The Reel Less Traveled – November 2023


Where Do I Even Start...

    This is one of those months where the term “slow news” definitely does not apply. From Nov. 9 -16, Orinda will be immersed in The California Independent Film Festival. The schedule is so packed with the memorable and noteworthy, it is impossible to detail everything, so I’ll highlight the events which stand out, starting with opening night’s Driving Madeleine.
    It’s important not to let the title put you off. There are major differences between Madeleine and Miss Daisy. There is very little Southern gentility, it takes place in Paris and does not sugar-coat anything.
    Madeleine was not sheltered by privilege. She led a storied life with no punches pulled, especially when it came to the treatment of women. Nevertheless, there is still much poignancy and laughter to be had, not to mention the always cinematic city of Paris itself.
    Other deserving entries are the documentaries. Among them are Beyond the Visible – Hilda Af Klint about the first woman abstract artist, Pianoforte, featuring young pianists during the annual International Chopin Piano Competition, Turn Every Page – The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb, detailing the sometimes-embattled friendship between author and editor and the compelling The Caviar Connection about the corruption and hypocrisy in some foreign governments.
    Other genres include Afire, a German romantic dramedy, Il Boemo, an Amadeus-like biography of Josef Mysliveček and Godland, a stunningly beautiful Icelandic drama about a priest wanting to establish a church in a harsh, unforgiving location.
    A Quiet Girl, chosen by Jo Alice Canterbury and Efi Lubliner as part of their International Film Showcase, will also be showing. These are but a small sampling of what is in store during the festival.
    Other features include a tribute to Maurice Chevalier and a special showing of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Visit for more information on special guests, contests and pricing.
    The Chiller Diller Theatre presents Godzilla, King of the Monsters Nov. 18 at 8:30 p.m. The most charitable thing to be said about this movie is that, thanks to modern technology, you will be spared the clumsy looking man-in-suit and poor puppetry action.
    This is definitely an updated version from the earlier Toho Studios attempts. Not only Godzilla shows up, but also Mothra, Rodan and Ghidorah join in. They even got Millie Bobby Brown from Stranger Things to star, so join Lord Blood-Rah for the mass destruction.
    Lots to look forward to in November. Keep checking for additional news, and remember to always veer towards those wonderful images made from sound and light for that’s where the reel magic lies.

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