Mill Valley Film Festival preview, Part 2

Here are five more films that will screen at the Mill Valley Film Festival:

A The Light of the Moon

A young woman tries to heal emotionally after a rape. She rejects therapy. She lies about the bruises on her face. She tells the truth to her loving and attentive boyfriend, but she rejects much of his attempts at being supportive. Writer/director Jessica M. Thompson shows us the turmoil inside her mind, and the frustration of those who want to help. This is not a film about the politics of rape, or the legal issues (although these do come up). It’s about one victim and how she reacts and tries to recover. Truly excellent.

B+ The Divine Order

Swiss women didn’t get to vote until 1971. This feel-good drama about that struggle places the fight not in metropolitan Zurich but in a small, provincial, and very conservative town. The year is 1970, but the culture seems stuck in the 19th century. A bored housewife who can’t get a job without her husband’s permission (Marie Leuenberger) teams up with a few other women to turn the town upside down for their cause. The Divine Order is a feel-good crowd pleaser, and for a political film, that’s not always a bad thing.

The film will have a theatrical release after the festival.

B+ The Long Shadow

This African-American history lesson covers a lot – from the early colonies to the 21st century – in 87 minutes. It comes from an interesting point of view: Director Frances Causey is a white descendent of slave owners who had to learn on her own to reject the myth of the Lost Cause. Although conventionally made, this documentary makes a strong argument that black Americans have been and still are intentionally pushed down by the system. The problem, of course, is that the people who need to see this film will never see it – and if they did, they’d reject it.

  • Lark, Saturday, October 7, 6:00
  • Lark, Tuesday, October 10. 10:00am. Sold out. Rush tickets may be available.
  • Rafael, Wednesday, October 11, 11:15am

B- The Deep Sky

A young, attractive, professional, heterosexual couple decide to have an open relationship. They talk about it to each other, and to the camera. They meet a somewhat older woman and become a threesome. They all seem very happy. Nothing really bad happens in the movie, which becomes something of an argument for non-monogamy. At times, The Deep Sky feels like a male sexual fantasy, but I have to admit, it’s pretty sexy. Shot in Oakland and the Mendocino coast.

  • Sequoia, Saturday, October 7, 9:15
  • Lark, Monday, October 9, 8:45

C+ After the War

A political assassination forces a former radical leftwing terrorist (Giuseppe Battiston) to go on the lam, and he takes his reluctant, teenaged daughter (Charlotte Cétaire) with him. The filmmakers wisely paint the former terrorist as a creep; he’s selfish, alcoholic, and still justifies a murder he committed ages ago. But our hearts go out to the innocent teenager, trapped by her awful dad. After the War works when it stays with these two people. But too much screen time goes to less-interesting members of the family. And the ending is just too convenient.