SLIFF 2012 Day Five – KLOWN, HIPSTERS, BREATHING, and More
Day five of the 21st Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival promises a smorgasbord of great films and there are still 6 days to go!
SLIFF’s main venues are the the Hi-Pointe Theatre, Tivoli Theatre, Plaza Frontenac Cinema, Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium, Washington University’s Brown Hall Auditorium and the Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville, IL
The entire schedule for the 21st Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival be found HERE.
Here is what will be screening at The 21st Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival today, Monday, November 12th
DOC SHORTS – LONGEVITY plays at 5:00pm at the Tivoli Theatre
A quintet of shorts exploring issues of aging and persistence.
FREE TO ATTENDEES 50 AND OLDER
With Zaq Tinker, special-programs coordinator at the Freedom Writer Foundation, and Freedom Writer Tiffony Jacobs.
A VARIETY OF MYSTERIES
A VARIETY OF MYSTERIES plays at 9:30pm at the Tivoli Theatre – READ THE WAMG REVIEW BY DANE MARTI HERE
Shot in St. Louis on a microbudget, the assured, artfully composed A VARIETY OF MYSTERIES finds fresh perspectives on the city. Violet (Sunyatta McDermott) is a drunk, depressed, and narcissistic young sophisticate working at a vintage boutique. When Violet’s aunt Miranda (Marla Hare Griffin) checks herself into a drug-rehab clinic, she leaves her precocious adolescent daughter, Paisley (Rilke Griffin), in Violet’s care. Thrilling adventures ensue, including a series of mysterious, unsigned letters that leave everyone perplexed. For young Paisley, life with Violet proves to be better than television.
With director Devin Devon.
LA SIRGA plays at 2:30pm at Plaza Frontenac Cinema
Alice is helpless: War memories invade her mind like threatening thunder. Uprooted by the armed conflict, she tries to reshape her life in La Sirga, a decadent hostel on the shores of a great lake in the highlands of the Andes. There, on a swampy and murky beach, she attempts to settle down, but her fears and the threat of war resurface to threaten Alice again. “Impeccably elegant and quietly devastating,” writes the Hollywood Reporter. “Vegaâ’ mastery of old-school art-house technique is impressive” LA SIRGA won both the Special Jury Prize for the Director and the award for Best Cinematography at the 2012 Lima American Film Festival.
FAT, BALD, SHORT MAN
FAT, BALD, SHORT MAN plays at 4:30pm at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema – READ THE WAMG REVIEW BY JIM BATTS HERE
In this hybrid of animation and live action - which recalls the traced-image approach of Richard Linklater’s Waking Life lonesome middle-aged virgin Antonio Farn ¡n is picked on and ridiculed as a matter of course by co-workers and his bullying mooch of a brother. His status improves a bit when his new boss – and strangely affable doppelganger - takes an interest in him, but Farn’s deep-seated shyness and insecurity are only partly assuaged. When he joins a self-improvement group, Farn ¡n slowly confirms what the undulating lines of the film’s rotoscoped images suggest: Everything is in motion, and change is inevitable. Variety writes: “The minute-to-minute uncertainty of what will happen next serves to underline the film’s myriad surprises, while the abstraction of the drawings (faces amount to little more than black outlines, with simply rendered black dots and lines for features) breaks down and individuates every tiny action, intensifying the primacy of the moment.”
BREATHING plays at 6:45pm at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema
The acclaimed directorial debut from veteran Austrian actor Karl Markovics (star of the Academy Award-winning The Counterfeiters), BREATHING is an eloquent, affecting portrait of an incarcerated teenager, Roman (newcomer Thomas Schubert), attempting to win parole by working at a local morgue. Raised from birth in institutions, Roman is initially impassive and self-sabotaging in his behavior. Soon, however, he begins to respect the solemn work of handling the dead and starts to come to terms with his own youthful crime.BREATHING won Best Film and Best Actor at the 2011 Sarajevo Film Festival. Britain’s the Guardian calls the film “tremendously impressive: starkly lit and alertly composed and controlled in the Austrian style of Haneke, Hausner et al, but also with a sense of warmth and redemptive purpose that is more like the British social realists.”
THE SOUL OF FLIES
THE SOUL OF FLIES plays at 9:00pm at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema
By turns comic, poignant, absurd, and profoundly moving, THE SOUL OF FLIES tells the story of the two sons of Evaristo de la Sierra. The brothers have never met their father and are unaware of each other’s existence, but when Evaristo sends them a letter inviting them to his funeral, the two meet at a train station – though the train hasn’t gone by in years – and set off on a strange odyssey through a barren landscape. Along a path of memories, fables, and dreams, they encounter a startling array of weird and wonderful characters – a suicidal narcoleptic, a man angrily opposed to funerals, a pack of thieving musicians, a young woman in love with the spring – who collectively guide the brothers in their unusual journey.
FOUND MEMORIES plays at 2:00pm at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema
As she does every morning, Madalena makes bread for Antonio’s old coffee shop. And as she does every day, she crosses the railway tracks where no trains have passed for years, cleans the gate of the locked cemetery, and listens to the priest’s sermon before sharing lunch with the other old villagers. Clinging to the image of her dead husband and living in her memories, Madalena is awakened by Rita, a young photographer who arrives in Jotuomba, a ghost village where time seems to have stopped. A deep relationship is forged between the two women – a bond that has a profound effect on not only their lives but also those of the rest of the villagers. FOUND MEMORIES won the Critics Award for Best Film at the 2012 Lima Latin American Film Festival.
LAS ACACIAS plays at 4:15pm at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema
Ruben is a lonely truck driver who for years has been carrying wood along the route from Asuncian del Paraguay to Buenos Aires. But today’s journey will be different. At a motorway stop, he agrees to take a young woman, Jacinta, to Buenos Aires, and she shows up an hour later with an 8-month-old baby. As the miles go by, the initially chilly relationship between Ruben and Jacinta slowly grows warmer. Though neither talks much about their lives or asks many questions, their rare exchanges become charged with emotional significance. “A relationship movie, a road movie, a silent movie” says the Guardian. “Pablo Giorgelli has made a film that unfolds almost wordlessly, but very eloquently, and the unforced performances of its two leads make it absolutely beguiling” LAS ACACIAS won a trio of prizes at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival: the Golden Camera Award, the ACID Award, and the Young Critics Award for Best Feature.
P-047 plays at 7:00pm at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema
Lek is a lonely locksmith who’s never had a girlfriend. Kong is an aspiring writer who lives with his mom. Working side-by-side at the shopping mall – one copying keys, the other selling tabloid magazines – the two misfits hatch a plan that combines their talents. Breaking into apartments during the day while the owners are at work, Lek and Kong don’t steal anything; instead, they borrow the lives, the loves, and the possessions of the residents. One day, however, the pair borrows more than they bargained for, and an injured Lek wakes up in a hospital. To his confusion, everyone calls him Kong. After his release, Lek attempts to understand what’s occurred by breaking into his friend’s home, where he discovers revealing secrets. But the mystery of Kong’s whereabouts hauntingly remains.
WRINKLES plays at 9:00pm at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema – READ THE WAMG REVIEW BY JIM BATTS HERE
Based on Paco Roca’s comic – the winner of Spain’s 2008 National Comic Prize - this adult animated film chronicles the friendship that develops between Emilio and Miguel, two elderly gentlemen shut away in an old-folks home. Recent arrival Emilio, in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, is helped by Miguel and colleagues to maintain his dignity and avoid ending up in the feared assisted section of the facility, also known as the lost-causes floor. The seniors’ wild plan to aid Emilio infuses their otherwise tedious day-to-day life with humor and tenderness. WRINKLES won the Best Screenplay and Best Animated Film awards at Spain’s 2012 Goya Awards. The Hollywood Reporter declares that WRINKLES is “one of the most accomplished Spanish films, from any genre, of recent years.”
LOVE IS LOVE
LOVE IS LOVE plays at 2:15pm at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema
In this charming romantic comedy, a trio of intertwined stories explores love both new and old. In the first, a beautiful, blind young music student dreams of falling in love with a handsome boy with blond hair and blue eyes, but she instead falls for a dark-haired Gypsy boy. In the second, the girlâ’ lonely grandfather seeks out a long-lost love from his youth. And in the third, the teenage son of the couple next door slowly comes out of the closet to the great dismay of his overbearing mother. Love truly is blind, and although the stumbles along the path can prove sometimes painful and often funny, listening to the heart provides the surest guide to finding to romance.
