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     Volume 4 Issue 39 | March 25, 2005 |

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Around the World in 12 days!

Cinequest Film Festival 2005

Nabeel Atique

Tired of your run-of-the-mill Hollywood blockbusters? Just escape to the world of independent movies. That's what I did from March 2nd to March 12th at Silicon Valley's premiere film festival Cinequest in San Jose, California. This year Cinequest 2005 honoured legendary actor Sir Ben Kingsley with an award. Who is well known for his academy award-winning performance in Gandhi. Past recipients of Cinequest awards are William H. Macy, Spike Lee, Gus Van Sant and Jennifer Beals.

Cinequest brings out the best of the movie making industry. And it offers a means to journey to the four corners of the world and watch movies from all over. This year I managed to see 15 movies that showcased brilliance and artistic genius of some independent filmmakers. Here are some movies that stood out:

Dulhan Made in USA: USA
This was a sheer delight. Very low-budget movie filmed in the San Francisco Bay Area. Akash, an ordinary young man living in India gets dumped by his girlfriend who is looking for someone to take her to the States, so she can live a life of luxury. A heart-broken Akash decides that the ultimate revenge will be to find a "dulhan" (bride) in the States. He travels all the way to the States and checks out a number of prospects. All of which have hilarious outcomes. First time producers Manoj Kumar Sen and Atul Parikh have done an excellent job of conveying how difficult it is to find love in the crazy world we live in.

Set Point: Estonia
This is a fast paced film noir that takes us to the streets of the ancient town of Tallin in Estonia, where a corrupt cop tries to murder his wife to obtain her inheritance. The story takes an interesting twist when someone else gets shot and several bystanders are implicated. Supermodel Carmen Kass stars in this captivating thriller.

Vares Private Eye: Finland
This movie gives Pulp Fiction a run for its money. A violent action movie involving a private investigator who ends up falling in love with a woman who is married to the mob. Bullets fly and a lot of people end up in body bags, but the movie has a Guy Ritchie touch that makes Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels look tame.

Crossing Canada
It may be the year of film noir at Cinequest this year, but this movie has an added element -- a gender-bender twist. Our protagonist is trying to clean up his inherited family business. The only problem is that he likes to dress up as a girl and someone has photos to show it. Cleaning up the family business somehow becomes more complicated.

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