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Trailer: Sir

— by BEV QUESTAD — I loved every minute of this delicate story of a young village woman who was widowed at 19. She leaves her husband’s family and becomes a servant in Mumbai with dreams to educate herself as a dress designer. Her employer is in despair as his dreams have been dashed. [...]

Trailer: Acid Forest (aka Rugstus miskas)

— by BEV QUESTAD — A forest in Lithuania has a long wooden staircase leading to a viewing platform. Visitors from all over the world come to this spot. Lithuanian director Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė records visitor conversations on the platform and lets these voices tell the story of the co[...]

Review: Amateurs (aka Amatörer)

— by BEV QUESTAD — A younger generation has taken over the 2019 Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) with the theme: Empathy has no Ethnicity. “Amateurs” was their brave choice to open the festival. Filmed liked a documentary about two sets of filmmakers making a marketing fil[...]

Trailer: What is Democracy?

— by BEV QUESTAD — “…until political power and wisdom unite… there can be no rest from troubles” (Plato, The Republic, Book V). From the brave art of Ambrogio Lorenzetti in 1338 to the always insightful challenges of Cornel West, Astra Taylor investigates ideas of democracy. What[...]

Review: Auggie

— by BEV QUESTAD — Well, I’m going to tell you one thing — Richard Kind, the star of “Auggie,” is going to be teased unmercifully about his role in this film. What will his good friend (and best man at his wedding), George Clooney, have to say about it? In “Auggie,” the n[...]

Review: Time for Ilhan

— by BEV QUESTAD — What motivated a refugee woman who wore a hajib, lived according to Muslim custom, and had three children to enter state politics in Minnesota? This documentary follows her 2016 entrance into the Democratic party and the group that supported her. Born in Somalia, Ilhan[...]

Review: Woman at War

— by BEV QUESTAD — This gorgeous Icelandic film is a could-have-been. It is majestic in geography and deep in scope. A couple glitches just keep it from the Oscar list for best foreign film, but the totality of “Woman at War” is still a must-see for those who appreciate fresh perspec[...]

Top 5: The Year’s Best Documentaries

— by BEV QUESTAD — Asked to pick the best documentary is like being given a selection of high-performance vehicles and asked which you’d like to buy. Would it be the SVAutobiography Land Rover, the Chrysler Pacifica Limited van, the Tesla Model X, or the Lamborghini Veneo Roadster? Lik[...]

Review: Of Fathers and Sons

— by BEV QUESTAD — “Of Fathers and Sons” is a startling Academy Awards nomination. Talal Derki, a Syrian based in Berlin, dangerously masquerades in northern Syria as an al-Qaeda sympathizer. He lives as a guest of Abu Osama, one of the founders of Al-Nusra, the Syrian arm of Al-Qaed[...]

Review: Cold War (aka Zimna Wojna)

— by BEV QUESTAD — Up for an Oscar for Best Film in a Foreign Language, “Cold War” delivers a passionate romance caught in the cross-hairs of Stalin’s Iron Curtain. Brilliantly executed, it has already won the European Award for Best Film. It is an exquisitely shot black and white [...]

Review: Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me

— by BEV QUESTAD — On March 24, 1962, I got my first crush. I was 12 years old. Dad had taken Mom and me to the Orpheum Theatre in Seattle to see a one-man show put on by the greatest entertainer on earth. His charisma and joy performing filled the very air and I […][...]

Review: Minding the Gap

— by BEV QUESTAD — “This device cures heartbreak” is written on the underside of a skateboard. How much that is true is one of the themes examined in Oscar-nominated “Minding the Gap,” an Oscar-nominated documentary about a group of skateboarders from a depressed side of town in [...]

Review: Capernaum

— by BEV QUESTAD — “We’re insects, my friend. Parasites!” explains Zain’s father, the defendant in a trial for parental negligence. The plaintiff is his 12-year-old son who is suing both cruel parents for giving birth to him. Capernaum is a messy place of disregard where chaos an[...]

Review: Hale County This Morning, This Evening

— by BEV QUESTAD — Hale County is in Alabama. Sixty percent of the population is black and 40 percent is white. The median income for a family is about $31,000. About 27 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, which includes the folks featured in this documentary. Filmmak[...]