DIFF 2019: Day 2

It’s that time of year again…the Dallas International Film Festival! Over the course of the next week, I will post short reviews after each day of screenings. So to keep up with the latest and greatest of the 2019 Dallas International Film Festival, please be sure to check back often!

Manta Ray is a very art-house film from Thailand about a poor Thai fisherman who discovers a mysterious man dying in the forest near the coast. It is never entirely clear who exactly this unusual character is and, like the rest of the film, the plot is rather murky. The major emphasis of the movie is the brilliant cinematography and the use of often bizarre colorful imagery. It also indirectly refers to the horrific massacres perpetrated against the Muslim minority population of the Rohingya living in Myanmar and Thailand.

Before You Know It is a funny and bittersweet comedy written and directed by the comedic actress Hannah Pearl Utt in her brilliant directorial debut and is marked by a terrific cast of small-time actors as well as such acting heavyweights as Mandy Patinkin, Alec Baldwin, and Judith Light. It follows two rather different sisters living and working in their small family-owned theater in New York City and how they cope with family tragedy and the shocking discovery that their mother who they thought was dead is actually very much alive and a soap opera actress. I was pleasantly surprised by the often hilarious script that is also balanced with some heartfelt moments about the importance of family especially in times of difficulty. The movie shows that the filmmaker has amazing potential and will no doubt continue on to even greater comedic success.

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