SLIFF Day Six – Shorts, STRUCK BY LIGHTNING, ALTER EGOS, JOPLIN, and More
Day six of the 21st Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival is upon us!
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, Tuesday, November 13th
BAND OF SISTERS
BAND OF SISTERS plays at 5:00pm at the Tivoli Theatre
nspired by Vatican II (a 1962-65 council of Catholic bishops) and the great social movements of the 1960s and ‘70s, U.S. nuns left their convents, found their mission with the poor, and grew in their spirituality – often to the chagrin of the Vatican hierarchy. Against this backdrop, “Band of Sisters” follows Sisters Pat Murphy (now 82) and JoAnn Persch (77) for four years as they lobby, cajole, plot, and pray for the rights of immigrant detainees. With its diverse cast of sister-characters (including a housing CEO, peace activist, alternative health-care provider for the poor, and organic farmer) BAND OF SISTERS seamlessly ties the past with the present. Like its characters, the film proves both surprisingly lighthearted and inspirational.
With director Mary Fishman.
STRUCK BY LIGHTNING
STRUCK BY LIGHTNING plays at 7:30pm at the Tivoli Theatre – READ THE WAMG REVIEW BY TRAVIS KEUNE HERE
High-school senior Carson Phillips (Chris Colfer of “Glee”) was destined for bigger things than his close-minded small town could ever offer. He was on a path to greatness, but destiny had a different plan when he was suddenly killed by a bolt of lightning in his school parking lot. Demonstrating that life is what happens while you’re busy planning your future, Carson recounts the last few weeks of his life via witty, insightful flashbacks, including a blackmail scheme targeting the popular kids in school that he concocts with his best friend (Rebel Wilson of “Bridesmaids”) and a home life that includes a mother (Allison Janney of “Juno” and “The West Wing”) who’s more interested in the bottle than her son’s future and an estranged father (Dermot Mulroney of “My Best Friend’s Wedding”) who suddenly appears with a pregnant fiancée (Christina Hendricks of “Mad Men”).
ALTER EGOS plays at 9:30pm at the Tivoli Theatre – READ THE WAMG REVIEW BY DANA JUNG HERE
In the alternative world of “Alter Egos,” superheroes are a dime a dozen, and the underappreciated heroes have recently lost government funding and public support. As if those troubles weren’t enough, nerdy Fridge (Kris Lemche) jeopardizes an important mission with he discovers his girlfriend (Christine Evangelista) is cheating on him with his own alter ego. And now, in addition to coping with the fact that the love of his life prefers his superhero identity over his unmasked self, Fridge must reluctantly face his nemesis – the man who killed his mom and dad. The film – which features a soundtrack by Sean Lennon – is an ode to the shy, nerdy superhero in all of us. Variety writes: “Superpowered with silliness, ALTER EGOS is a comedy about second-string heroes, but has a first-rate sense of humor thanks to a wry script. … This is a solid showcase for the talents involved.”
JOPLIN MISSOURI: A TORNADO STORY
JOPLIN MISSOURI: A TORNADO STORY plays at 5:00pm at the Tivoli Theatre – READ THE REVIEW BY BARBARA SNITZER HERE
On May 22, 2011, an EF-5 tornado devastated the southwest Missouri town of Joplin. A story of survival, healing, and hope told by people who lived through it, the documentary focuses on firsthand accounts of the tornado that devastated the town, recording widespread destruction but emphasizing the residents’ resilience. Filmmaker Gubera – a former Joplin resident – offers a highly personal look at how the tornado has affected the town and its people. The film is narrated by George Noory, host of “Coast to Coast AM.”
With director Chip Gubera.
