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KIFF: Day One in Review

October 1, 2011

Day one is complete and so far so good. Here are some initial thoughts on films I was lucky enough to see, shown Friday, September 30. Full reviews on many of the movies will be coming soon.

Made in India. Directed by Rebecca Haimowitz.

The journey of an infertile couple from Texas, who due to financial constraints, look to India for more affordable surrogacy options. Telling the story through the perspective of not only the genetic parents, but also the surrogate, this documentary manages to present a nearly unbiased account of an extremely controversial topic. It looks at the multi-million dollar business of baby-making, taking the focus away from the companies, and instead focuses on the individuals involved. It is a reminder that sometimes a person’s actions can have the best intentions, even when they can be seen as harmful when looking at the big picture. Refusing to answer any questions, the film manages to be heartfelt while still only presenting the facts. Made in India seems designed to not formulate opinions, but to get people asking questions. It is a perfect film to watch in the hopes of starting a dialogue during an after-movie meal.


Bob and the Monster. Directed by Keirda Bahruth.

Bob Forrest has lead a life in three parts: a punk-rocker in the up and coming band, Thelonious Monk, a homeless man loitering the streets acquiring a collection of warrants, and a counselor attempting to change the conventions of rehabilitation for the better. Every stage of his life, sometimes constructive and oftentimes nearly lethal, have been due to his relationship with the monster that is addiction. Including interviews from Courtney Love, Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Dr. Drew Pinsky, and members of Fishbone, Jane’s Addiction and Guns n’ Roses, as well as plenty of footage from a musical scene in the 1980s that was as influential as it was self-destructive. Bob and the Monster is an optimistic story of turning one’s life around for the better. Compelling from start to finish, it is as much about drug abuse as it is about the 1980s punk rock scene. As ease to watch, my biggest complaint is only that I found myself wanting to know even more about the man as the final credits began to roll.

Take Shelter. Directed by Jeff Nichols.

Curtis, played by Michael Shannon, leads a happy life of simplicity with his wife, Samantha (Jessica Chastain) and their deaf daughter (Tova Stewart). Everything on the surface appears idyllic, but Curtis has recently become plagued with nightmares, visions that haunt him throughout the day and lead him to extremes in an attempt to save his family from an apocalyptic storm he believes is brewing. Playing with the lines of sanity and madness, the film toys with the audiences as much as Curtis.  It uses many conventions of horror, but in a much more realistic setting, that of one’s own mind.  The performances make the intriguing story captivating though, Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain are equally fantastic in their roles as a married couple trying to fight through obstacles unforeseen when they gave their vows. Take Shelter is a tense thriller that is beautiful to watch from start to finish.

Full review can be found here:

That’s all for today, but KIFF has only just begun. Check out for more information on films to come!


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