SIFF 2011 Day 11: And So It Ends

My final day at SIFF was one of annoyance and melancholy.
After a morning of Vampire Diaries on DVD, I headed over to SIFF Cinema (conveniently located!) for Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians. I watched this film mainly because a friend of mine would be referenced in it. As it turns out, Benjamin had quite a bit more screen time than I had anticipated, and I was surprised and delighted to see his wife, also my friend, Megan on-screen as well. (It really should not be a surprise to see Megan on the silver screen, and if you have spent ten minutes with her, you’d know why.) It is really difficult for me to write objectively about this film for the very fact that it’s about self-proclaimed Christians. The film follows a team of blackjack players made up of primarily pastors and other “devout” Christians. I use the capital C to emphasize that the appellate is more name than description. The only player that seemed a true christian to me was Mark, the pastor who quit because he could no longer correlate his spiritual life with his casino life. The filmmaker of Holy Rollers was on hand for a Q&A but I felt my mind would burst if I had to listen to more of the claptrap. So I left during the credits and headed to Pacific Place for my final film.
The evening ended with a sorrowful Belgium film called Illégal. A single mother of one has made her way in Belgium as a cleaner for nearly ten years when she is randomly spotted by police and detained for lack of papers. Not wanting to be deported back to Russia, she hides her identity from authorities while waiting out her time at a detention center. She suffers while also bonding with fellow detainees. A guard at the center empathizes with the foreigners although she needs the job to support her own family. Events reach a cresendo at the center, bringing the guard to a turning point and bringing a sincere tear to my eye. Illégal is available on DVD and will be on Netflix Instant Watching in July.

7 thoughts on “SIFF 2011 Day 11: And So It Ends

  1. Dear Monica,
    Thank you for your kindly words about me I feel ever so touched by them!! I miss you. I would love to (have) watch(ed) the last film you saw on the last day with you – looks mighty fine to me! THere is a copy of my short story in a book which i sent to Karen, for you, Maryam and Karen. If I were rolling in holy dollars (!) I should have liked to have sent you one each. But alas alack, these monetary blessings elude me. He he he!
    Love you much. I have just finished a great read, ‘American Wife’, based loosely on the life of Laura Bush. Whilst in the novel, the Bush family hail from Wisconsin, the fact that it’s ACTUALLY speaking about Texas made me think fondly of you. I recommend this book!
    What are you reading?
    Love you,

  2. Megan: I miss you, too! and can’t wait to see the book. I haven’t been reading much lately, but the book on top of my stack is Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. I’m a wee past halfway through it.

    Benjamin: Hurrah! No worries. You’re welcome!

  3. Wish you would have stayed for Q&A Moneeka, I got to explain the real reason Benjamin was let go. It had nothing to do with being a non-christian or the unsubstantiated accusation…. Though the film as it is makes for a more sensational telling, I guess.

  4. I feel like the reason, which I think was expressed in the film, was the the change in dynamic of the team, and maybe Benjamin was a scapegoat. Having only the facts and timeline as it was presented by the film, it seemed to me that the dynamic was already changing either prior to or simultaneously with Benjamin’s inclusion. If he hadn’t joined, the turmoil would still have been there, but it would have had a different face. That’s my take, anyway.

  5. Monica I like your take! I’ve always appreciate your wisdom and insights. It was a horrid experience, that accusation and surrounding events, and it is heartening to read your perceptions and thoughts. Thank you!!!!!


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