Thursday, March 7, 2019

Phil attends the Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival: Day Three - March 7, 2019

Greetings and salutations and welcome to Day Three of my trip to the 29th Annual Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival!! So far I've seen two amazing films; foreign films to be precise.What I really enjoy about watching foreign film sis that I am transported to a far away land that I will never get to visit, meeting people I will never get to meet, explore their cultures, beliefs, and their histories. Today was one such film, as I made my way once again to the California Theatre to see the Albanian export A SHELTER AMONG THE CLOUDS.

Besnik is a lonely shepherd and devoted Muslim, haunted by unfulfilled love. He is the son of a Catholic mother and formerly Communist father whom he takes care of in an Albanian village in the mountains. Up here, Christians and Muslims have found a way to co-exist peacefully. Even after the discovery that the old mosque used to be a church and that the building was actually shared by the two religions in the past, the calm of daily life can be preserved - with Besnik's help. After the death of his father, however, drastic changes threaten Besnik's multi-faith family and the shepherd is forced to seek his own path.

I found the movie to be interesting and thoughtful, albeit the pacing of it is very slow. There were several things that I found to be fascinating. The first being the setting, which is basically a village within the mountains. It's hard to fathom that, even in the 21st century, there are still places that haven't been corrupted by the so-called "wonders of technology." The people who live in this village live a very simple life; some are Sheppard, women wash the laundry by hand and hang them up to dry and a rope tied to trees, houses look ancient and primitive, etc. The world of today doesn't exist out there. The second is that while they live a simple life, that way of life is almost ruined by the religions they practiced. It's one thing to believe in God, but religion and the "right way" to worship Him is what tears about families and communities. Overall, the film is a dramatic, character driven film, with beautiful cinematography, but the finale was a bit lackluster and felt flat to me. 3 out of 5 stars!

A SHELTER AMONG THE CLOUDS will be screened one more time on Saturday, March 16th at 3:10pm at the Century 20 Redwood City.

And that was Day Three of my Cinequest 29 excursion! Three films in so far, but there's still plenty more to watch! Remember the festival ends on Sunday, March 17th so make sure you come out here to Downtown San Jose! 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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