LE HAVRE plays at 7:15pm at the Tivoli Theatre
Acclaimed Finnish director Kaurismaki (The Man Without a Past, Floating Clouds) sketches a warmhearted portrait of the titular French harbor city, offering a political fairytale that exists somewhere between the reality of contemporary France and the classic cinema of Marcel Carné. In the film, fate throws young African refugee Idrissa into the path of Marcel Marx, a well-spoken bohemian who works shining shoes. With innate optimism and the unwavering support of his community, Marcel stands up to officials doggedly pursuing the boy for deportation. A charming, deadpan delight,LE HAVRE won both the FIPRESCI critics prize and the Special Mention Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. “Combining his clownish storytelling with a life-affirming plot,” writes IndieWire, “Kaurismaki churns a fundamental scenario through his own unique narrative tendencies, yielding a product both heartwarming and irreverent.”
SHORTS 5: COMEDY
SHORTS 5: COMEDY plays at 9:15pm at the Tivoli Theatre
The laughter never stops once the program starts.
Focusing on 10 Michelin Guide 3-star chefs, “Three Stars” depicts the everyday drama of life in gourmet restaurants and includes exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes access to some of the world’s most talented chefs as they work in their gastronomic laboratories, hunt for exquisite ingredients in local markets, and gather rare edible plants along rough coastlines. The film reveals the business of cooking on the highest level and highlights the various kitchen routines and culinary philosophies of chefs such as Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Yannick Alléno, and Olivier Roellinger. “The dishes dazzle in THREE STARS, a cinematic helping of some of the world’s finest restaurants — and of their chefs’ opinions,” says the New York Times. “Serious foodies will chow down.”
A baker prepares the daily goods at his family’s 100- year-old business in Manhattan and reflects on the importance of community.
P-047 plays at 9:30pm 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.
BOOSTER plays at 2:15pm at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema
BOOSTER is a film about family – the one you are born with and the one you make along the way. Simon (Nico Stone), a petty thief, makes his living shoplifting and selling stolen goods. When his brother is arrested for armed robbery, Simon is asked to commit a string of similar crimes in an attempt to get his sibling acquitted. Although clearly ill equipped for the task, Simon is loyal to his brother and struggles with the monumental decision. In wrestling with the choice, Simon is unknowingly set on a path to discover his own identity. “Booster” premiered at SXSW, where Stone won acting honors. The film’s cast also includes veteran actor Seymour Cassel, who appears as an aging ex-criminal. Variety writes: “‘Booster’ is an austere and stripped-to-essentials indie that suggests a Boston crime drama such as ‘The Town’ or ‘Monument Ave.’ as reimagined by Robert Bresson.”
OLDIES BUT GOODIES
OLDIES BUT GOODIES plays at 4:15pm at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema
Former teacher Ota has turned a bit whimsical in his old age, complicating the lives of his son and daughter-in-law. Faced with a major surgery, Ota avoids the operation and impulsively decides that the time is right to check an item off his bucket list by tracking down the great actress Jana, who had influenced his life many years ago. When he finally meets Jana, however, the result is much different than he’d imagined. The vital, headstrong actress is dismayed at how old age has diminished her, and her situation inspires Ota to live his life again. Their meeting persuades both of them that the worst thing one can do is give up, and they set out together on an ambitious road trip to win Jana an audition in Prague.
WAR WITCH plays at 7:00pm at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema
After her village is burned down by rebels and her parents are killed, Komona is forced into the jungle as a child soldier. Her brutal commander not only trains her in the use of arms but also orders her to sleep with him. Searching for shelter, Komona turns to Magician, a slightly older boy, and they fall in love. After the pair escapes from the camp, Komona attempts to return to her village – she desperately wants to bury her parents and prevent their eternal wandering of the wasted land as ghosts. Shot in the Congo with a nonprofessional cast of actors, “War Witch” vividly depicts the horrors of civil war and the suffering of children and civilians. The film won the World Narrative Competition at Tribeca, and Rachel Mwanza’s lead performance was honored at both Tribeca and Berlin. WAR WITCH is the official Canadian submission for the 2013 Academy Awards.
