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by Karen Pecota

Sitting through a good portion of the 131 films on display during the Hamburg FilmFestival Hamburg (FFHH) 2006 was enlightening. More than not, I walked out of many feature films wondering what the message was. Somehow, I just didn’t get it! OR, was the purpose to dumb me down? I mean really, one can only view so many films where “fuck, fuck, fuck” and more “fuck” shows up in every other sentence. At the same time, I couldn’t help but notice the camera’s fetish of connecting Christian symbols (on the wall, around someone’s neck or on a car’s rearview mirror) with a plethora of scenes which centered on all types of pornography or blatant brutality. I wondered what the degrading verbal and non-verbal messages had in common with the Cross, Mary or Jesus. Hey, if directors want to use Christian symbolism as a visual aid, use it correctly or at least with some integrity. Blasphemy doesn’t get brownie points with me.

And what about the storyline or script, you ask? Good question! All I can say is…lame! Why do you need an intelligent storyline with bite, when all it takes to sell a film is porn and violence for the brain dead? Go figure!

Neither a balanced life nor hopefulness were key subject matters with this year’s films; instead the thrust was to numb the audience with derogatory slang spoken by characters wallowing in negativism, worthlessness and pride. What’s up with directors compelled to insult my intelligence or integrity? No clue! None of my friends live in such irresponsible fervor – they don’t constantly speak disrespectfully to others. Is this reality? If it is, we are in deep chocolate yoghurt! Has our regard for humanity dropped so low?

Visual aids have a lasting effect on our subconscious and they are more powerful than we realize. Where were the positive uplifting films this year? They do exist! I recently read a story by Sports Illustrated reporter Rick Reilly and viewed the accompanying video clip ( It put hope and balance back into the picture. I can’t be a critical thinker without a balance.

Please give me something to critique that is worth my time. Where are the directors who are brave enough to put a functional family film on the screen to dissect? Where are the festivals heroic enough to support them?