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Looking back at the Global Peace Film Festival

Couldn’t make it to the Global Peace Film Festival? No worries. Nicholas D’Alessandro gives us an inside look at the eye-opening documentaries shown.

The opening film of the GPFF, Cinemability, opened to a full house in the Bush Auditorium. This documentary  discusses the portrayal of mentally handicapped people in film, drawing from various examples in film history. It used plenty of big name celebrities, which are usually used to reinforce a point in films or commercials dealing with social issues. Hearing it come from celebrities usually make it more effective, since we are used to trusting them. While a little redundant at points, the film handled the topic from a mostly objective point of view. The big takeaway, in my opinion, was learning about Jamie Foxx’s preparation for playing Ray Charles.

3 out 5 stars.

Voices was an hour long feature that discusses the impacts and lives of people who suffer from schizophrenia. It followed an older Vietnamese woman and her son as the family works their way through her issues, a homeless man in California who has become a fixture in the society and the family of a young man who gave into his demons and killed two police officers. It was a powerful, moving film that shows a side of the story that isn’t frequently discussed. However, from a technical standpoint, the film had some weak points, particularly in its audio and editing. Overall, though, entertaining.

3 out of 5 stars.

Pay 2 Play is a documentary that deals entirely with the concept of economics and its relation to politics. It deals mostly with companies and politicians using money to sway power to their side. While the story is entirely subjective and doesn’t entirely deal with both sides of the story, it is still fascinating. It is full of plenty of important information from everything including Occupy Wall Street to the 2010 Congress elections. The filmmaker, John Ennis, was actually present at the screening. He spoke, briefly, conveying his message of how one voice rising up and standing for something is enough to begin a movement. This message certainly added to the overall impact of the film. 3 out of 5 stars.

Pretty Old was easily my favorite film that I saw this festival. It was the story of the 30th anniversary of the Miss Senior Sweetheart festival, a beauty pageant held in Massachusetts for women over the age of 60. It follows four specific women and their journey through the pageant, as we get to know their lives and their histories. The truly exceptional part of this story was that three of the women featured in the film were actually present at the screening. Getting to know their stories from their mouths was so wonderful and a blessing. To see 80 year old women speaking and talking about life with such joy was a pleasure. It’s an exceptional film, currently on Amazon Instant Video.

4 out of 5 stars.

Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard was the most eye opening of all the films I had the fortune of seeing. It dealt with the inspiring story of a class full of young children, directly after the bombing of Hiroshima, and the hopeful images they drew and sent to Americans back in 1948. The film captured a side of the story that is not frequently shown, a side where Japan and America and their cultures during WWII are directly juxtaposed and cared for. It was wonderful to hear about this story and to understand the importance of the relationship after the brutal war.

3 out of 5 stars.

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