November 16, 2008
SLIFF Day 4
As the first weekend of the 17th annual St. Louis International Film Festival draws to a close there are a few observations that shuld be noted.
*The Fest is bigger this year. More documentaries, more screens and fewer repeat screenings. This means you have to plan a little bit.
*More people are coming out this year. Arrive early to get your seat and advance tickets are strongly recommended.
*The diversity of the films has widened this year so there is more of a chance to discover the power of international film.
With that in mind here is a gander at some fine film viewing for today.
I already have gone on long enough about The inferno at the Art Museum.
Richie Mehtaís moving story of a Dehli rickshaw driver who loves his seemingly uncomplicated job,
He drives passengers around the city as safely and expediently as possible. However his simple life is turned asunder when one of his passengers, an elderly billionaire, passes away leaving his entire estate to Amal -- with a catch: he has only has one month to make claim to this inheritance.
As is always the case with money the experience changes and tests Amalís fortitude as friends, family and acquaintances all swirl around him eager to cash in on their share of the money.
Writer/director Mehta has made a very charming film.
One of the great things about non-Bollywood Indian films is that they really help us in the West wrestle with the duality of India, a rich economic giant on the rise and conversely a country riddled with centuries-old problems of poverty and persecution.
Under the Bombs
This is a really interesting film experience. Under the Bombs was filmed in Lebanon during the Israeli-Lebanese ceasefire. This means that the film onscreen is gritty, tense and very stark in its portrayal of a country ravaged by war.
The relationship between a Shiite woman and a Christian cabbie serve as the catalyst for Phillipe Aractingiís visceral film. He pulls no punches in depicting a real story of war and suffering pulling the heart strings of audiences along the way.
Number One With A Bullet
As America has became a hip hop nation the portrayal of the culture surrounding it has been laid to waste with tales of dopes, guns, poverty, brutal violence and urban decay. James Dziuraís expose on hip hop culture reigns in the facts and ugly truth around the music, the business and the effect between the music and the masses who love it. Interviews with Boogie Down production KRS-One, Ice Cube and Mos Def shed remarkable light on this culture. This is the best music documentary at the Fetsival this year.
Over the last two years we have heard loads from scientists, politicians and bono about alternative fuels. The American dependence on oil is explained and put on trial in this remarkable film produced by Ramís co-owner Chip Rosenblum. Director Josh Tickell is a whirling dervish boiling down this complex issue to brass tacks. His enthusiasm a nd zeal will make you run out of the theater filled with ideas of cooking grease and corn.
Josh Tickell will be on hand with a Q&A after the film.
Shorts Program 3
Once again we are treated with a wonderful array of shirt films this year. SP3 features comedic shorts. The language of comedy is multicultural as as shorts from Ireland, Spain, the USA and Australia are featured.
Short films are a great way to entertain that friend or family member who do not like movies. They also are perfect ways to decompress from a day of intense and powerful film viewing. Plus shorts offer a fast and loose glimpse at the world without making you have to think too much.
SLIFF shorts are always fun and the comedic shorts are always popular. Take a chance on this one and have a fun night out.