OMA AND BELLA
OMA AND BELLA plays at 5:30pm at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema – READ THE WAMG REVIEW BY BARBARA SNITZER HERE
OMA AND BELLA is a documentary portrait of two elderly Jewish women in Berlin whose connection to the past, engagement with the present, and hopes for the future are intricately entwined with the food that they make. As the film – made by Oma’s granddaughter – follows the pair on their daily routines, Oma and Bella’s lucidity, sense of fun, and constant back-and-forth are infectious: Although the women have faced extraordinary challenges, they retain the ability to laugh. Pounding veal, peeling carrots, rolling blinis, and hacking apart chicken, Oma and Bella relate their stories – of fighting as partisans in the woods, of raising a child as a single mother in a hostile country, of going to nightclubs to regain a lost adolescence. Defiant survivors of the Holocaust, Oma and Bella retained their humanity against overwhelming odds by using humor as an answer to sorrow and by depending on the love for their families and each other.
GUILTY plays at 7:15pm at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema – READ THE WAMG REVIEW BY BARBARA SNITZER HERE
In the middle of the night, the rural Marecaux family awakens to find their house full of police, who ransack their home while showing open contempt toward the owners. The stunned parents (Caesar nominee Philippe Torreton and Noemie Lvovsky) stand accused of participating in a pedophile ring, and their terrified kids are dragged away to child protective services. Though there is no material proof against the couple and the accusers’ testimonies are wildly inconsistent, the Marecauxs are sent to prison rather than allowed bail. This compellingly dramatized film – an epic nightmare – is based on the memoirs of the real-life protagonist at the center of one of the most notorious miscarriages of justice in modern French legal history. The Hollywood Reporter calls the film â€œa riveting account of one man’s descent into legal purgatory.
KLOWN plays at 9:30pm at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema – READ THE WAMG REVIEW BY TRAVIS KEUNE HERE
Wildly inappropriate friends Frank and Casper – played by celebrated international comedians Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen â€“ run amok through the Danish countryside in KLOWN engaging in endless awkward confrontations and unspeakable debaucheries. When hopelessly wrongheaded Frankkidnaps the 12-year-old nephew of his pregnant girlfriend in an eager attempt to prove his fatherhood potential, they join sex-crazed Casper on his secret adulterous weekend canoe trip. Rampaging through exclusive brothels, hospitals, armed robberies, and prisons, the three paddle downstream from one chaotic misadventure to the next, culminating in a final shocking reveal. Perhaps most surprising, despite its outrageous antics, KLOWN emerges as a sentimental portrait of real friendship. Danny McBride will star in the upcoming U.S. remake of this hilariously raunchy Danish comedy.
DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’ – EVERYMAN’S JOURNEY
DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’ – EVERYMAN’S JOURNEY plays at 7:00pm at the Hi-Pointe Theatre
When classic-rock band Journey searched for a replacement for iconic lead singer Steve Perry, few would have predicted Arnel Pineda would emerge as the group’s new frontman. A Filipino who led a hardscrabble existence on Manila”s streets since age 13, Pineda comes to the attention of Journey guitarist Neal Schon when he views YouTube videos posted by a friend of the singer’s. Listening to Pineda’s covers of rock classics, Schon recognizes a clear similarity to Perry’s powerfully unique vocals and flies the singer from Philippines to San Francisco to audition. Miraculously, Pineda lands the gig, but the dream sometimes proves a nightmare. The stress of fronting a legendary band on a world tour – and replacing its defining member- places a heavy burden on Pineda, and converting skeptical fans is a challenge.
HIPSTERS plays at 9:30pm at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema
While the Cold War heats up on the world stage, rebellious youth in 1955 Moscow wage a cultural battle against dismal Soviet conformity by donning brightly colored black-market clothing, adopting American nicknames. and reveling in forbidden jazz. Straight-laced 20-year-old Communist Mels (named after Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin) initially finds these brazen HIPSTERS shocking, but after falling under the spell of the beautiful Polly, he eagerly joins the new revolution. Soon enough, Mels is a full-on hipster, cavorting in the latest flashy fashions, sporting an enormous pompadour, and wailing exuberantly on the saxophone HIPSTERS won Best Director and Best Screenplay at the 2009 Russian Golden Eagle Awards and Best Art Direction at the 2009 Chicago International Film Festival. The Washington Post writes: “The Russian musical HIPSTERS is a candy-colored confection with a dark, bittersweet center.”