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Santa Cruz Film Festival Diary, Day 4

film-shuffleKurt Kuenne’s ‘Shuffle’

With its mid-May scheduling, the Santa Cruz Film Festival, which I continued to explore at a moderate tempo over the weekend, creates the ultimate first-world conundrum for attendees: How does one take advantage of all the festival has to offer when it’s 70 degrees outside? There’s a reason, I think, why many of the world’s most distinguished film festivals happen in places(or during seasons) that wouldn’t merit an extended stay sans said festival.

So it was not without a twinge of reluctance that I settled into a matinee screening of Kurt Kuenne’s Shuffle (no offense meant to the film itself), and found my sacrifice rewarded in a satisfying, if not overwhelming, way. The feature is preceded by Daniel Onoda’s short film Narcissism, and the pair of films share the concept of time-shifting, as well as an overemphasis on user-friendly narrative exposition. Narcissism is a dicey title for the Psycho-referencing short, exposing the film to potential cheap shots that mirror back its title as a criticism. However, this is a smart film that knows how smart it is—and ultimately, it’s too smart for its own good. It does, however, boast a killer original score by Onoda and writer-producer-star Orien Longo.

Pairing the mystery of The Twilight Zone with the romanticism of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, Shuffle is a feature-length narrative effort from Kuenne, who directed the truly devastating 2008 documentary Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (Shuffle is dedicated to the same Zachary). The film’s protagonist experiences his life out of chronological sequence—he goes to sleep without knowing where or when (past or future) he is going to wake up. Starring a terrific T.J. Thyne (of FOX’s Bones) and a wonderful Paula Rhodes, Shuffle shifts effortlessly between multiple times and tones—until a resolution that feels rushed even as it’s played out over a few too many endings. And yet, it’s hard to begrudge a film with its heart so firmly in the right place.


For the complete Santa Cruz Film Festival schedule, visit santacruzfilmfestival.org.

 

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 12

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