Next month Fresno Filmworks will present the 2016 Fresno Film Festival. Our theme this year is “elevating film”. At Fresno Filmworks, we believe movies have the power to change the way we look at the world and shift our perspectives. They rearrange, refocus, and elevate our lives. Film allows us new viewpoints and at times those shifts can be our salvation through pain, loneliness, and grief.
This month Fresno Filmworks presents a very special film that demonstrates the elevating qualities of art. Sharon Jones had long been a respected singer when she was diagnosed with cancer. In desperate need of a way to process what was happening to her, she used her musical gifts to navigate the frightening path to recovery. Her struggle and her music are so closely tied together, it might be impossible to talk about one, without acknowledging the influence of the other. “Miss Sharon Jones!” is just one movie in the history of cinema to explore the power of art and looking at the world through new perspectives.
This 2001 French fairy tale became a surprise in the United States. Amelie Poulain is a lonely young waitress in modern Paris struggling to make connections with her father, her customers, and the world around her. In her free time she watches classic movies in a rundown theater. Amelie’s connection with these films is so strong that she allows the Hollywood fantasies to permeate her own life, keeping her company until she can find a love of her own. This wonderfully whimsical tale of old fashioned romance in modern France made an international star of Audrey Tautou and showed that there’s nothing wrong with allowing your favorite film to skew the way you view the everyday world.
This one is a personal favorite. A classic piece of 1980s fantasy, “The Neverending Story” shows a young boy whose perspective is so changed by a book that he’s able to view the world from atop a flying dragon. Our friends at The Warnors theater recently screened this film as part of their Modern Classics Series, introducing a whole new generation to a timeless story of grief, healing, and the power of a really good book.