PEACE IN THE VALLEY
A HUMAN STORY REALISTICALLY SHOWN
BY IRIDE APARICIO
SILICON VALLEY, CA-- First presented on Wednesday August 24 at the Hammer Theatre Center in San José, during CINEQUEST FILM AND CREATIVITY FESTIVAL and for a second time on the night of August 29, at 7:15 PM at the Prune Yard Cinema #2, the film PEACE IN THE VALLEY, is a film to be seen. It is the story of an American family who after being touched by gun violence is trying to make sense of its tragedy. But this movie is also one of those unique movies where its dialogue is so powerful, the acting so realistic, and its subject matter so up-to-date, that it moves us. Absorbs us in its plot. Manages to touch the fine chords of our hearts with the actors's performances, and let us for a long time.
It opens with a scene which may be any day for any family living in any place in the world. The long shot of a young family of three, father mother and a boy, coming out of their truck, and entering a suburban town supermarket to buy their groceries. Because the situation is so common to everyone, the audience bonds with the characters at first sight.
The family is the Rhodes family. John Rhodes, (played by Michael Aggott Jr.) the father, is a firefighter and veteran. His wife Ashley (played by Brit Shaw) a housewife, and their ten year old son is Jesse (played by William Samiri) In an indoor shot of the supermarket, we see them walking, talking with each other and selecting items, from different counters. Their conversations is interrupted by a SHOT, following by a SCREAM
Tragedy did strike the family. And now we (the audience) start following the realistic story of Ashley, on the film, which is being presented to us as a movie, but may easily be based on any of the random acts of gun violence that (sadly) we now read about almost every day in our daily local newspapers.
And watching the result of such an act from a victim's point of view, represented on the screen, watching her suffering, her changes, her reactions, the many times she finds herself unable to cope with what happened, and at the end admitting that she needs help. we (the audience) begin not only to fully understand the horror of the act of violence, but to empathize with the victim of the tragedy. We also begin to understand the reason why Ashley is also terrified that Jessie (her son) has suddenly taking great interest is guns, is learning to hunt, and is hunting deer.
And playing the difficult role, of Ashley, Shaw plays it with such realism that at times, we are moved to tears, and at others we wish we could wrap our arms around he to comfort her Sadly all we can do is continue watching the movie and wonder how is it going to end.
And when it ends. Ashley is facing a bigger dilemma. Because in spite of having a therapist to listen to her and to guide her, and belonging to a help group, when Billy, John's identical twin brother, comes to visit her and to take some of his brothers' clothes and belonging before going to Alaska, Ashley snaps. and when she does, it causes all types of changes in Ashley, among them one, which sends the story into a completely different direction. Ashley has to change, is despondency and this time face a moral angle that she will have to resolve sooner nor later. We may have liked to learn what she decides , but. the movie producers ANDREW CARLBERG and BRIT SHAW who also acted the part of Ashley and served as Post-Production-Director decided to leave the question unanswered.
In its technical part, PEACE IN THE VALLEY has a realistic, and humane plot that involves the audience with its story from beginning to end. The editing of the film is perfect, and the acting of the roles professional. From the many films sent to us these years for our perusal, Cultural World Bilingual considers PEACE IN THE VALLEY a must-see film at CINEQUEST...
Tickets and Passes for the festival can be purchased at https://www.cinequest.org/.