first films, where they were shown and in what ways he became a ground-breaking filmmaker are just some of the surprises in this bio-doc that make you stop and go, “What the heck?” James Blue was an innovative filmmaker, a charismatic pr[...]

Review: Victoria and Abdul

— by BEV QUESTAD — “Victoria and Abdul” is a comedic masterpiece covering the last 15 years of Queen Victoria’s life. Subservient and polite, Abdul, a prison clerk, is diligently taking down names and data from convicts in a jail in India while numerous attendants are propping up a[...]

Review: The Stray

— by BEV QUESTAD — Three nine-year-old boys are backpacking in the idyllic Colorado Mountains with one boy’s dad and dog. The sun and blue sky envelop the quintet with seeming good fortune as they sing songs to distract themselves from the long hike to the lake. Suddenly, “sad clouds[...]

Review: Heidi

— by BEV QUESTAD — Stand up for yourself. Follow what you love. Let nature be your friend. These sayings form the mantra of a new version of “Heidi,” the classic children’s story first published in 1881 by Johanna Spyri. Though Spyri’s version solved all problems through the sacr[...]

Review: Charlie vs. Goliath

— by BEV QUESTAD — “Being a Democrat in Wyoming is like being a burr under a saddle,” says Charlie Hardy. He ran for the US Senate against Mike Enzi, the Republican incumbent since 1997. A documentary was made of his campaign effort covering the whole of big sky country in 2014. Fake[...]

Review: The Challenge

— by BEV QUESTAD — On the plus side, the trailer for this film is phenomenal. Black-marked and wild, unleashed and regal, like a graceful long-legged dog, the sleek cat leads its owner into a black Lamborghini. Taking the passenger seat, the cheetah hears the sportscar roar onto the road[...]