Film Review By Holli Harms

In a small town in Missouri where everyone knows everyone, children have gone missing and no one seems to care. The farmer who owed money all over suddenly has the money to buy a new combine. This was a place where the citizens used to be able to count on one another, but now there is something underlying that once honest existence.

Life seems harder now than it ever used to be. Older generations feel it and have sold homesteads that have been in the family for hundreds of years. It seems everyone is always struggling. Struggling to make life better for themselves and their families and they’re just not able to, they are tired. And when a chance for relatively easy money comes along, morals can just go sit in the back seat for a while.

And the undocumented people of this country, the migrant workers whose silence about their missing children is deafening. They can say nothing out of fear of being deported, the family becoming even more divided and displaced. At the heart of the film, are those migrants workers the ones who truly have no rights, no say in the world. They live and work in plain sight of us but they are invisible. As one of the characters says, “They don’t belong here,” and it is because of that sentiment that they are ignored, forgotten, made invisible, easy targets for trafficking.

In Michael Starr’s film, Cicada Song, he wonderfully and delicately dramatizes social injustices. Spinning the tales of human trafficking, illegal immigrants, real estate finagling, homophobia and difficulties of the farmer into a wonderful film. In this, from the outside looking in, bucolic world there is a silent, under the radar, hell and unfortunately for Karen, beautifully played Lyndsey Lantz, she finds herself in the middle of it. Lantz leads a perfect ensemble of misfits and drunks, the uptight and lost. She is the grounded desperate woman searching for answers to what is happening in her home town, a place she thought she knew. Lantz has the confidence the everywoman straightforwardness of a Francis McDormand. Keep your eye on her, there will be more to come.

The story unfolds with surprise after surprise, the shots of the heartland beautifully taken with respect for our farmers and the land they work.

We no longer need to don our coats and boots and trudge out into the cold to see a film, we can stay in our socks and PJs and download and watch on our device of choice. But there is something to be said about a theatre where the lights dim and the only other sound above the film is the sound of popcorn crunching. I say get some friends or family, or both, sit down together and dim the lights, make the popcorn, download Cicada Song on your choice of  Apple TV or Amazon and enjoy this marvelous film.

Cicada Song written and Directed by Michael Starr
With: Lyndsey Lantz, Kim Reed, Joseph Bottoms, Jenny Mesa

Executive Producers: Howard R. Lipson, Charles Small, Brandy Dunn, Kim Reed, Producers: Tom Bellos, John Kellogg, Michael Starr, Director of Photography: Ryan Griswold, Music by Alex Williamson, Edited by Jen Bail

Watch on AppleTV and Amazon

Rating: NR
Running Time: 73 minutes

Cicada Song LLC ~Homunculi Artists ~ Indie Rights Movies
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World Premiere: September 27th, 2019 Catalina Film Festival