African Diaspora International Film Festival 2013 Brings An Eclectic Mix of Films to NYC

Featured Critic; New York City, New York
The 21th edition of the African Diaspora International Film Festival screens in New York from November 29 through December 15 at Teachers College at Columbia University, Thalia Cinema and Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space, Quad Cinema, and the Black Spectrum Theatre. Below are reviews of some notable selections of this year's festival. For more information on these and other festival films, and to purchase tickets, visit ADIFF's website.


As per the title, the Bard’s plays and poetry make superficial appearances in this maudlin would-be tearjerker, which opens this year’s festival. Beginning with a scene in a torrential, lightning-filled rainstorm in which William Ward (Danny Glover) bids a teary goodbye to his dying wife Venus (Tantoo Cardinal). William deals with the aftermath of his wife’s death as awkward flashbacks are interspersed, showing us how the younger William and Venus met, and the early days of their relationship. William meets Venus when she unsuccessfully auditions for the role of Juliet in a high school production. Her performance brings everyone in the room to tears, but as a Native American, she unfortunately isn’t white enough for the part. William and Venus’ romance blossoms and endures despite the myriad tragedies and challenges they must endure. There is a mystical element added here; Venus’ clan has a special relationship to lightning, and she is till able to commune with William after she dies. Danny Glover and Graham Greene (as Venus’ dad) do their best to class up this material, but unfortunately their efforts are sunk by an inept script and some fairly cheesy visual effects.

(Nov. 29, Symphony Space; Dec. 1, Thalia; Dec. 7, Quad)

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