We’ve completed a strong Cinequest 2017, and I’ve seen 33 feature films. All of my feature writing on this year’s fest, along with recommendations on over twenty Cinequest 2017 films are on my CINEQUEST page. Here are the festival highlights (and lowlights).
PERSONAL FAVORITES: I loved the screwball cancer dramedy Quality Problems, a remarkably successful indie that is both insightful and hilarious. My other favorite is the gentle British mockumentary For Grace, both wry and touching.
CROWD-PLEASERS: Fortunately, the Cinequest audiences caught on to both Quality Problems and For Grace. Audiences loved the comedies The Last Word and Carrie Pilby, along with the pulpy revenge thriller (re)Assignment.
The Jane Lynch and Fred Armisen interviews were popular, too. So was the Garbo silent Flesh and the Devil, with its glorious Wurlitzer organ accompaniment by Dennis James.
WORLD CINEMA: The Slovak Iron Curtain drama The Teacher was one of the strongest films in the festival. The Norwegian drama All the Beauty and the Hungarian sci-fi thriller Loop both sported novel construction. The Latvian drama Exiled was one of the most emotionally powerful and visually arresting films at the fest. The Uruguayan dramedy The Moderns was fresh, funny and satisfying.
DOCUMENTARIES: The well-crafted New Chefs on the Block drew a justifiable following at Cinequest.
WORST OF THE FEST: With its lame, soapy dialogue, The Valley was pretty wretched – but it’s an indie. Clearly the worst film this year was the epically bad epic The Ottoman Lieutenant, which sparked multiple audience laughs that were unintended by its filmmakers.
See you at Cinequest 2018.