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New Awakenings
by Kara Wahn

This being my first film festival, I went in with little or no expectations. I had only hoped that in seeing a diverse range of films I could see the world outside of the box I had put myself into. I wanted to make myself squirm and not stick to those films that I thought would be simply enjoyable. In short, I wanted something with substance. Did I find it? I should think so!

As I looked through the magazine listing all the movies to be shown along with a short plot summary, I was overwhelmed with the options. I had a whole film festival at my disposal if I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity that lay in front of me. The very first film I saw was a German production about infidelity and I drowned in a sea of dark emotions as I watched spectacular, believable acting that left my head spinning from the images I had just seen. Congratulations, Kara, you have just viewed your first ever non-fluff movie. In the past I had also stayed far away from films that were both spoken and sub-titled in anything other than my native language, when previously sitting through premieres but now I challenged myself. I did just that in watching Palais Royal, spoken in French with German sub-titles. After the initial feeling that my head would explode from all the translating going on in my already jam-packed mind, I began to relax and enjoy myself. I found myself liking French humor, even if I didn’t quite always understand the motive behind it.

I was curious to see how the American films measured up to the other films and even though I only managed to watch just two, I found that they were just as serious and varied as the rest. After watching Fast Food Nation I still have not been able to take a bite out of a hamburger! I watched film after film from around the world and was amazed by several things. No matter how advanced the country is, we all suffer from the same problems, some are just better at hiding them than others. I was touched as I learned the meaning of true forgiveness through such films as Red Road and Daybreak. Storylines from these films put into perspective holding a grudge and the trivial things we tend to obsess over every day. Being young and not having traveled much yet, I had hoped that these films would serve more as enlightenment rather than entertainment. Though I didn’t necessarily like all the films I saw, I can honestly say I walked out of each and every one thankful for the way I live and where I live. It was easy for me to go home to my family and not have a single question in my mind as to where I should be in life. I look forward to next year’s film festival to see what images these masters of cinema have captured to show to the rest of us who have no clue and also to awaken us to the world outside of our own that goes on with or without us.