Jordan. My favorite movie so far. Set in the Arabian desert in world war one. An adventure story, and, a coming of age story. Theeb, the main character, begins the story as a boy and is entering manhood at the end. Its only marginally connected to the war, its in Arabic and  almost all the… Continue reading Theeb


Poland. Recommended. A by the book, so to speak, police procedural. All the stock characters. The stoic, laconic veteran a little too personally involved in the case. The grouchy but benign police captain. The odious cop from the rat squad. The eager beaver rookie, with heart. The coroner rattling off facts about ligature marks and… Continue reading Waterline

The Lamb

Turkey. Not to be confused with “Lamb”, another SIFF movie. There is a style of movie making where we meet some people, and rotten things happen to them, and then another rotten thing happens, and then they do something, but it makes something rotten happen. And just when you think something has to go right,… Continue reading The Lamb

The Golden Hill

Nepal. Recommended. Traditional subsistence farmers in Nepal. The ones who, for various reasons, and with varying degrees of acceptance, are still there; having not emigrated to America, not moved to the city, not pursued education. I’m just a sucker for movies like this. There are no bravura performances or points of high drama. The movie… Continue reading The Golden Hill


Cuba. Highly recommended. Marion did not like it as much as me, but says its a good movie. Set in what I take to be present day, in a poor neighborhood in Havana, centered mostly on the local school. One thing Cuba has in common with the USA seems to be that all social problems… Continue reading Behavior

Corn Island

Georgia. Recommended. Almost no dialog, the entire movie is set on an island about the size of Pioneer Square. Smaller, probably. Movies like this attract adjectives like beautiful, deeply felt, meditative, because in addition to being cliches they are these things. Dirt poor Khazak peasants plant a crop on a river island whose existence will… Continue reading Corn Island

Snow on the Blades

Japan. I know what the theme of this movie is, because the director was there and just came out and told us. Its about loyalty. I love the premise of the movie. A Samurai is disgraced and to earn back his honor must find and kill the men who disgraced him. The search lasts 13… Continue reading Snow on the Blades

The Village

Set in the mountains of Georgia: Stalin’s birthplace, not Ray Charles’. Movies set in the mountains of Eastern Europe always grab me. The main character is a European who basically parachutes in to a very remote and traditional mountain village and is treated hospitably.  Only in the movies, one wishes, is someone this insensitive to… Continue reading The Village