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Monday, 29 October 2012 23:00

St. Louis International Film Festival, Part 1, offers a feast for film lovers

"Shakespeare High" "Shakespeare High" www.filmlinc.com
Written by Diane Carson
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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.

I want to highlight several of the outstanding offerings available for preview showing in the first half of the festival. High on my list is Alex Rotaru’s documentary “Shakespeare High.” It focuses on a Southern California high-school drama competition, the one that inspired Kevin Spacey, Val Kilmer, Mare Winingham and Richard Dreyfuss to become actors, as they explain in the course of the film.

By contrast, the tough Belgian film “Bullhead” dramatizes the true story of the "hormone mafia" in Belgium in the '70s when hormone injection into Belgian cattle became big business. After the mafia's execution of a policeman investigating the illegal activities, law enforcement goes after the killers. Mafia muscle man Jacky anchors the complicated interactions among factions, including police informants, hired hands, and those with long-standing grudges.

There’s also a Children’s Film Showcase at Washington University from Friday, November 9th through Sunday, November 11th. Webster University hosts a program devoted entirely to Georges Méliès’ films with live musical accompaniment by the Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra, a reprise of this sold-out program from last summer. The restored films, including “A Trip to the Moon,” are spectacular, as Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” proved. At 7 p.m. on Monday, November 12th, Webster also hosts a screenplay reading of the late Bobbie Lautenschlager’s “The Enemy Among Us.” And I’ve merely covered the tip of the iceberg.

The festival’s main venues are Landmark’s Tivoli and Plaza Frontenac theatres, the Hi-Pointe, Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium, Washington University’s Brown Hall, and the Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville. Several other locations also host selected sessions. For the complete schedule and more information on all the films, sidebars, workshops and events, you may go to cinemastlouis.org.

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