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From Ebertfest

A sampling from our very own Marilyn Ferdinand.

1. "As I watched Nothing But the Truth with growing excitement, I thought, this is All the President's Men for the new millennium. This film will inspire confidence in the press again and bring a whole new generation of idealists into journalism. Thank you, Rod Lurie, a thousand times thank you. And then I saw the last three minutes of the film. DAMN! DAMN, DAMN, DAMN!" Read more of Ferdy's review . . .

2. "The Last Command has a wraparound story in which the Grand Duke is a down-and-out immigrant working as an extra in Hollywood. The director of a Russian war epic, Lev Andreyev (William Powell), surrounded by assistants, is working his way down a stack of head shots. He's not happy, even though his assistant director (Jack Raymond) says it contains every Russian in Hollywood. Andreyev finds one headshot that seems to mesmerize him; he turns it over to read the actor's particulars: 'Claims to be the cousin of the Czar and the commander of the Russian Imperial Army. Little acting experience. Will work for $7.50 a day'." Read more from Ferdy . . .

3. "Begging Naked, like its subject, artist Elise Bainbridge Hill, has had a bumpy road. While the film has been shown at numerous film festivals, even winning some awards, no distributor has touched it. Gehres, at a low point, got the boost of validation she needed when Roger Ebert, having pulled her screener off a tall pile and watched it, sent her an email inviting her and the film to Ebertfest. She, understandably, was thrilled, and now a theatre full of Champaign festival goers, including yours truly, are, too." Read more from Ferdy and see a clip . . .

4. "Trouble the Water, a highly honored documentary from 2008, is nothing if not a reminder that continuing to listen to the movers and shakers, the flaks and apologists, the stooges and blind faithful of the Bush Administration is to continue the national shame that Administration soiled us all with by its craven indifference to the suffering of the victims of Hurricane Katrina. If you believe what former First Woman (she's certainly no lady) Barbara Bush said about the evacuees ("And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."), Trouble the Water should disabuse you of that notion. No one's better off dead, no one's better off homeless and living on the field of a football stadium, no one's better off living in their attic to avoid being drown in their bedrooms because the government failed to keep the levees that protected their homes in good working order." Read more from Ferdy and see the trailer . . .

5. "Ramin Barhani, who, we learned this afternoon at Ebertfest, was just awarded a Guggenheim 'genius' grant, has been making his name chronicling the lives of the 'new' Americans. His first two films dealt with his Iranian background. His breakout film, Man Push Cart (2003), explored the new immigrant experience through the life of a Pakistani pushcart operator. His next feature, Chop Shop, takes viewers to the so-called Iron Triangle, an area resting in the shadow of Shea Stadium that is lined with auto repair and body shops manned largely with immigrants to the United States. Through his 12-year-old Puerto Rican protagonist Alejandro (Alejandro Polanco), we see the kind of hustle it takes to survive in this country and the kind of restless industry that has driven wave upon wave of immigrants to strive for a better life. Imagine a young, as-yet-less ruthless Vito Corleone alone in New York, and you might have some idea of how universal Ale's story really is." Read more from Ferdy . . .

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Marilyn Ferdinand is the proprietor of Ferdy on Films. She welcomes your comments.



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Posted on April 27, 2009


MUSIC - At Home Chicago Blues.
TV - How America Doesn't Teach History.
POLITICS - The Remote Learning Divide.
SPORTS - Cancel Culture.

BOOKS - Go Ahead, Eat Those Cheetos.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Suffering With Stoics & Cynics.


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