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"Cinema Stephanie"

London, England - Heathrow Airport (Admirals Club - on the house computer so some punctuation, etc. not available)

Hello cinephiles or those who like a good movie for entertainment and/or enlightenment - departing the UK today after attending many screenings at the 61st BFI London Film Festival (credentialed journalist for San Pedro Today magazine and my own free lance endeavor). Stayed in my favorite "home away from home" The Milestone Hotel in Kensington, then a break away to Mayfair and The Westbury. Anyone going to London give me a shout for tips for dining and what to do.

The past many years I've been encouraged by the talented film director (LAHIFF "Broken" programmed at LAHIFF in c. 2009) and creator of "" to launch a blog. So with her inspiration this is the beginning, and let's call it a "blogette", for the brevity (yes, I can be terse as required) and there will be more later.

I was seeking out documentary genre, short films and "general" sort of appeal. I viewed a few films to recommend and/or consider, though not certain of potential or opening exact dates in the USA:

(you can learn more from the BFI London Film Festival website or IMDB). In chron order of when I viewed, not with partiality.

"Becoming Who I Was" (documentary feature, South Korea, 2016; dir. Ching-yong Moon, @95 min.subtitles) story of the Rinpochne (reincarnate of religious teacher rather like high lama) that's an insightful and often heartwarming story about the child who seems to be designated for this higher calling. A soulful, spirited youth who is guided and cared for by an elder monk as they wend their way from an obscure area on Indian border to Tibet.

"Professor Marston And The Wonder Women" (theatrical feature, USA 2017;dir. Angela Robinson, 107 min.) - if you were sent my brief notes on "Wonder Woman" in June you'll recall I was impressed and recommended the movie. If you think you know about who Wonder Woman is/was then think again and see this movie about the man who created the iconic Amazon super-heroette. Dr. Marston taught psychology at Radcliffe in the 1920s (before it was absorbed by Harvard College) and was a fairly contented married man whose wife was a colleague, quite bold and forward thinking. He becomes intrigued by a beautiful, seemingly shy, student who becomes the "T.A." (teaching assistant) helping him and his spouse research and perfect the first lie detector. Much more ensues as the three embark on a uniquely fulfilling, albeit challenging, relationship and one outcome (along with a total of four children of one father and two mums) is the amazing comic (though not funny) cartoon character who was embraced by contemporary society, until arbiters and mores of the times interfered. The film is quite provocative, literally an "eye opener" and revealing about what goes on behind closed doors; and not for anyone under age 21 in my view (though not sure what the rating is).

"The Prince of Nothingwood" (documentary feature, France-German prod. 2016; dir. Sor Sonia Kranlund, 85 min.) Director, star, producer of Ahghanistan cinema Salem Shareen is a combination of action and drama icons Jean Claud Van Damme, Sylvestor Stallone, Chuck Norris with the underlying humor of Sid Ceasar and company. Producing film in a country that has no cinematic establishment, taking the company on the road (in a plane), improvising blood and gore action with vigor "Saleen" is a wonder of the world unto himself. His fortitude and stamina make him a tough task master, yet his entourage seem to adore and respond to him. Get your visa (and I don't mean credit card!) and try to find this movie, that demonstrates anything can be done anywhere with drive, ambition, pathos and humor. As Shareen states: "Hollywood, Bollywood, Nothingwood" which says it all or not.

And for my last evening in London after a day out in the country to see a friend in Oxfordshire on Sunday evening I made it to the Curzon Mayfair where many years ago I saw "A Room With A View" with my good friend (the late) Angus Sixsmith, aka "Lord Bagwash" and then moved to London for an adventure, which continues to this day. The film that opened and was all the news on morning chat shows is:

"The Death of Stalin" (theatrical feature, UK,2017; dir. Armando Iannucci, 106 min.) - the director was present for Q&A so it was like an extension of the film festival, however can't find my notes so more about that later. In the meantime it's billed as a "comedy of terrors" and supposed to be great satire, though for me that was minimal and the story seemed more serious. Then again it's about Stalin so it would be murder and less mayhem, and not so humorous. More later. Boarding my plane soon, where I'll view a few films and possibly send notes.

Cheers & see you at the movies!


(professional affiliation - does not reflect personal POV)

Stephanie Mardesich, Director & Founder LA Harbor International Film Festival (LAHIFF) Telephone (310) 519-0756 "To create a cinematic bridge between the people of the region and the people of the world."

Note: "Save The Date" 15th annual LAHIFF March 15-18, 2018 (HNT Gala Mar. 17) at vintage, art deco WGT. Program announcements begin end of year.

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