First-time filmmakers often feel like they’re buried beneath the topsoil of indifference. Fortunately, SXSW is there ready with a shovel to help them arise blinking into the bright light shed by Indiewire.com. In the second part of our prEView (see what we did there?), there is among the budding sprouts films about aging, death, vengeance, and poverty. On the brighter side, there’s also a sure candidate for the greatest movie ever made about a parking lot. We’re serious! Click on the titles to watch trailers and more.
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Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
To many, the parking lot is just a parking lot. To the attendants of a Charlottesville, Va., business, it’s a livelihood, a way station between brighter things, or possibly the most rewarding job of their lives. Meghan Eckman and Christopher Hlad hope to do for the humble tarmac what Spellbound did for spelling bees. It’s safe to say that you will never look at a sign reading “$5 for the half hour” the same way again.
The coalfields of Eastern Kentucky are the terminal backdrop for an intersecting series of narratives. Since that’s about all we know about writer-director Martha Stephens film—aside from the fact that a dead miner looms over all our characters—we’ll remind you that the region has given us such country music acts as Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, the Judds and Tom T. Hall.
The death of a young drug addict sheds light on his family and friends in Matt Porterfield’s film, which originally premiered at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival. With its use of an off-screen interlocutor, on-camera interviews and observational passages, the young writer-director skirts the line between fact and fiction for an intergenerational portrait of dead end lives. Katrin Knauth said “Und das ist das Schmerzliche daran.”
Erica has been sleeping her way through Austin’s nightlife. Then she meets Nate, an Iraqi war vet who treats her as something other than just an after hours fumble. Their friendship is thrown off-kilter, however, when an old fuckbuddy wriggles out from the woodwork. This contemplative thriller comes from British director Simon Rumley, whose 2006 The Living and the Dead made Harry Knowles’ DNA tingle.
Grandma’s death brings student Marie-Hélène Bellavance back home. She volunteers at the local hospice and through her eyes, we get fresh insight into life, death and the inevitable aging that occurs in-between. Sophie Deraspe’s dramatic feature screened at the 2010 Rotterdam Film Festival, where Geoff Andrew praised it as “a quiet gem.”
In Nick Whitfield’s black comedy, a pair of exorcists plies their trade. The treatment, alas, not only removes the ghosties, but also exposes their clients’ hidden secrets. Whoopsy. While the notes say this is a “surrealist comedy,” Whitfield’s original short suggested that it’s closer to The Office’s cringe comedy than shaved eyeballs. With Paprika Steen and “hello to” Jason Isaacs.
A dip into the Tokyo experimental music/noise scene results in unheard of eardrum devastation. Cédric Dupire and Gaspard Kuentz are the brave souls navigating a world made up of bands with names like Numb, Saidrum and L?K?O. When asked what to expect, Saidrum replied, “GAHHAHHAHAHRRANNAGAGAGAGGGLAAAANGGGGGGAAAIIIIILLLLLEEEEEEE.”
Fourth grade is a magical time of schoolyard rumbles and amateur water-boarding in the boys room. In John Hunter’s classroom, things are different. Chris Farina’s documentary watches as the charismatic teacher conducts the “World Peace” game, with different student teams brokering international cooperation. Is Hunter sowing utopian seeds? And do these kids know their multiplication tables?
The World’s Largest Lava Lamp might just be another roadside attraction to snicker at while looking for a Denny’s Grand Slamwich. To the community of Soap Lake, Washington, though, this kitschy construction could be a major boon to their economy. Amy C. Elliott and Elizabeth Donius examine how these not-ready-for-Guinness achievements are used by Chambers of Commerce to reap the tourist dollar.
Tags: Amy C. Elliott, Cedric Dupire, Christopher Hlad, Elizabeth Donius, Gaspard Kuentz, Jason Isaacs, John Hunter, L?K?O, Les signes vitaux, Marie-Hélène Bellavance, Martha Stephens, Matt Porterfield, Meghan Eckman, Nick Whitfield, Numb, Paprika Steen, Passenger Pigeons, Putty Hill, Red White & Blue, Rotterdam Film Festival, Saidrum, Simon Rumley, Skeletons, Sophie Deraspe, SXSW Film Festival, The Parking Lot Movie, Vital Signs, We Don’t Care About Music Anyway …, World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements, World’s Largest