Three Cities

It Must Be Heaven directed by Elia Suleiman (Palestine/France/Qatar/Germany/Canada) 2019 presents a sly parody of three cultures seen through the eyes of a film director.


Suleiman plays the main character in the film begining in Bethlehem with personal exchanges between him and his neighbors.

Much of the story takes place in a surrealistic Paris before moving on to New York, and concluding back home in Bethlehem, which has changed very little during his absence abroad.

It Must Be Heaven is a slow-paced, meditative work requiring a degree of patience to fully enjoy.

The film screened twice in the Bay Area during the 23rd Annual Arab Film Festival ending today.

Contact Arab Film And Media Institute for more information.

copyright © 2019 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Winter Journey

My Polish Honeymoon directed by Élise Otzenberger (France) 2018 was the opening night film in Palo Alto of the 39th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.


When Anna first arrives in Poland, with her husband Adam, she’s totally in love with the country but taking a closer look at her surroundings, her mood changes in the opposite extreme.

The reason for their trip is a 75th celebration of his grandfather’s Jewish village, a rather somber event in a country with a horrific World War II history.

In Prague they’re assailed by the sight of colorful tourist tours of death camps as well as Nazi memorabilia for sale at an outdoor market.

While in the countryside and small rural villages they’re met with indifference, suspicion, and hostility.

This complex film also played at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, and will be shown a couple more times during SFJFF 39. It screens 30 July 2019 at the Albany Twin in the East Bay and 4 August 2019 at Smith Rafael in Marin.

For more info and tickets contact the Jewish Film Institute.

copyright © 2019 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Gallic Parenting

Journalist Pamela Druckerman isn’t sure she likes living in Paris, but after the arrival of her first child notices distinct differences between French and American parenting styles and outcomes.


Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman, Penguin Press, 2012, delves deep into the success of French parenting.

Why newborns sleep though the night without waking their parents. How they learn to eat a wide variety of food. Are able to amuse themselves without demanding constant adult supervision. And the remarkable ease in which both children and parents maintain harmonious relationships in public venues.

Druckerman’s cross-cultural research includes both personal interviews with American, British, and French mothers as well as conversations with experts in various related fields.

I was intrigued by the book when it first came out but wasn’t provided with a review copy by the publisher. However, after my son and daughter-in-law announced they were expecting twins, I was convinced it was relevant reading material for me and them.

Bringing Up Bébé is a definite resource guide for would-be parents.

copyright © 2018 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Chocolate And Roses

Paris Can Wait written, produced, and directed by Eleanor Coppola (USA) 2016 is a Francophiles delight.

While this feature film is presented as narrative fiction, it’s based on an incident experienced by its creator a few years ago.

Anne is the wife of a successful American, film director who spends most of his waking hours in Cannes talking on his mobile phone about business. Their vacation is cut short by the necessity for him to visit the location of his next film.

Since Anne is still suffering from a painful ear infection, she’s advised not to fly with him. Her husband’s French producer offers to drive her to Paris, where she and her husband have an apartment.

The seven-hour drive becomes a two-day adventure.

Jacque is not a very good driver, but he takes every opportunity to indulge in some of the best food and wine of the regions he traverses.

Paris Can Wait screens Monday 10 April 2017 at the San Francisco International Film Festival before opening in theaters 12 May 2017 in New York and Los Angeles.

Contact the San Francisco Film Society for more information and tickets.

copyright © 2017 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Mismatched Pair

My Shortest Love Affair directed by Karin Albou (France) 2015 is about unlikely lovers.


A recently widowed woman and her unattached former paramour reunite after two decades. But what was endearing at twenty is irritating at forty.

Their life together is a series of comic clashes both in and out of bed. They struggle to compromise, separate, and come together again.

The film plays again Monday night 3 August 2015 at the California Theatre in Berkeley and Saturday evening 8 August 2015 at the Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael during San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 35.

For more information and tickets contact the Jewish Film Institute.

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

Three Lives

How To Smell A Rose: A Visit With Ricky Leacock In Normandy directed by Les Blank & Gina Leibrecht (USA) 2014 is a wonderful portrait 0f a seminal movie documentarian. Leacock and his wife prepare some delicious meals in their country kitchen while he talks about his career behind the camera and his approach to film and video production.


During his seven decades in cinema Leacock helped develop the first film camera to record synchronous sound along with image. He was an early advocate of the hand-held camera and later enjoyed the ease and freedom of digital equipment. But what is even more impressive than his work as a cinematic artist is his zest for life and his dedication to living it to its fullest.

The film will have its final screening Monday evening 4 May 2015 at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas during San Francisco International Film Festival 58. For more information and tickets contact the San Francisco Film Society.

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

Fashion Decade

Saint Laurent directed by Bertrand Bonello (France) 2014 zeros in on a nine-year period in the life of the French designer who revolutionized womenswear during the height of his career. The mid Sixties to the mid Seventies was a time of social and cultural change that is shown with black and white newsreel footage on a split screen as runway models appear in color with the latest designs.


The designer and his partner Pierre Berge inhabited a world of material luxury that included extravagant purchases of art and furnishings, frequent visits to night spots in France and North Africa. The director manages to portray the sex, drugs, music, and mental condition of Saint Laurent in a refreshingly stylish way.

The film screens at the 58th San Francisco International Film Festival one time only at the Castro Theatre Sunday afternoon 26 April 2015. For more information and tickets contact the San Francisco Film Society.

For those unable to attend that initial showing, the dramatic feature opens for a theatrical run in the Bay Area at the Landmark Embarcadero in San Francisco 15 May 2015 and Camera in San Jose 23 May 2015.

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

Middle Brother

The Easy Way Out directed by Brice Cauvin (France) 2014 is a French adaptation of the Stephen McCauley novel by the same name.


This family drama is told from the viewpoint of the gay brother who seems to understand and tries to help both his younger and older brother navigate their difficult love relationships while fending off heavy-handed demands of the parents.

However, he’s less able to deal with the realities of his own love life.

The film screened during the final day of French Cinema Now 2014 at the Vogue Theatre in San Francisco. More info is available at SFFS.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Greener Pasture

Paris Follies directed by Marc Fitoussi (France) 2014 was the opening feature film of French Cinema Now and included an appearance of its director for a question and answer session after the screening.


Brigitte and Xavier are a farm couple raising cattle. She meets a handsome young man attending a party next door and decides to spend a couple of days in Paris with him on the pretext of consulting a dermatologist there.

The film screens one more time Saturday 8 November 2014 at the Vogue Theatre in San Francisco. For more information and tickets see the San Francisco Film Society.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Family Mystery

For A Woman directed by Diane Korys (France) 2013 is a stylish telling of her parents’ relationship in postwar Lyon.


Home life, politics, and business are part of the mix intensified by passion.

The film screens a final time at the Grand Lake Theater Saturday 9 August 2014 during the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 34.

For more information and tickets contact SFJFF.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved