The 21st annual Whitaker Saint Louis International Film Festival continues through Sunday, November 18th‘s closing night awards party begins at 8 p.m. at the Contemporary Art Museum. Between now and then, there are dozens of short and feature, fiction and nonfiction, animated and live action films from which to choose.
The 21st annual Whitaker Saint Louis International Film Festival kicks off Thursday, November 8th followed by a ten-day feast of cinematic offerings and events. Film lovers get to choose from over 400 feature and short films, most of them St. Louis premieres. In addition, dozens of filmmakers will accompany their films, introducing them and leading discussions after screenings.
Director Linda Goldstein Knowlton’s documentary “Somewhere Between” profiles teenagers—Haley, Ann, Jenna and Fang. They represent four of the approximately 80,000 girls adopted by U.S. families after the 1979 implementation of China’s one child policy. The catalyst for Knowlton’s keen interest is the adoption of her own Chinese daughter, Ruby.
For all foodies, the documentary “Step Up to the Plate” is sheer heaven. It carefully, scrupulously, and quietly watches legendary French chef Michel Bras and his son Sébastien create tantalizing, exquisite culinary masterpieces. With only a couple minor digressions, the film devotes its attention to their concocting, preparing, tasting and revising delectable dishes.
In this year of the summer Olympics, we are keenly aware of the highly charged interconnections between sports and politics. This is, of course, not a new phenomenon though we get precious little exposure to the intense experiences in other countries. The Other Dream Team adds a compelling chapter focusing on Lithuania and its basketball team.
Highly stylized and engagingly theatrical, Chicken with Plums relies on the considerable talent of French actor Mathieu Amalric to make his tragedy of lost love appealing. Most of the time, it works, as the story jumps backward and forward in time, visualizes imagined scenarios, and boldly depicts Azraël, Angel of Death.
Slowly, deliberately, Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos builds the story his film “Alps” tells, and that’s a good thing because the story becomes increasingly strange. Four characters drive the meandering and sometimes confusing story. These two men and two women assume the identities of recently deceased loved ones—not for nefarious purposes but to ease the grief of those left behind.
Director Ben Affleck’s “Argo” has every element an entertaining film could want: terrific cinematography, solid sound design, a clever script, breathtaking pacing, brilliant editing, and superb acting—all in the service of a dynamite story based on real, mind-boggling events. It begins with the 1979 storming of the US embassy compound in Tehran.
Writer/director Martin McDonagh’s film “Seven Psychopaths” is about, well, truth in labeling, seven psychopaths. As such, some bloody violence punctuates ugly murders that occur at regular intervals. Self-consciously playing this for laughs, the episodic set pieces sometimes work well, but eventually get tedious as the truly comic moments merely punctuate slower ones straining to be clever.
Directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s documentary "Detropia" is a lovely, profoundly sad elegy to the once powerful city of Detroit. By the conclusion, the situation has begun minimal but crucial improvement, but along the way, numerous individuals speak emotionally and poignantly of much more prosperous times for the middle class, in particular.
Since 1963, legendary radio host Bob Fass has calmly and confidently provided commentary and entertainment to listeners tuning in to New York's WBAI (99.5 FM) from midnight to 5:00 a.m. In the vanguard of those at listener-sponsored stations, Fass contributed to and participated in events over the decades, as chronicled in Paul Lovelace and Jessica Wolfson's fine documentary "Radio Unnameable."