*Week 17 – Movie Recommendations from #ADAF

The Eagle Huntress (Otto Bell, 2016)

A documentary on Aisholpan, a 13 year-old who trains to become the first female eagle hunter of her Kazakh family in generations.

Thanks to this great documentary, I now know more about the eagle hunting culture of the Altai region of Asia than ever before (but then again, I knew next to nothing about it before now). Just to be clear: the generations-old practice doesn’t involve hunting and killing eagles; it’s hunting WITH eagles as a survival tool. “The Eagle Huntress” reveals the endearing sights and sounds of man and beast working in tandem for mutual benefit. However, the main reason why this this documentary was made is to prove that a woman can do what only men, for generations, have been doing… or more specifically, a 13 year-old girl. Aisholpan’s hard work and ambition to be the first female eagle hunter of her region is not only a manifestation of the idea of following your dreams, but it also brings up the heated topic of gender equality. Can her fierce determination in her art overcome the centuries-old “for men only” tradition of her country? “The Eagle Huntress,” narrated by Daisy Ridley, is more than a documentary about a niche hunting custom of Kazakhstan and Mongolia, it’s also the story of one girl’s life dream that will appeal to anyone, anywhere.

@anotherdayanohterfilm Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon

Malena (Giuseppe Tornatore, 2000)

“Malena” is from Giuseppe Tornatore, the director of “Cinema Paradiso.” I love this film as much as I loved “Cinema Paradiso.” In “Cinema Paradiso,” a kid falls in love with cinema. This time, a pre-adolescent boy falls in love with Malena, a beautiful widow who has just arrived in his town. Through his eyes, we see a beginning of a war, an innocent love, childhood, and the curse of beauty. And if a film is about beauty, who would be better cast than Monica Bellucci? Many people criticize this film because of the silence of Monica’s character, but I love it the way it is. I never sensed a lack of dialogue. Her character passes through me without words, which to me, is great art! This film is a masterpiece, a perfect balance of comedy and drama. “Malena” would make a great Sunday movie if you haven’t seen it.

@anotherdayanohterfilm Recommended by Merve Tekin

The Kingdom (Peter Berg, 2007)

A team of US government agents (Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Chris Cooper) is sent to investigate the bombing of an American facility in the Middle East.

From one of Hollywood’s most prolific directors, Peter Berg (seriously, he comes out with a movie almost every year), “The Kingdom” is one I saw in theaters and I haven’t seen it since. Aside from the spectacular scenes of modern warfare, there’s only one other thing I remember from this taut action movie: the ending. It has one of those cinematic endings that adds a single line of dialogue that, although simple and brief, propels a good movie just past the territory of a great movie. Having come out in the middle of the Iraq war during the umbrella of The War on Terror, “The Kingdom” speaks to the sentiments of moviegoers at the time and unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), still does.

@anotherdayanohterfilm Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon

A Face in the Crowd (Elia Kazan, 1957)

I see a lot of documentaries and tv series nowadays about O.J. Simpson. His story reminds me of the film “A Face in the Crowd,” which is one of my favorite movies. Larry (Andy Griffith) is in jail when radio personality Marcia interviews him and has him sing a song for her weekly radio program. His humor and populist song lyrics opens a door for him. He soon has a radio show of his own and shortly after, a television show. He soon becomes very popular and powerful. He rises to the occasion and very much enjoys the attention and the power that he has. But all this changes his personality into an arrogant attitude toward his collaborators and disrespecting his audience in the beginning of his fall. Considering the fact that this film is made in the 50s, it is a masterpiece. Andy Griffith’s performance is outstanding.  He pulls you in with the character’s charm and homespun philosophy. Then you realize there is more than that. I’ve watched this film many times and I’ve always been fascinated by the subtle hints early in the film.

@anotherdayanohterfilm Recommended by Merve Tekin

Tanna (Martin Butler and Bentley Dean, 2015)

Set on a remote volcanic island in the Pacific, a tribeswoman departs from the age-old tradition of arranged marriage, sparking conflict between two tribes.

Last night I had a choice between watching “Desierto” or “Tanna.” I opted for the latter so I can recommend it on ADAF today during International Women’s Day. “Tanna” is an Oscar-nominated foreign film, which, admittedly, deceived me (but in a good way). The story starts off as something that seems to be the slow and wandering kind, but to my delight, quickly picks up and turns into one that gets you guessing on what can possibly happen next. The event-filled plot, in addition to the picturesque shots (it’s shot entirely on-location on a volcanic, tropical island), and the evocative acting by the local tribespeople makes “Tanna” a welcomed surprise for me. A lot of people living in Western nations tend to have a pre-conceived notion that foreign, subtitled films are unappealing. While “Tanna” may not win over most of us, it doesn’t make it any less of a well-made film.

@anotherdayanohterfilm Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon

Up in Smoke (Lou Adler, Tommy Chong, 1978)

“Two stoners unknowingly smuggle a van – made entirely of marijuana – from Mexico to LA with incompetent Sgt. Stedenko on their trail.” If you just want to laugh and laugh, this film is for you. Amazing characters, great rhythm, and great music.

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@anotherdayanohterfilm Recommended by Merve Tekin

Pi (Darren Aronofsky, 1998)

Poster designed by Benjamin Parslow

A paranoid mathematician searches for a key number that he believes unlocks a universal pattern found in nature.

The similarities between Christopher Nolan’s debut feature and Darren Aronofsky’s are striking. They were both low budget films, shot in black and white, they both hold highly cerebral themes, and they were both released in 1998. “Pi” was one of my first excursions into non-mainstream cinema. It was also one of the first movies that showed that I don’t have to have a full understanding of what I just saw in order to have enjoyed a movie. As my interest in movies blossomed, “Pi” opened an entirely new avenue for me. If you haven’t seen it, it probably means you weren’t in high school during the late 90s (everybody talked about “that one crazy movie”). More importantly though, if you haven’t seen “Pi,” I think you should. And get ready to have mind prodded and challenged.

@anotherdayanohterfilm Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon

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