By “Cinema” Dave
Despite what presenter Faye Dunaway said Sunday night, Moonlight did win the Best Picture Oscar for 2016. In under two hours, writer/director Barry Jenkins shares a slice of South Florida culture through the eyes of a child, a teenager and an adult through three chapters of a larger narrative. Moonlight earned its honor through impressive storytelling and character development, a skill Barry Jenkins earned when he attended Florida State University, College of Motion Picture Arts. Congrats, Moonlight cast & crew.
On the Map opens tomorrow with a unique South Florida connection. Twelve years ago, Director Dani Menken appeared at the Palm Beach International Film Festival. As a producer, Menken earned the Best Documentary for 39 Pounds of Love, which features Ami Ankilewitz, an American-born Israeli who was diagnosed with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy who likes to party. In contrast, On the Map features the growth of professional athletes in Israel.
After World War II ended, the American sport of basketball grew as an international sport in Italy, Spain and the Soviet Union. Given the terrorist actions of the 1972 Munich Olympics, the story about the Soviet Union stealing the Gold Medal from Team USA became a mere footnote. Five years later, young Israel (a nation state less than three decades old) confronted the International Champion Soviet Union in an epic basketball game.
Told with grainy home movies and audio supplied by reel-to-reel tape recorders, On the Map retells the epic David & Goliath story about Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team.
Now 40 years later, the teammates reunite and celebrate their amazing victory. The memories are sharp and this story truly comes alive.
If you love the sport of basketball, get out of the house and check out On the Map on the big screen.
Kedi also opens tomorrow and will surely inspire cat lovers. Set in Istanbul, this unique documentary shows the symbiotic relationship between the urban dwellers and the cats. Like a National Geographic/Wild Kingdom documentary, Kedi captures kitty cats in a natural habitat demonstrating primal behavior.
It is ironic that people choose animation animals (like Oscar winner Zootopia) over natural animals at the movie box office. However Kedi provides many short stories about individual cats. The film pays off during the curtain call in which we revisit each of these cats and we remember each one of their stories.
March is predicted to be a box office bonanza with the releases of Logan, Kong Skull Island and Beauty and the Beast, respectively. However, don’t lose sight of the fine documentaries — On the Map and Kedi.