The Michigan Daily records the 2021 Ann Arbor Film Festival

The Ann Arbor-based Daily Arts Film Beat traditionally reports on the Ann Arbor Film Festival. Through our connection to the community and our commitment to supporting the local film scene, it is a real pleasure to have the opportunity to view and review the films at this local festival. It is necessary to recognize the work of local artists and filmmakers, but more importantly, it is incredibly rewarding. For the 2021 Ann Arbor Film Festival, our writers had the opportunity to show very experimental and unique films, ranging from standard narrative formats to films that experiment with unconventional forms – even films that were never meant to be films. Check out the Film Beat reviews of some of this year’s feature films at the Ann Arbor Film Festival.

– Kari Anderson and Sabriya Imami, daily film editors

Still of Al Largo, Anna Marziano.


“Part of what makes ‘Al Largo’ so meditative is Marziano’s focus on the physical super-consciousness that is caused by chronic illness. Marin says that this hyperconsciousness “anticipates the disappearance, but above all supports the present”. Accordingly, painless viewers are brought into their own bodies and made aware of these supporting functions. “

Read more from Ross London here.

Still from “The Inheritance”, Ephraim Asili.


“’The Inheritance’ combines fact with fiction to create a unique story-based documentation format that works well for the dual purpose of informing and entertaining at the same time. The dramatized reenactment of the collective’s struggles teaches viewers how the household works, while captivating them with conflict and humor. The main part of the story, however, is told through historical footage from MOVE, which cuts in and out of the plot. “

Read more from Laura Millar here.

Still from “The Viewing Booth”, Ra’anan Alexandrowicz.

“The Viewing Booth”

“This movie should be seen by anyone who writes about watching. The way Levy’s prejudices and Alexandrowicz’s fears interact in conversation provides a primer and warning against the dangerous illusion of objectivity. Our response to images, especially images of war or injustice, cannot go unfiltered. When these images threaten to change a point of view that we associate with a core identity, objectivity is even less achievable. “

Read more from Ross London here.

Still from “Survival Instructions”, Yana Ugrekhelidze.

“Instructions for Survival”

“’Instructions for Survival’ suggests immediacy and danger in the title and prologue. However, it strives to link these issues to what it wishes to represent in the life and experiences of its central subject. Although the film paints a touching portrait of a couple willing to go to great lengths to protect each other, the film fails to serve its stated purpose. “

Read more from Katrina Stebbins here.

Still from “Purple Sea”, Amal Alzakout, Khaled Abdulwahed.

“Purple Sea”

“There is no structured narration, camera movement, or characters. Instead, the camera moves in and out of the water, showing images of mutilated boat equipment and human body parts. The images are accompanied by a monologue that does not give the film an arc. Instead, it appears to be a series of memories and conversations from childhood memories and conversations. The monologue floats in and out and becomes more and more relevant to what is happening on the screen. “

Read more from Judy Lawrence here.

Still from “Just One Movement”, Vincent Meessen.

“Just one move”

“The film is visually faded in and out of the documentation format. Standard interviews with Diop’s friends help narrate while tacit emphasis is placed on b-roll and seemingly fictional skits highlight important topics. I say “apparently” because the distinction between fiction and fact is often blurred. This is perhaps yet another indication of the real Diop’s performance in Godard’s fictional “La Chinoise”. In any case, it confuses the historical narrative and swallows the philosophical motifs. “

Read more from Ross London here.

Still from “The Quoddy Fold”, Paulette Phillips.

“The Quoddy Fold”

“Unfortunately, creative intentions and thoughtful sound bits cannot save a film. I was getting increasingly bored – not just because there was no dialogue, but because the film didn’t seem to know what to say. It would have been fantastic as a short film or maybe even a traditional documentary that included more exploration of the families behind the house. “

Read more from Mary Elizabeth Johnson here.

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