The Devil Came on Horseback, Born Into Brothels, A Fish Called Wanda

Robin Mackenzie
Programmer, San Diego Film Festival's Women Filmmaker's Series

Doing the rounds at festivals, on the hunt for films I think San Diego audiences would enjoy, I came across a documentary that shook me to my soul. The Devil Came on Horseback is about a journalist who lived in Darfur as the Janjaweed began their evil surge to wipe the black Africans off the face of the Sudanese map. Janjaweed literally means "devil on horseback," and they're an army of satanic soldiers funded by the Sudanese government. This extraordinary documentary tells the story of the men, women, and children of Darfur as they cling desperately to a fragile web of life hoping for the intervention of "the great America" that never comes. Directed by two women, the film screens as part of the Women Filmmaker's Series of the San Diego Film Festival. It tells the truth and tells it like you're right there.

The Devil Came On Horseback
(USA) 2007, International Film Circuit

Robin Laatz-Kozak
Cofounder and executive director, San Diego Film Festival, www.sdff.org

Expiration Date is a whimsical, satirical Seattle comedy about a Native American whose father and grandfather were killed by milk trucks on their 25th birthdays. With his birthday days away, he's accepted his fate. Then a girl comes along that won't let him die in peace. The film looks good, feels good, and makes you laugh! Born into Brothels provides a vivid reflection of the world beyond our doors. The filmmakers brilliantly tell the story of seven unforgettable children living in the red-light district of Calcutta, India. Handed cameras, they're taught how to see the world with new eyes.

The Matador is a drama with a hint of thriller and touch of comedy. It's about a hit man who's feeling burned out. Pierce Brosnan takes a role totally opposite of Bond and turns the film into one about companionship, exposing a new side of his acting abilities.

Expiration Date
(USA) 2006, Roadkill Productions

Born into Brothels
(USA) 2004, Velocity Home Entertainment

The Matador (Widescreen Edition)
(USA) 2006, Weinstein Company

Karl Kozak
Writer-director of Skid Marks and cofounder of the San Diego Film Festival

As a kid, when everyone else was going to the theater to see their favorite action hero, I was into comedy. I was a huge fan of Woody Allen, Monty Python, Mel Brooks, etc. I could recite lines from every movie. Here are three of my favorite recent comedy films. The Coen brothers are gifted filmmakers -- that's certain -- and Raising Arizona is worth revisiting. Every time I watch it I glean something new. A Fish Called Wanda is definitely one of the best-constructed, funniest, and most clever comedies in recent years. It's outrageous, offensive, and even a little sick -- and all the more enjoyable for it. John Cleese has spent his entire career rejecting conventional comedy, and, on this occasion, he hits pay dirt.

What's not to love and laugh about in Sideways? I love wine, Santa Barbara, and oddball buddy comedies. Who knew Paul Giamatti could make you laugh this hard?

Raising Arizona
(USA) 1987, Twentieth Century Fox

A Fish Called Wanda
(USA/England) 1988, MGM

Sideways (Widescreen Edition)
(USA) 2004, Twentieth Century Fox

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