Sunday, 15 November 2015 09:02

SLIFF: Day Eleven

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The last day of the 24th Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival ignores the fact that festivities are ending tonight with a full throttle victory lap of amazing films, free programs, a filmmaker’s coffee and a closing party.

If you love comic books or the Archie’s comics in general than you want to check out Archie’s Betty, a documentary where one passionate sets out on a road of discovery to see if the celebrated characters of the comic were based on real people. His quest yields some surprising answers. Director Gerald Peary returns to SLIFF to present the film and hold a Q&A. 12:00pm at Plaza Frontenac.

 

I really enjoyed the French Canadian film, Henri Henri.  Martin Talbot’s film has drawn comparisons to Amelie’ in that it features a quirky and odd protagonist and some genuinely touching moments. The flick is about Henri, orphan charged with maintaining the chandeliers and lights in a convent. His life is turned asunder when his home is sold forcing him to make his way out into in fast paced world. Alone in a new environment he finds a job, meets a girl, resurrects a pickle business, and sees the world with a new luminosity. This fish out of water story is told with a lighthearted comedic tone that is paced and timed to perfection. It screens again tonight at 7:10 p.m. at Plaza Frontenac.

Anomalisa comes from the wacky mind of Charlie Kaufman gives us a new stop motion film tinged with surrealism that adeptly balances a love story soaked in awkwardness and black comedy. Ohio has never been this strange. There’s a lot of hype about this studio film. 6 p.m., Tivoli. 

Tonight at 7:30pm SLIFF presents Dateline-Saigon, a doc focusing on those who covered the war with frank honesty, David Halberstam of the New York Times; reporters Malcolm Browne and Peter Arnett and legendary photojournalist Horst Faas of the Associated Press; and Neil Sheehan of United Press International.  Executive producer Richard Chapman, senior lecturer in film at Washington University will present the film. This is a free screening at Washington University’s Brown Hall.

If you want a bit of frivolous fun today then check out the silly and wonderful, I Can Quit Whenever I Want. This Italian comedy about down on their luck college professors to turn to a life of crime is a hilarious romp loaded with laughs.  I saw it yesterday and enjoyed it immensely. It screens at 7:15 p.m. at the Tivoli.

SLIFF is actually playing games at 6:30pm at the Hi-Pointe Backlot with the film, Backgammon. This thriller about a couple whose retreat to a country mansion results in an all note poker game that concludes with dire consequences. Director Francisco Orvañanos will be on hand for a Q&A about his unsettling feature.

The Lady In the Van is very sold out. It stars Dame Maggie Smith as a woman who quasi stalks the playwright Alan Bennett for 15 years by parking her van his driveway. A simple favor turns into a deep friendship in this film from Nicholas Hytner in collaboration with Bennett. Smith stars with Dominic Cooper and Jim Broadbent in this moving film. 4:15 p.m. Plaza Frontenac.

Yoko The Cherry Blossom screens at 9:25 p.m. at Plaza Frontenac. This is a cute dramady from Japan about one man's quest to celebrate world peace with a new strain of cherry tree. His idea is ignitighted by a rabid desire to honor his students who died in World War II.

The Hauntingly beautiful Cemetery of Splendor is repeating at 6:50 p.m. at Plaza Frontenac. There has been a lot of chatter about this exquisitely choroegraphed Thai film.

This slate of programming only begins to scratch the surface of all the films playing today. The schedule for today could in fact be it’s own festival in smaller environs.  A lot of the bigger films will sell out so advance tickets are recommended. However you should take a chance on smaller films as well since there is some amazing stuff being shown today.

The evening closes with a party at Urban Chestnut in The Grove. It starts at 8 p.m. and features announcements from the festival winner at around 10:30 p.m.

For more info: www.cinemast.louis.org

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