Film Reviews

The 26th Annual Whitaker Saint Louis International Film Festival continues through Sunday, November 12, with more tough choices for cinema lovers. In addition to literally hundreds of feature and short films, two master classes will be held on Saturday, November 11. They are Reconstructing Reality and Suspense with a Camera, both hosted by Webster University. 

The New Filmmakers Forum offers another special event on Sunday, November 12. At 11:00 a.m. at the Tivoli the five participating directors will discuss their feature films, describing the production experiences they encountered. Also on Sunday at Webster University the Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra will play at 7:30 p.m. for legendary director Lois Weber's The Blot. Making over 400 short films from 1913 until the end of the silent era, Weber was a pioneering filmmaker in terms of her amazing technical elements as well as her social critiques. Here in The Blot (1921, silent) she takes on poverty and social inequality. 

For anyone whose taste inclines to the offbeat, two screenings of Lost in Paris offer the chance for a truly quirky film abandoning reality for a riotous indulgence in fantasy. Oscar buzz already accompanies The Darkest Hour, an immersion in Churchill's problematic decision to fight or negotiate in the early days of WWII. As Churchill, Gary Oldman gives a dazzling performance, as do Ben Mendelsohn and Kristin Scott Thomas. The relevant, topical documentary Whose Streets? on Ferguson and racial issues screens as well as "The Light of the Moon" dramatizing sexual predation (three screenings).

I'm out of room to acknowledge the wonderful lineup of documentaries, shorts, and features. This feast of films concludes on Sunday, November 12, with a closing night party beginning at 8:00 p.m. at the urban Chestnut Grove Brewery and Bierhall with several awards presentations. All foreign-language films have English subtitles. Venues include Landmark's Plaza Frontenac and Tivoli Cinemas, Webster University and Washington University, the Stage at KDHX, the Missouri History Museum, and more. Go to or call 314-289-4150 for a full schedule and event details.

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