With their debut feature Delicacy, David and Stéphane Foenkinos illustrate the French knack for dramatizing personal relationships, including tragic events and their aftermath. No one tries to take over the universe and no superhero races to rescue anyone, but earth-shattering events occur in the lives of two ordinary individuals.
The legendary Jamaican reggae singer/musician Bob Marley deserves and—good news—has a truly great documentary detailing his rich, fascinating life. Kevin Macdonald gets the credit for shouldering a derailed project with permission for rights to the music running out. The two-and-a-half hour film speeds by with a wealth of candid interviews and archival footage.
This year’s fifth annual St. Louis Q-Fest offers something for just about everyone with 21 fiction and nonfiction features plus seven short films with the U.S., Canada, Belgium and Italy represented. Q-Fest kicks off its five days at the Tivoli at 1:30 Sunday, April 22nd with four very different films from which to choose.
Multi-award winning producer, director, writer and editor Steve James has crafted engaging, landmark documentaries for over 25 years. This weekend Webster University hosts James for a filmmaking workshop along with screenings of four of his works: Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters, No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson, and At the Death House Door.
St. Louis’ fifth annual Q-Fest continues with feature narratives and documentaries plus short subjects. Three excellent documentaries headline the fest’s second half: Vito, Jan’s Coming Out and This Is What Love in Action Looks Like. The nonfiction Vito profiles gay rights leader Vito Russo, including his landmark history of gays in film, The Celluloid Closet.
A lovely pairing of first-rate animation and well-chosen jazz makes the Spanish film Chico and Rita a multifaceted pleasure, despite a conventional scenario. Set primarily in Cuba in the late 40s and early 50s, the story begins with an elderly Chico remembering the love of his life, the mellifluous-voiced singer Rita.
Documentaries following underdog sports teams through a turbulent season have become terribly clichéd. The Academy Award winning documentary Undefeated at first seems cut from the same cloth but it quickly shows that it is much, much more than the same old story. The primary reason is Bill Courtney, Coach Bill, as he's called, and the Manassas Tigers football team.
The Belgian Dardennes brothers, Luc and Jean-Pierre, have a keen interest in, and insight into, troubled girls and boys peripheral to mainstream society. These writer/directors of Rosetta, The Child and The Son pursue their unsentimental but immensely humane approach with The Kid with a Bike. The story centers on 11-year-old Cyril, left in a children's home by Guy, his father.
Producer/director David Gelb makes an impressive debut with his documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. True to its title, indeed 85-year-old Jiro Ono does dream of sushi as he has since he began his apprenticeship at 10 years old.
Father-son conflict has offered archetypal fodder for stories the world over for centuries. Now in Footnote Israeli writer/director Joseph Cedar tracks one such father-son rivalry in the lives of two Talmudic scholars at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Brilliantly, he mines layer upon layer of psychological drama, tracking a complex web of moral interrogation embedded in dynamite dialogue exchanges.