Mother Daughter

The Meddler written and directed by Lorene Scafaria (USA) 2016 is about a widow who moves from New Jersey to Los Angeles to be with her daughter.

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Marnie is well-provided after the death of her husband but at a loss emotionally, however the constant attention she showers on her only child is overwhelming.

When the two are temporarily separated, Marnie tries to help several people she meets in the neighborhood.

The leading character elicits lots of laughter and even some tears.

Along the way she deals with the Italian family she married into and the soundtrack even includes a familiar Greek tune. While the Mediterranean touch is incidental to the film, the marvelous performance by Susan Sarandon is a delight.

The Meddler opens 29 April 2016 at the Century 9 in San Francisco. And 6 May 2016 at Landmark Albany Twin in Albany, Century 16 in Pleasant Hill, Landmark Aquarius Twin in Palo Alto, Cinearts at Santana Row in San Jose, and Regency Cinemas Six in San Rafael.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

www.nikosdiaman.com

SFIFF 59

The 59th San Francisco International Film Festival takes place 21 April to 5 May 2016 at six Bay Area venues.

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France: The Apostate, As I Open My Eyes, Blood Of My Blood, Cowboys, Dead Slow Ahead, The Dream Of Bottom, The Innocents, Journey To The Shore, Love & Friendship, Microbe And Gasoline, Neither Heaven Nor Earth, Nephtali, No Home Movie, Phantom Boy, Suite Armoricaine, Welcome To My Life, The White Knights, Winter Song, and A Young Patriot.

Israel: Mountain, Mr. Gaga, and Presenting Princess Shaw.

Lebanon: Abu Ammar Is Coming and Very Big Shot.

Spain: The Apostate, Dead Slow Ahead, and Night Without Distance.

Turkey: Frenzy and Sept-Oct 2015 Cizne.

Also: Chevalier (Greece), Blood Of My Blood (Italy), False Start (Morocco), and As I Open My Eyes (Tunisia).

The San Francisco venues are Alamo Drafthouse New Mission, Castro Theatre, Gray Area, Roxie Theater, and Victoria Theatre. Plus the new BAMPFA in Berkeley.

For more information and tickets contact San Francisco Film Society.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Island Crossroad

Sicily: An Island At The Crossroads Of History by John Julius Norwich, Random House, 2015 covers the history of an island situated along what was once an important Mediterranean sea route. Its past included a large presence of Greeks, Romans, and Amazighs brought to new heights under Norman rule.

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It’s long been denigrated by northern Italians and Americans as well because of its association as homeland of a notorious criminal element. However few people are aware of the complexities the author reveals.

Norwich wrote two earlier books about Norman rule as well as numerous other volumes about the region I’ve read and recommend. These include a two-volume history of Venice and three-volumes on the Byzantine Empire. But his history of the Mediterranean Sea remains on my bookshelf only partially read.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

www.nikosdiaman.com

Art Pose

2Fik is a French-born, Quebec-based artist of Moroccan heritage who deals with issues of identity in his work. He is a performance artist and photographer frequently targeting religion and sexuality in playful ways, taking the dual role of artist and model in his performances and photographs.

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He’s developed about a dozen personas, both male and female, that include Abdel, a bearded, macho, religious man from Casablanca and his devout wife, Fatima; Ludmilla-Mary, with a big beard, a veil, and a huge personality; Marco, a closeted, Italian Moroccan with a secret crush on Abdel; and Sofiane, Abel’s younger brother, an aspiring hip-hop artist.

2Fik recreated a number of signature paintings such as Manet’s well-known dejeuner sur l’herbe posed as each of the four figures. In one version the man facing the nude figure wears a purple hoodie. In another he wears a yellow polo shirt and chinos.

La Grande Intendante (The Great Maiden) is a contemporary take on Ingre’s Grande Odalique (Great Chambermaid). A nude Ludmilla-Mary stretches out, wearing a long, pink glove and holding a black feather-duster, a plastic bottle of bright blue window cleaning liquid nearby.

The artist recently presented a public talk and slide show at the San Francisco Art Institute as part of the school’s Visiting Artists And Scholars Lecture Series. The event was co-sponsored by the French Consulate.

More information about 2Fik is available on his Facebook page.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Stealth Attack

Director Michael Moore begins his reconnaissance mission in bella Italia armed only with an American flag in his delightfully funny new documentary Where To Invade Next (USA) 2015.

stealthattack

This one-person venture plus the requisite film crew is undoubtedly a bargain compared to the huge Pentagon budget and no lives were lost in its execution. However, the value of what he brings back is priceless and of benefit to many rather than just the few war profiteers currently benefiting from the endless wars and bloodshed funded by US taxpayers.

The openings of the film are strategically scheduled to impact the 2016 primary election campaign.

Moore makes one embarrassing mistake, confusing Slovakia and Slovenia. Aside from that slipup, I highly recommend it. Most of the treasure he uncovers has surprising origins.

Where To Invade Next opens 12 February 2016 in over 200 US theaters lncluding: Angelika, Kips Bay, and Lincoln Plaza in New York, Westlake Village in Los Angeles, River East in Chicago, Sundance Houston in Houston, Bijou at Crossroads in San Antonio, Angelika Carmel Mountain in San Diego, Look Cinemas Evolution in Dallas, Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Tinseltown 20 in Jacksonville, Metreon, Sundance Kabuki, and Alamo Drafthouse in San Francisco.

See Where To Invade Next for a complete listing.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

www.nikosdiaman.com

Greek Giant

Film director and screenwriter Theo Angelopoulos (1935-2012) was a major force in world cinema.

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Several of his 14 dramatic features were grouped as trilogies: Trilogy of History, Trilogy of Silence, Trilogy of Borders, and Trilogy of Modern Greece.

My introduction to his work was a 1975 film, The Traveling Players, about a troupe of itinerant actors performing in villages throughout the country during one of many Greek dictatorships. While I understood the general thrust of the story, I undoubtedly missed the fine details because there were no English subtitles during its screening. I left during intermission.

I enjoyed his 1984 film, Voyage To Cythera, about an old man who returns home after a long absence only to realize he can no longer live in the place he left.

Landscape In The Mist (1988) is another one of my favorites. It follows the adventures of two young children who set out to find their father living somewhere in Germany.

Exile is a familiar theme in modern Greece because many of its people left to escape political persecution or poverty. Austerity and high unemployment forces young people to work abroad, while ongoing war brings ever more refugees through the country on their way to richer northern nations.

Angelopoulos died four years ago after being hit by a motorcycle driven by an off-duty policeman. He was making a film about the Greek economy at the time. The Other Sea was never finished.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

www.nikosdiaman.com

Hard Choices

The Measure Of A Man directed by Stephane Brizé (France) 2015 is a gritty drama about a man faced with difficult decisions in an economically austere environment.

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After being laid off from a factory, he was advised to complete a retraining course that didn’t lead to another job. He struggles to support his family and hold on to his home.

He’s hired as a security guard in a large store, spending much of his workday scrutinizing possible shoplifters. Drawn deeper into the personal dramas of others caught within the harsh realities of contemporary economic hardship.

The film screened last month during the San Francisco Film Society annual French Cinema Now fall festival.

copyright © 2015 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

www.nikosdiaman.com