Tag Archives: Oscars

Big Screen Berkeley: ‘Omar:’ A powerful Palestinian drama

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We’re just a couple of weeks away from this year’s Academy Awards, but one of the Best Foreign Language Film nominees is only now going on general release (to be eligible, films must screen publicly in Los Angeles County for a full week during the prior year but may open later elsewhere). That’s no reflection on the nominated film’s quality, however – and I’ll go out on a rather long limb and predict Oscar glory for Omar, a powerful Palestinian drama about life in the Occupied Territories opening at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas on Friday, Feb. 21.

Omar (Adam Bakri) is a typical young West Bank resident. Having grown up under the occupation he’s adapted to it in innumerable ways, including making a daily climb over the 26 foot-tall ‘security wall’ in order to visit friends and get to work. Despite the best efforts of Israeli Defense Force patrols to prevent such breaches, Omar scales the wall on a regular basis, sometimes with a boost from kindly passers-by. … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: Oscar-nominated short subjects

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This time last year, I handicapped the Oscars. Not, of course, the ones that everyone actually cares about – no, I was concerned with the ones only a mother (or a film obsessive, or perhaps a film obsessive’s mother) could love: the short subjects. How’d I do, you ask? Well, so-so: in the animated category the film I suspected would win did, while in the live action category the film I considered the bottom of the barrel ended up at the top of the heap.

But this, of course, is a new year, so it’s time to play the guessing game once again – especially as the Animated and Live Action contenders will be screening at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas beginning this Friday, Feb. 1. (2013’s nominated Documentaries will only be playing in San Francisco and San Rafael.)  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley documentary film shortlisted for an Oscar

If you’re stocking up on snacks in preparation for Oscars night on Sunday, make a note to watch out for a nominated film with a Berkeley connection.

The Barber of Birmingham is an Academy Award nominee for best documentary short subject this year. The film, which explores the impact of the then potential nominee Barack Obama as the first African American president on a group of aging Civil Rights activists in the South, was co-directed by Gail Dolgin, a Berkeley-based independent documentary filmmaker who died in October 2010 while working on the film.

Dolgin’s co-director and producer, photographer Robin Fryday, who lives in Marin, completed the movie which was given financial suport by the Berkeley Film Foundation. … Continue reading »

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