SFF 2016 - Sonita - Mini review

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by Chris Ricci

There are two versions of ourselves: the version that we live with on a daily basis, and the dream version that we long to be. But what separates us from that dream? Money? Fear? Tradition? For the titular "Sonita," it's all of the above. 

"Sonita" follows a teenager from Afghanistan who illegally immigrated to Tehran with her sister to escape not only the vice grip of terrorism, but also her family that, in some ways, act as an organization that instills terror. 

Sonita has dreams, and dances the line between reality and fantasy daily. But it is her will and her desire to follow those dreams that make her tale more harrowing. Sonita wants to sing, which is taboo to the point of political intervention, but the binds of which are merely challenges that can easily be combatted. 

The challenges faced by Sonita are experienced in real time, dragging the audience into the fray in ways that are incomprehensible. The atrocities she faces are things that are difficult for us to fathom, but her care-free and matter-of-fact attitude brings forth the ultimate question: do we, as viewers, live in our quintessential dream world already? 

Her story is one that, in a terrible way, isn't one that's uncommon. The struggles she faces are real, and the horror of that are insurmountable. However, her dance with dreams, her desire for perfection, and her passion for the arts that seem out of reach are truly unique and are a testament to the value of the human spirit. What is the price for happiness? For some there's an actual value, but "Sonita" will teach you that some things don't have value, and are emotionally priceless.

Salem Film Fest Window Decorating Contest

Salem’s So Sweet may not be over yet, but Salem Film Fest is coming up fast (March 5 through March 12) -http://salemfilmfest.com.  This amazing festival has been growing exponentially each year and gives us a great opportunity to welcome visitors to Salem. 

 That means that it’s time for the return of the Salem Film Fest windows - if you've got a downtown storefront window, we want to see your best film-inspired window!  While the festival focuses on documentaries, your window does not have to be documentary-specific (windows inspired by Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, or the Avengers are absolutely encouraged). 


This year, we will have a jury select a winning window.  The winner of the competition will become the underwriter of a single film for the 2016 Salem Film Fest ($300 value)!

Need some inspiration or materials?  Paul Van Ness of CinemaSalem will again be donating some old celluloid film and film reels (and popcorn!) to anyone who wants to decorate a window.  Stop by the Main Streets / Chamber offices at 265 Essex any time after 12:30 pm on Wednesday, Feb. 18th for film, popcorn, and Salem Film Fest posters! 

Participating businesses must notify Salem Main Streets of their interest and have window decorations completed byFriday, Feb. 27.  Don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions about any of this at kylie@salemmainstreets.org or 978/744-0004