By Pendarvis Harshaw
The 17th annual Oakland International Film Festival is happening Sept. 19–Sept. 29, with 25 rare, independent films screening at various venues around town, including Regal Jack London, the Grand Lake Theater, Holy Names University, the Oakland Asian Cultural Center and an outdoor venue that's yet to be announced.
There's a wide array of films. I've watched a few of them, and from what I've seen, let me tell you: bring a tissue.
Lalo's House by Kelley Kali was one of the festival's heavier films. Although hard to watch because of the subject matter—people posing as missionaries while sex-trafficking children in Haiti—it was nonetheless a good movie. It was so well shot, and the plot was short but gave enough to the audience to draw them in. That, coupled with engaging acting, provoked my frustration as I wrapped my mind around the injustices playing out on screen. And I finished the film, one that, given the subject matter, I'd usually turn away from.
Another heavy topic, the oppression of African Americans, was a central theme in Froi Cuesta's film Unalienable Rights, an animated tale that looks back at the confrontation between the MOVE Organization and the Philadelphia Police Department in 1978. That event served as a precursor to another incident in 1985, in which authorities dropped a bomb on a house where members of MOVE were barricaded.