My 12th year. Will be remembered as the year the Twitter took off and updates were sent back and forth while the festival was in full swing. My biases are away from low-budget films in English and towards foreign dramas. I rarely find film festival comedies funny, which I believe is what they set out to be.

Countries represented this year: Hungary, Serbia, Switzerland. Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Liberia, Norway, Pakistan, and Turkey. Where else do you get a chance to see this kind of variety without the help of Netflix?

My final count was 28 films and one shorts program.

Best Fiction:

1-HISTORIAS EXTRAORDINARIAS — Argentina — Three characters and their stories are told by an unseen narrator
2-SOF SHAVUA B’TEL AVIV (FOR MY FATHER) — Israel — Suicide bomber has 48 hours to live among, learn about, and fall for, the Jews he set out to kill
3-JOHNNY MAD DOG — Liberia — Boy soldiers ruthlessly kill and rape while overseen by older violent men
4-THE PHOTOGRAPH — Indonesia — Nightclub singer attempts to improve her life by becoming the assistant to an ancient photographer
5-FIRAAQ — India — Intertwining stories of Hindus and Muslims unsuccessfully living together in the era of terrorism
6-A NYOMOZO (THE INVESTIGATOR) — Hungary — Humorless pathologist is offered a payday if he kills someone he believes he has no tie to
7-MANNEN SOM ELSKET YNGVE (THE MAN WHO LOVED YNGVE) — Norway — A boy in a high school rock band is conflicted when he finds himself attracted to the new tennis-playing, artistic, beautiful boy even though he knows he has an almost perfect girlfriend
8-PAZAR-BIR TICARET MASALI (THE MARKET: A TALE OF TRADE) — Turkey — Struggling businessman tries to bring much-needed medicine across the border even though he won’t make a profit
9-BE HAMIN SADEGI (AS SIMPLE AS THAT) — Iran — Housewife and mother feels invisible and artistically stiffled
10-CE QU’IL FAUT POUR VIVRE (NECESSITIES OF LIFE) — Canada — Inuit man taken from his home and family for TB treatment in Quebec City in 1952
11-NOME PROPRIO (CAMILA JAM) — Brazil — Passionate young woman with no sense of privacy exposes her thoughts, secrets, dreams, and body to an eager online readership
12-UN AUTRE HOMME (ANOTHER MAN) — Switzerland — Man with no opinions of his own becomes film critic in small village by copying better-known critical material
13-FINNISCHER TANGO (FINNISH TANGO) — Germany — Con man pretends to be disabled and falls in with a group home and learns a little something about himself
14-RAMCHAND PAKISTANI — Pakistan — Father and son are taken into custody for wandering too near the Indian border and adjust to life in prison
15-TANDOORI LOVE — Switzerland — Indian chef on a film location falls for Swiss woman working in an alpine restaurant
16-EL CAMINO — Costa Rica — Children flee abusive grandfather and attempt to cross the border into Costa Rica from Nicaragua, but the dangers are at least as great on their journey as they were back at home

[Avoid the ones below here]

17-LOS (CUT LOOSE) — Belgium — Journalist wants more serious stories to report on and begins writing about immigrant’s experiences coming to Belgium and falls for a beautiful Palestinian
18-UN ROMAN POLICIER (A POLICE ROMANCE) — France — Arab rookie and French police chief investigate drug dealers and a relationship with each other
19-ESZTER HAGYATEKA (ESTHER’S INHERITANCE) — Hungary — Woman with family home falls a second time for her scoundrel brother-in-law
20-CORPSE RUN — USA — Tech-savvy youth play videogames and talk incessantly about their generation
21-TURNEJA (THE TOUR) — Serbia — Semi-famous theater troupe takes a tour of the war-ravaged countryside
22-CAPERS — USA — Three different bumbling crime gangs filmed in three different cinema styles
23-NA LEPOM PLAVOM DUNAVU (THE BEAUTIFUL BLUE DANUBE) — Serbia — Cabaret + Shortbus + Irreversible = Loveboat with value added sexual favors
24-WAKE — USA — Young woman tries her luck dating people she meets at funerals. I tried my luck watching this. I got through 30 minutes

Documentaries:

1-WITCH HUNT — USA — Working-class couples unjustly thrown in prison based upon coached evidence of children
2-JOHNNY CASH AT FOLSOM PRISON — USA — Landmark live album has interesting back story
3-ROCK PAPER SCISSORS: A GEEK TRAGEDY — Canada — These people take Rock Paper Scissors very seriously

Impossible To Categorize Or Review Without At Least A Half Dozen More Viewings:

1-CANARY — USA — Replacement organs are sometimes repossessed if the host doesn’t follow their care and feeding correctly?

Fell Asleep But Heard It Was Terrific:

1–YE CHE (NIGHT TRAIN) — China — I have no idea

CINEQUEST 19 2009 FINAL RANKINGS

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Written by Michael W. Cummins