Exactly one month ago, I boarded a one-way flight from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. It was overbooked. When I waited at the gate, an airline attendant offered me a $500 voucher to not take the flight. I considered it. I've never left home in my life.
Don't come to Melbourne expecting over-the-top displays to deal with the tragedy at hand. The film is perfect for those of us who recognize that most of life, even in moments of drama, is lived in shades of grey, not black and white.
The first few days of the Cannes Film Festival have been marked by surprises -- whether in the shifting national identity of movies, or peace-making efforts between towering directors -- and parties that defy the rain.
In a room full of stars, at a time in which the United States and Israel contemplated possible military strikes, crippling sanctions and Iran's nuclear ambitions, an Iranian man created a counter-narrative as Hollywood awarded him a Golden Globe, which he received from Madonna on stage.
Unsuspectingly, Sunday night's Academy Awards turned into a kind of prism of global politics as Oscars were given out to Iranian and Pakistani films as well as to a film produced by a French director with French actors financed with French subsidies.
To say that the 75-minute documentary radically changed my viewpoint on some modern-day dogmas would be an understatement and all the while managing to make me laugh, cry and relish in the wonder of Panahi's world
I saw 50 of the 63 films entered in the Best Foreign Language Film category and I am happy to report that this was an exceptionally good year. If no single masterpiece stood out, there were a couple dozen good films that I would recommend for film fans of various tastes.