Independent Spirit Awards: Best Feature

Beasts of No Nation

This Netflix original film features a stunning and chilling performance by Idris Elba, who won for Best Supporting Male. Other wins included Best Male Lead, Abraham Attah, who is impressive in the role of a child soldier, and Best Cinematography and Director (Cary Joji Fukunaga)


Independent Spirit Awards: Nominee Best International Film

The delightfully dark and hilarious A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, written and directed by Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson, offers a variety of unique observations, via sketches and musical numbers, of both the mundane and the unusual moments of daily life in all their absurdities. Part of Andersson’s “Living trilogy”, which includes Songs from the Second Floor (2000), and You, the Living (2007).

If the Monty Python guys had grown up in Sweden it might look something like this:

Oscar Nominees on Netflix Streaming: Animated Short

World of Tomorrow

I highly recommend this rapid paced 17 minutes of just about every sci-fi concept explored, parodied, and considered as a playful little girl is transported into the future to meet her humorless adult descendant. Both funny and melancholy, and definitely not to be missed.

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Oscar Nominees on Netflix Streaming: Documentary Short Subject

Chau, Beyond the Lines:  The story of a budding artist in Vietnam whose deformities from exposure to Agent Orange don’t stop him from pursuing his dream of making a living as an artist.

Last Day of Freedom: Is a creatively animated documentary short. The title refers to the eventual execution of the brother of the narrator. He was guilty of a couple of very horrific crimes, including murder, but the man was a Vietnam vet suffering from severe PTSD who didn’t have the resources to hire a competent lawyer to argue for lifetime incarceration and mental health treatment rather than execution. It already won The International Documentary Association award for Best Short Documentary, as well as many other best documentary short awards at various film festivals.

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Salt of the Earth

salt of the earth

The stunning, otherworldly images created by Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado are showcased in this captivating biographical film. Featuring segments that focus on Salgado’s various collections of work, including depictions of the victims of some of the most horrific events of the past, the film manages to be both emotionally devastating and awe inspiring.   

Strange Little Cat (Das merkwurdige Katzchen)

strange-litte-cat-blog-posterslc dvd box

First time director Ramon Zurcher was inspired by both Kafka’s short story “Metamorphosis” and musical composition when he structured this very unusual and original film. Several of the characters’ personalities may have been inspired by Gregor Samsa’s resulting alienation after being inexplicably turned into an insect. Part of the enjoyment of viewing this film is interpreting the overall meaning of its variety of mysteries that perhaps lack a definitive explanation. A small apartment begins to fill up with a variety of family members, living creatures, and objects that move about in a carefully orchestrated and choreographed visual and aural mise en scene. The title is part of the puzzle since the cat is neither little nor strange. This winner of multiple international film awards is a pleasurable cinematic diversion.