THIS IS NOT A FILM
THIS IS NOT A FILM plays at 9:00pm at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema
After openly supporting the opposition party in Iran’s 2009 election, renowned Iranian director Jafar Panahi (“Offside,” “The Circle”) received a six-year prison sentence and a 20-year ban from filmmaking and conducting interviews with foreign press. Because of those restrictions, “This Is Not a Film” was secretly shot on an iPhone and a modest DV camera by Panahi’s close friend Mojtaba Mirtahmasb; it was then smuggled into France in a cake for a last-minute submission to Cannes. Depicting the day-to-day life of the director during his house arrest in his Tehran apartment, THIS IS NOT A FILM shows Panahi talking to his family and lawyer on the phone, discussing his plight with Mirtahmasb, and reflecting on the meaning of the art of filmmaking. The Washington Post praises the film as “an urgent, affecting self-portrait of an artist who can’t help but frame his world, and try to make sense of an oppressive and absurd system around him.”
3 DAYS OF NORMAL
3 DAYS OF NORMAL plays at 7:00pm at the Hi-Pointe Theatre
n this charming romantic comedy, Bill Morgan (Jace McLean) is a small-town sheriff whose self-imposed rules have kept him in Washington, N.H., for his entire life. A stickler for perfection and abiding by the rules, Bill’s singular ambition is to keep order for himself and those around him. But everything changes when It Girl movie starlet Nikki Gold (Mircea Monroe, Episodes, Magic Mike), who has briefly escaped the bright lights and paparazzi of New York City, is found passed out in her rental car by none other than Bill – who has absolutely no idea who she is. In an effort to avoid the chaos of yet another publicity scandal, Nikki embraces the anonymity for a few blissful days of normalcy. Shot on location in New Hampshire against a picturesque, fall-colored backdrop,3 DAYS OF NORMAL follows Bill and Nikki during three magical days as they find themselves relying on one another to face their own personal challenges.
BERSERK GOLDEN ARC 1: EGG OF THE SUPREME RULER
BERSERK GOLDEN ARC 1: EGG OF THE SUPREME RULER plays at 9:30pm at the Hi-Pointe Theatre
In this hyper-violent anime – adapted from legendary artist Kentaro Miura’s manga – lone swordsman Guts wanders in the dark shadows of the medieval ages. Moving from conflict to conflict and wielding a giant blade, Guts leaves behind a trail of blood as vivid evidence of his inner wrath. When he’s confronted by a man called Griffith, this lone wolf is forcibly enlisted into his opponent’s army after losing a duel. Within the ragtag mercenary company known as the Band of the Hawk, Guts slowly learns the value of comradeship and his rage subsides, but Griffith’s ambition to become king threatens everyone. BERSERK GOLDEN ARC 1: EGG OF THE SUPREME RULER is the work of Studio4°C, whose work includes Memories (1995), Mind Game (2003), Tekkon Kinkree (2006), and segments of the Wachowskis’ The Animatrix.
IT’S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY
IT’S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY plays at 7:00pm at Webster U./Moore
Cult animator and Academy Award nominee Don Hertzfeldt has combined his three short films about a troubled man named Bill – Everything Will Be OK (2006), I Am So Proud of You (2008), andIT’S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY (2011) – into a seamless, beautiful, darkly comedic new feature film. Nearly two years in the making, “It’s Such a Beautiful Day” is Hertzfedt’s longest and most ambitious film to date, blending traditional animation, experimental optical effects, trick photography, and new digital hybrids printed out one frame at a time. “There is a moment in each installment of Don Hertzfeldt’s masterful trilogy of animated shorts where you feel something in your chest,” writes Steven Pate in the Chicagoist. “It’s an unmistakably cardiac event, the kind that great art can elicit when something profound and undeniably true is conveyed about the human condition.”
St. LOUIS FILMMAKERS SHOWCASE SHORTS 1
St. LOUIS FILMMAKERS SHOWCASE SHORTS 1 plays at 9:15pm at Webster U./Moore
A diverse sampling of the best short films from the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase.