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Thursday, 07 November 2013 17:25

St. Louis Film Festival offers a wealth of films + Video

Nebraska Nebraska blogs.indiewire.com
Written by Diane Carson
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The 22nd Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival kicks off Thursday, November 14th and continues through Sunday, November 24th. With 330 films offered in 201 screenings and programs, there's a wealth of riches. Fiction and nonfiction, live action and animation, feature-length and short selections represent 54 countries. I single out only a few of my favorites.

Topping my list is director Alexander Payne's black-and-white masterpiece "Nebraska." It won Bruce Dern Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival. Dern plays Woody Grant, an elderly curmudgeon who's convinced, via a letter, that he's won a million dollar prize. Determined to claim it, Woody, with his resigned but reluctant son in tow, heads to Lincoln with visits to gold-digging relatives and old friends along the way, the array of characters and interaction spot on. Shot in Cinemascope, the sweeping Midwest landscapes contrast perfectly with confined interior spaces.

Equally impressive with its daunting environment, the documentary "Antarctica: A Year on Ice" showcases the spectacular Southern lights, sunrises and sunsets that relieve the isolation of Antarctica's few year-round inhabitants. In fifteen years of shooting, director Anthony Powell, who will attend the screening, captures this elusive, harsh continent and the workers who choose this unforgiving place.

Another documentary, "Out of Print," reminds me how much I love books--holding them, looking at them, even smelling them. Experts and authors informatively analyze and discuss the effects of our shift to digital media. An animated musical favorite is Patrice Leconte's "The Suicide Shop." In a dreary city, residents shop at a well-stocked business for their favorite path to death until the irrepressibly joyful baby Alan enters the world. Imaginative and funny animation, it joyfully affirms life. And these are just an appetizer for the full menu at the Fest.

All foreign films are in the language of origin with English subtitles. Venues include the Tivoli and Plaza Frontenac cinemas, Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium, Washington University's Brown Hall, the Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville, and KDHX in Grand Center. For more complete information, including descriptions, trailers, show times, and ticket links for all the films, you may visit the website at: cinemastlouis.org.

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