“Korengal” Same valley, same soldiers, different story

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 One of the loglines for Sebastian Junger’s latest documentary film “Korengal” is: “Same valley, same soldiers. Different journey” while another reads: “This is what war feels like.”In one way “Korengal” completes the 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary “Restrepo” that Junger made with cameraman, photojournalist Tim Hetherington who died in 2011 while covering the conflict in Libya. But as Junger expresses it, “’Restrepo’ was intended to be a way for civilians to experience what combat … [Read more...]

Earth Day Films from the Sundance Institute

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  I got an email today from The Sundance Institute - it is offering people five films - handpicked -  to watch for Earth Day - today. Click here to access the films - though you may have to register first. As a disclaimer I haven't seen the films but knowing the quality of Sundance documentaries I'll let you be the judge. If all else fails, see Rio 2, a stunning fable for Earth Day.  … [Read more...]

Cesar Chavez – my on camera review

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Here's my online video review of "Cesar Chavez" along with insights and excellent comments by the director Diego Luna and Cesar Chavez' son Paul Chavez. This goes along well with my written review from The Tidings last week. Click here for the print review    … [Read more...]

Facebook at 10: a Christ-haunted political forum, family reunion, prayer group

Photo: AP

Last week marked the 10th anniversary of Facebook, the social networking site founded more or less (see the 2010 film "The Social Network") by Mark Zuckerberg in his dorm room at Harvard University. OK, Wikipedia says he co-founded Facebook with four other guys, but we really don't remember them, do we? And there were three others who claimed Zuckerberg stole their idea, a legal battle that was settled out of court. In an interview Feb. 4 with Zuckerberg on the "Today" show, there was no mention … [Read more...]

Director’s dream began in a Cincinnati Catholic high school

Director Joe De Francesco and associate producer Wendy Drucker (Photo by Rose Pacatte)

Director Joseph De Francesco never forgot the impression that Stephen Vincent Benet’s epic 1928 Pulitzer Prize-winning poem made when he was a student at St. Gregory’s, a high school diocesan minor seminary in Cincinnati. There he found, and admittedly stole, a recording of the 1953 Broadway performed recitation of the poem by Tyrone Power, Judith Anderson, and Raymond Massey. It was adapted and directed by Charles Laughton. De Francesco still has the record.For his junior year, deciding the … [Read more...]

San Quentin film highlights human redemption

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“’John Brown’s Body’ at San Quentin Prison,”  a movie about the making of a play inside San Quentin and starring San Quentin prisoners, premiered last October at the Mill Valley Film Festival in northern California just a few miles from the prison itself.  I felt honored to be in the audience with five of the former prisoners turned actors and their families present. All of the former prisoners had, at one time, been sentenced to life in prison, but have now been released. In fact, only three pri … [Read more...]


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