Saturday, March 16, 2019

Phil attends the Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival: Day Twelve - March 16, 2019

Hello again and welcome to the final weekend of the 29th Annual Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival! So this is really it people!! The final weekend of the festival is upon us, and I've got movies to review. So let's get the party started! I saw another couple of movies today, one was a documentary and the other a drama. The first film was being screened at the Hammer Theatre Center.

Before the main feature, there was a short entitled LUNCH LADY. The film was about Mrs. Shirley, the lunch lady of a typical high school. She is loved by many students there, except for one student, who has been bullying her. She eventually confronts him, but not in the way that he was expecting. A really sweet short about the power of love and understanding!
After the short, it was time to watch THE EDGE OF SUCCESS, a compelling and heart wrenching documentary about the many suicides that has transpired at Gunn High School, located in Palo Alto, California. Through in-depth interviews with students, educators, parents, and doctors, the film attempts to shine light as to why all this has happened, what were the circumstances, and how the community is trying to stop these deaths from happening all over again.

Living here in San Jose, Palo Alto is less than half an hour north of here, and yet, I had no idea that this was happening! I knew about the first cluster of suicides, but since 2009, there have been a total of eleven deaths of Gunn High School students, all by suicide. This documentary was such an eye opener that I was shocked and saddened by this, and not realizing this until now. Directed by Kathryn Basiji and journalist Liza Meak, this is a film that should be required viewing for all high school students who feel the same way as those interviewed!: overwhelmed, pressured, and depressed about their scholastics, SATs, college choices and everything else in their lives! This is call to action for every single parent, faculty, and administrator! This needs to stopped!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

THE EDGE OF SUCCESS will be screened one last time on SundayMarch 17th at 11am at the Century 20 Redwood City.
For my second film of the day, I made my way over to the California Theatre to see the dramatic and funny THE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY OF CELESTE GARCIA.Celeste is a former teacher who now works at the local planetarium in Havana, Cuba. Her life is pretty mundane, but then the government announced that alien visitors were living among them this whole time, and are looking for those individuals who are willing to relocate to their world to start their lives over. She goes and meets several new friends on her journey, but then she meets one who would not only betray her, but willing to take away her only chance of happiness.

Wow!! Was this a discovery!! I found the movie to be really moving, funny, warm, and it's a freaking sci-fi film from Cuba!! That is extraordinary by itself!! The movie can also be seen as a social commentary of Cuba itself; trying to rediscover itself after so many years being ruled by Fidel Castro. Almost a reawakening, in my humble opinion. The cinematography is top notch, the acting is fantastic, and then at the end, the special effects look epic and stellar! I am now very interested to see what other types of films come this area of the world! 5 out of 5 stars!

This was the last screening for the film at the festival.

And that  was Day Twelve of the 29th Annual Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival!! Remember the festival ends tomorrow, March 17th!! Now you only have one day to check out so amazing independent films! To view the festival's film schedule, purchase tickets and passes, visit their official website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

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