The Reel Less Traveled – November 2022


We Interrupt This Column…

    Anyone who reads this column regularly knows the drill. I usually start out with an introductory paragraph and then go right into writing about the “extra-curricular” films playing at the Orinda Theatre.
    But this time I’m going to break with tradition a bit, because this month sees the return of the California Independent Film Festival (CAIFF). Having been absent from the Lamorinda community for nearly three years, it’s back and better than ever.
    Overseen by Orinda Theatre owner, CAIFF Founder and President Derek Zemrak and Efi Lubliner, director of programming and co-head of the International Film Showcase (IFS), this event has everything a film festival needs: celebrities, premier film debuts, the Iron Filmmaker series and much, much more.
    I could go on, but I refer you to Kathy Cordova’s article on page one, which goes into greater detail.
    I would like to mention a notable emphasis on comedy this year and, specifically, I’d like to call your attention to a free screening of Danny Kaye’s The Court Jester (1955).
    Not only is it the finest showcase for Kaye’s enormous comedic talent, but also it’s every bit as lavish as the kind of movies it’s making fun of, up to and includes a stellar cast.
    Basil Rathbone is featured as the villain along with Angela Lansbury and Glynis Johns (of Mary Poppins fame) as well. Kaye’s movie is made all the more enticing since there will be a free screening. The Festival itself will run Nov. 10 through 17. For more information, visit or
    Now back to our regularly scheduled column.
    Aside from the festival, I’m pleased to announce that Lubliner and his stalwart partner in crime, Jo Alice Canterbury, are not letting the International Film Showcase stand idle. If anything, they’re upping their game by presenting a film reported to be the most expensive film Hungary has ever produced. Bet On Revenge is the title given to it in this country, but the Hungarian title is Kincsem, which, translated, means “my precious” or “my treasure.”
    The “precious treasure” is a particularly singular film about a real-life racehorse that, it is said, never lost a race. Enter one Erno Blaskovich (Ervin Nagy), a ne’er-do-well libertine and recent victim of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution. Seeing the racehorse as a means of improving his fortune, the horse instead becomes for him an agent of redemption.
    Though certain liberties were taken in portraying the historical events, the film overall is the most adult, invigorating film the IFS has ever shown (The trailer alone is definitely not for the prudish). It screens Nov. 11. Visit for more information.
    So, as they say in the film biz, that’s a wrap. Until we meet again in January, remember to always veer towards those wonderful images made of sound and light – something that’s easy to do if you go to the festival – for that’s where the reel magic lies.

Tom Westlake can be reached at

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