The Warrior Queen of Jhansi opens as FLIFF closes this weekend

Posted on 14 November 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Based on a true story, The Warrior Queen of Jhansi opens this weekend and deals with the 1857 Indian Rebellion against the British Empire.  If you remember the historical epics that starred Errol Flynn, Charlton Heston and David Niven, The Warrior Queen of Jhansi presents an alternative perspective from the losing side of history.  Like the Alamo, the seeds of victory were planted in this rebellion that was led by a warrior woman, Rhani of Jhansi (Devika Bhise).

Clocking in under two hours, this film is an entertaining piece of history. The film provides costume drama with conflict between the Rhani and Queen Victoria (Jodhi May), but also presents the outdoor beauty of India. The battle scenes are epic, but lack the bloody intensity of current events provided on the big screen and the small screen these days.

It is with a sense of melancholia that The 34th Annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival closes this Sunday evening with From the Vine starring Joe Pantoliano.  Pantoliano stars as a damaged individual who returns to rural Italy in an attempt to resurrect a wine vineyard. 

Written and directed by Daniel Cohen, A Stone in the Water will play this weekend. Bonnie Bedelia portrays a grief-stricken mother who projects her worst fears upon a pregnant survivor of a car crash. Sunday evening will wrap up the festival with Working Man, which features Talia Shire’s return to the festival.

Prolific actress, Diane Baker has graced the festival with her warmth and humanity. A voting member of the Academy Awards who serves with the Actor’s Branch, Baker  credits acting to opening her world to adventures in Greece and Israel.  She has witnessed firsthand a government dictatorship, while acknowledging the common wishes and desires of worldwide humanity.  She credits much of her education to her mentor, Melvyn Douglas, a MGM contract player who won two Oscars for Best Supporting Actor in Hud and Being There, respectively.     

Douglas helped Baker deal with Joan Crawford, an actress who could be very demanding. Baker and Crawford made three films together: The Best of Everything, Della and Strait-Jacket. Perhaps because Crawford portrayed Baker’s mother in two of the three films, the fine line between fantasy and reality seemed to be crossed. This weekend, I will be presenting the videos of Diane Baker’s interview with Professor Foster Hirsch on my blog — www.cinemadave.livejournal.com, which will detail how Baker dealt with her conflict with Joan Crawford.

As much as I love partying and reconnecting with friends and colleagues, it is these special moments with people like Diane Baker that elevates a film festival like FLIFF.  As much as the industry has changed, it is great to listen to a professional of her caliber who believes in good stories, human values and the importance of laughter.

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