In today’s tumultuous times, every so often a poignant story rises, like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Amidst studio blockbusters, one is lucky to find a film that shines like a beacon. Three such gems are: A Not So Still Life, Down the Shore and Fifty Nothing.
A Not So Still Life peers into the kaleidoscopic mind of Ginny Ruffner, a world renowned artist, with an indomitable spirit, amazing style, and keen wit. The film invites the viewer into her world of luminaries, including Tom Robbins and Graham Nash. When a tragic accident befalls her, she emerges from a dark place, shimmering like a bright light, much like her magnificent glass sculptures.
Fifty Nothing, ala Men of A Certain Age, is a story of two men at a mid-life transformational stage, trying to stay afloat. Men today face a sea of daunting circumstances — divorce, dating, career, soul-searching and illness, all while trying to pursue their dreams. With a looming tsunami of fear, the two main actors (Martin Grey, Steve Hytner) hold onto the ideal of “50 is the new 30.”
Palms Springs landmarks are featured, such as the Riviera Hotel, and the vaunted golf course as a lush backdrop to the harsh reality facing them in love and life.
Down the Shore, starring James Gandolfini and Famke Janssen showcase these actors’ wide range of emotions and immense talent. The juxtaposition of the innocent merry go round of youth, with the tragedy/melodrama that befalls this Atlantic City family, are the underpinnings of this haunting film, with not so taboo issues, mirroring today. Home foreclosures, domestic violence, molestation — all the elements of a Greek tragedy… amidst the seemingly idyllic seaside setting.
The Palm Springs International Film Festival will run through Jan. 17. For more information, visit www.psfilmfest.org.