Monday, March 9, 2009

Cinequest closes: Please see Witch Hunt

The Cinequest Film Festival is over, so now we can go back to regular life. We saw two additional films. One was a bit of a dud, the other was outstanding.

In the outstanding category: Witch Hunt, which will be broadcast on MSNBC on April 12 (Easter). Please watch your TV listings and see this film. Sean Penn narrated and produced the film.

I have Jeff to thank for getting me to this movie. I wanted to see it, but I also wasn't in the mood for another heavy subject.

No doubt this movie is about horrific injustice and lives destroyed in the process. But unexpectedly, this film is also about love, healing, strength, and the miracle of the human spirit. I felt moved and strengthed by the film.

The activist in me says everyone who votes or serves on a jury should see this movie, but fortunately, this film is about much more than a call for justice. When you give the gift of listening to these people's stories, you'll be given much more in return.

The Q&A session was incredibly lively. Someone asked how the hysteria began. While it's not clear, many people believe it started through accusations made during an ugly divorce and custody battle. Also something not mentioned in the movie that the Innocence Project lawyer mentioned in the Q&A is that Bakersfield was not an isolated event. In the early 80s, cases of parents being falsely accused of molesting their children were spread across the United States.

Imagine being locked up for 20 years for something that was pure fabrication. Imagine having your life taken away.

We also saw The Nature of Existence, the Cinequest closing night film, which we waited in line 1 1/2 hours in advance of the film to get tickets. The filmmaker works on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and he has that David Larry, Seinfeld kind of humor. Some parts were preciously funny, and there are a few gems in the movie, but in the end it left me feeling nothing. If you want an intellectual, high-level survey course on what people around the world think about the meaning of life, this is your movie, but not mine.

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