Darleen Ortega has been a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals since 2003 and is the first woman of color to serve in that capacity. She sees two to three films a week and has been writing about movies for well over a decade, including blogging two film festivals and publishing a list of the year's best films. You can find her movie blog at www.opinionatedjudge.blogspot.com.
It's a play about black people apart from the white gaze; they suffer but the play is not about black suffering. It's about love.
In an age when synagogues face a resurgence of deadly violence, Paula Vogel’s beautiful play about Jewish identity, “Indecent,” grapples with themes of outsiders facing threats to their freedoms and basic human rights.
I had no idea about the exciting pop rock scene that flourished in Cambodia just before its magic was utterly destroyed during the Khmer Rouge genocide in 1975 to 1979, a topic explored in the marvelous new play, "Cambodian Rock Band," now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland.
“Between Two Knees” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland is a feat of theater magic so satisfying that, after seeing it three times, I am determined to savor it at least twice more before it closes in October.
Seeing so many films together functioned as a sort of world tour of cinematic language, style, and culture that set my brain humming.
I managed to catch 25 films at the Seattle International Film Festival in May and June--my idea of heaven!
“Seahorse” rocked my world. It follows the journey to parenthood taken by Freddie McConnell, who, as a trans man, is one of a limited number of human males who can, like male seahorses, undergo pregnancy.
"Mossville: When Great Trees Fall" tells the story of a once-proud and independent Louisiana community founded by formerly enslaved African Americans whose once-lush farmland has now been decimated by petrochemical and industrial plants.
The film's release all these years later feels, if anything, more impactful; we have the opportunity to watch the young queen of soul singing black gospel music in exactly the setting and with the exact community where such music is meant to be played, and the film conveys something of the music's genuine meaning for her.
"Us" is more disorienting than Peele’s first film, "Get Out." Although I found that film very scary, I identified the fear specifically with racism. "Us" is more subtle.