Elevate Difference

Reviews of Typecast Releasing


What do you get when you cross a documentary film about the supply and demand frenzy of the Chicago Stock Exchange with a borderline Marxist, feminist film critic? A whole lot of screaming. But that’s really just happening on screen during Floored, the new movie from director James Allen Smith (My Name is Smith), which presents Chicago traders and their associates telling stories of how it felt to be in “the pits” during the “glory days” before the boom of Internet trading and the recession of late, risking their clients’ (and often their own) money. As for the room where I was sitting, there was silence and a yawn. This liberal wasn’t shocked or amused by a showcase of the distinctly capitalist obsession with money.

Dear Pyongyang

Yonghi Yang and her parents are Zainichi, meaning a Korean who lives in Japan. During the division of Korea in 1948 and the war that followed, the Zainichi took sides just as those who dwelled on the peninsula did. Yang’s parents had never been to North Korea, but were so enamoured of communism and the country that in 1971 Yang's father sent his three teenage sons to live in Pyongyang, the capital, as part of the Zainichi “Return Project.” This emigration occurred between the 1950s and 1970s when “Returnees” hoped for a better life in the “fatherland.” This better life never materialized, yet Returnees were forbidden to go back to Japan.

Veiled Voices

When people think of Muslim leaders they rarely envision women; however, many women are have made their mark as religious leaders in Islam. Veiled Voices presents the lives of three such women, allowing them to tell their own stories filled with struggle, triumph, and irony. The film centers on Ghina Hammoud from Lebanon, Huda Al-Habash from Syria, and Dr. Su’ad Saleh from Egypt.

Return to the Land of Wonders

I was riveted by Maysoon Pachachi’s documentary about her homeland: Return to The Land of Wonders. She returns to Baghdad after a thirty-five year absence, soon after the U.S. invasion. The Baghdad she brings to the viewer is not one seen on CNN; she offers a rare insight into the committee (headed by her father, Adnan) working on the drafting of a temporary Iraqi Constitution and Bill of Rights.