Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema (continued)

kew gardens festival of cinema

August 9, 2017. The ”Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema,” continues now through August 13. Film festivals remind me of the story of three blind people describing an elephant. The person at the pachyderm’s trunk describes it one way. The person at the tail has a different point of view. Still, the person in the middle has a completely different experience. Considering that the festival is presenting 150 films from 24 countries, over a 10 day period, everyone who goes will come away with a different point of view.

Writer and director Mark Brocking has created an authentic and fun homage to silent era comedies with his short film, The Double Cross. Set in London in 1926 this short black and white film, complete with inter-titles, has a damsel in distress, a gangster, attempted murder a gender bending mix up, all set against humorously blatant exposition conveyed via its titles. What particularly contributes to the authenticity of “The Double Cross” is its music, by Cyrus Gabrysch, production design by Caitlin Moore, art direction Laura D’Asta and period costumes by Natalie Jones and Verena Leo.

Life, Death and Maple Grove is an eye opening look at at an important cultural institution right here in Kew Gardens. Maple Grove is an historic cemetery dedicated to the lives of many of the 88,000 interred there. Far from being a depressing place, the cemetery hosts Civil War re-enactments, art exhibitions, magic shows, actors portraying those buried in the cemetery and Halloween events. Director Utsab Giri has created a comprehensive view of this cultural hub through interviews juxtaposed with photographs (Anthony Riddick and Joanne Raskin) of the cemetery’s many events.

Director Sara Lukinson’s short documentary Look Who’s Minding Our Planet is a beautifully photographed (by Edward Marritz) and highly informative short documentary about the Bronx Botanical Gardens. The film specifically looks at the research being done by the Cullman Program, founded by philanthropist Lewis Cullman.

The research, conducted at Cullman’s on site lab, concerns the nature of how species of plants are interconnected and how plants are the basis of life on earth, on both the molecular and every day levels. The film, through interviews with lab founders, scientists and just out of high school lab interns, also looks at the interconnection between humans and plants, explaining that not only do plants provide food and oxygen but can also be sources of life saving drugs.

The film’s photography, combined with special visual sequences by Jake Hamilton and Darren Fanton, all nicely put together by editor Laura Young, provide wonderful visual representations that make the technical aspects accessible and memorable.

The screening venues for the “Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema” include the Kew Gardens Cinemas, the only art movie house in Queens (8105 Lefferts Blvd. In Kew Gardens), and the Queens Museum, Flushing Meadow Corona Park, Corona New York.

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About unpaidfilmcritic

Up until 2009 Seth Shire spent nearly two decades in the New York film industry as a post production supervisor of feature films. Highlights include working on the films of Martin Scorsese, James Toback and Spike Lee. Since leaving the film industry Seth has expanded into new and varied areas where he has found a great deal of satisfaction. Seth currently teaches in the Sociology Department of CUNY Queens College. His courses include "Mass Media and Popular Culture," "Introduction to Sociology," and "Sociology of Cinema" where he is a very popular teacher. Seth is also the film critic for "Town & Village," a Manhattan weekly newspaper, a position he has held for the past six years. Seth gives back to his community through volunteer teaching at Manhattan's "The Caring Community," a center for senior citizens, where he teaches a very popular course on documentaries called "The Golden Age of the Documentary. In the fall of 2010 Seth taught "Critical Reading and Writing" at Parsons School of Design. He has also taught "Cinema Studies" at the New York Film Academy. Seth lives in Stuyvesant Town, in Manhattan.

Posted on August 9, 2017, in Documentary, Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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