Tuesday, 10 November 2015 08:54

SLIFF :Day Six

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With Day 6 we have turned the corner of the halfway mark of the 24th annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival.

From here it gets really interesting in that more shows will sell out, more tickets will be in demand and larger lines will form in theatres.

So far the momentum has not stopped as the previous five days of programming have seen some seriously good films from all over the world. The festival added more films this year and with that expansion comes even more challenges. So far, the expanded roster of films has paid dividends in attracting new audiences and lifelong cinephiles.

Some folks have said that Theeb is one of the vest foreign films playing at the festival this year. Set in Arabia in 1916 it’s a film about two brothers, the youngest named Theeb, who escort a British soldier to water while eluding Ottoman warriors, bandits and the elements itself. The movie also offers a look into the Bedouin culture of the era, revealing just how perilous a journey of this nature could be.  Jacir Eid Al-Hwietat is amazing in the lead role. It plays at 2 p.m. at Plaza Frontenac.

Take True Detective and move it to Andalucía and you have an idea of what this slab of neo noir is all about.  Stylistically Marshland has the trademarks of your traditional detective flick. There are gruesome murders, befuddled cops and two protagonists searching for answers in post Francoist Spain. Pepe Danquart’s thriller about the disappearance of two teens and their effort to stop a serial killer won ten Goya awards, including a Best Actor nod for Javier Gutierrez. Tuesday, November 10 at 4:20 p.m., Plaza Frontenac.

Finishing off the evening at Plaza Frontenac is Court, an absurdist film that lambasts the caste system and economic and political injustice systems of contemporary India. The movie’s plot revolves around an aging folksinger whose arrest on bogus charges ignites a furor when his case goes to trial. Frustrating and futile, the movie boasts an ensemble cast of newcomers and established stars that give the movie a unique texture that connects with the audience. 9:15 p.m., Plaza Frontenac.

It’s no fun being a wife in rural Albania. This is quite evident in Laura Bispuri’s film, Sworn Virgin, a tough but empowering film about a girl named Hana, who escapes traditional norms about marriage and servitude by taking a vow of eternal virginity. Despite the subject matter this is quite a moving film. It plays at Plaza Frontenac tonight at 9:30p.m.

Fans of Asian cinema will love Kagura me, a poignant movie about a woman who can’t move on emotionally following the death of mother.  To make things worse her relationship with her father, a Kagura dancer is strained.  Kagura is a traditional Japanese art form that at first divides this father and daughter until an emotional incident brings them together. Come to Plaza Frontenac ready to dance at 6:45 p.m.

Over at SLU SLIFF is hosting Black Girl In Suburbia, a film from Melissa Lowery about her growing up in a predominantly white suburb of Oregon. Lowery uses these experiences to connect with others whom have lived in similar circumstances.   This doc is shown with Feeling Wanted, Yasmin Mistry’s movie about escaping foster care and a troubled home life through the sanctuary of her school. Both Mistry and Lowery will be on hand for the screening.

There are two programs of short films today at the Tivoli. Both are excellently curated opportunities to see some innovative filmmaking. Peculiar Projects collects the odd and quirky into one program while a 9:35 pm. program highlights Westerns, Sci-fi and thrillers. Short films are fascinating in that they boil down the essence of making and watching a film into a compacted format. They take a lot of creativity to make and oftentimes movie lovers to a new, emerging talent.

Old school movie fans may want to check out the 7 p.m. screening of Truffaut/Hitchcock at Webster. The documentary explores the 1962 meeting of the two directors and the book that resulted form it. It also digs into the very core of why people love and make movies. Seeing two legendary filmmakers discuss their craft is fascinating.

This programming includes a showing of the 1946 classic, Notorious starring Cary Grant, Claude Rains and Ingrid Bergman in a Nazi-hunting classic from Hitchcock.

At this point have you have not perused the festival programming or at least explored the chance to see a film than to quote Public Enemy, (I) ‘Cant Do Nuttin’ for Ya Man.’

So as the festival goes deeper into the heavy hitting films of the weekend, I urge you to go and see something new, fresh and different!

For information on all events visit the festival website, www.cinemastlouis.org