LAFF 2013 Documentary Reviews: ‘My Stolen Revolution’, ‘Casting By’ & ‘All of Me’
As we continue our reviews of films seen at the 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival, we tackle three more documentaries that delve into the struggle and thriumphs of women in their very own unique way.
Official Synopsis: My Stolen Revolution is about Nahid Persson’s journey to find out what happened to her brother in prison before he was executed. During her journey she meets witnesses who talk about the atrocities committed by the regime on its people in prison.
Thoughts: Directed by Nahid Persson Sarvestani, the film is a powerful piece work as it gives you insight into the other side of the Iran revolution. While watching these women share their dark times, one cannot help but be heartbroken by the extensive and horrific abuses they were forced to endure. While the narration can be slightly overbearing at first, it ends up doing a good job of vocalizing the raw emotions of the audience as they share the experiences of these courageous women. A must watch for anyone interested in the struggle of women in Iran.
Highlight: Watching the women joking about how they slept in prison cells was a strange but welcome moment of levity in an otherwise serious documentary
Rating: 8 out of 10 stars
You can watch a trailer of My Stolen Revolution below.
Official Synopsis: ‘Casting By’ puts the spotlight on filmmaking’s unsung heroes – the casting director – and takes us on a fast-paced journey through the last half century of Hollywood history from an entirely new perspective. Pioneers like Marion Dougherty and Lynn Stalmaster were iconoclasts whose exquisite taste and gut instincts helped to put the final nail in the coffin of the old studio system and usher in the New Hollywood with movies like ‘Midnight Cowboy’, ‘The Graduate’, ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ and ‘Bonnie and Clyde. Afforded the unprecedented freedom and power of the new medium of television, they broke away from the traditional typecasting of Hollywood and brought a new kind of leading man and leading lady to the screen (Actors like James Dean, Dustin Hoffman, Bette Midler, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman, et al).
Thoughts: If you have ever been curious about what it took to get a particular actor for a particular movie, then this movie is for you. Simply put, Casting By exposes the birth of the concept of casting for TV and feature film through the eyes of its pioneers Marion Dougherty and Lynn Stalmaster and the industry key players. While Stalmaster is also featured in the film, the true subject is the whimsical and fascinating Marion Dougherty as she shares how she started a whole new way of casting back in New York. My only grip with the film is that it assumes that the audience knows what casting is to begin with and hence doesn’t do a good enough job of breaking down and defining what casting truly means. Still, the film is enjoyable and engaging for all.
Favorite moment: Anytime Marion Dougherty was on screen. Period.
Rating: 7 out of 10 stars
You can watch a trailer of Casting By below.
Official Synopsis: The women of the BBW (Big Beautiful Women) Club celebrate being overweight, and the men who love them don’t want them to change. But what happens when the group decides to undergo weight loss surgery?
Thoughts: The subject of this film is engaging, interesting and really poses some though questions about obesity and the trials that these women face with their weight and weight-loss efforts. At times, as the viewer, you find yourself in the sometimes uncomfortable position of facing your own pre-conceptions about obesity. Ultimately, you come out of the movie with more questions than answers which can be good or bad depending on your sensibilities.
Highlight: The women sifting through the clothes of one of their friends who passed away. Creepy yet poignant.
Rating: 6 out of 10 stars
You can watch a trailer of All Of Me below.