Is Sundance a little out of your price range, but a Greyhound bus ticket to Austin can be accommodated? Than Festival Favorites is the category for you. Here are the highlights of festivals gone have been cherry-picked … well, perhaps combine-harvested is closer to the truth. Still, all the way from Cannes comes the celebrated Kynodontas; there’s the hit Swedish adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s best-seller; and finally Last Train Home might make you a little more appreciative of the Austin bus terminal. Click on the titles for trailers where available.
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Read the first part of our SXSW Festival Favorites preview.
How to Fold a Flag
What happens when the war is over? With the impressive Iraqi war documentaries Gunner Palace and The Prisoner to their credit, Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein decided to find out. They follow four soldiers picking up the pieces after life on the firing line. Their post-war ambitions range from Jon Powers’ quest for a seat in Congress to achieving glory in the cage fighting ring.
Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child
Basquiat began his artistic life as “SAMO,” the graffiti philosopher of the 1980s New York downtown scene. He ended it with a needle in his arm, having alienated many of his friends and deciding that money was the only measure of artistic success. Music video director, Beastie Boy spouse and onetime Basquiat pal Tamra Davis tells the artistic poster boy’s story.
This Greek film has been earning plaudits since taking the Un Certain Regard prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Giorgos Lanthimos tells the story of three teenagers who, House of Bernarda Alba-style, are confined to their country villa. In this hermetic world, strange alliances form under the authoritarian gaze of their deranged parents. Get ready to squirm.
Last Train Home
For millions of Chinese, the New Year means the beginning of an exodus back home. We’ve seen the photos of thronged train stations all over the ‘Net. Lixin Fan goes one better, following migrant workers Yang and Suqin Zhang as they leave Guangzhou city for the country homestead. The aspirations of this young couple in a nation on the move turn out to be at odds with the chaotic reality of public transport.
Ever since Defender exposed Squally’s thumbs of lead, we’ve treated videogames with the same affection as a leper. So excuse us if we turn to Wikipedia to read that Second Life is a “virtual world … accessible through the Internet.” This alternate universe has become so popular that Jason Springarn-Koff’s documentary finds many users have more fulfilling lives online than off. We’ll stick with Geocities, thanks.
Lovers of Hate
Paul hit it big with his line of YA fantasy novels. His brother Rudy, however, is still struggling in the ink-stained trenches. He’s also more than a little resentful of his brother’s success. This sibling rivalry comes into play when Paul decides to move in on Rudy’s estranged wife. Bryan Poyser’s disturbing dramedy becomes a libidinous contest that involves plenty of nudity with a side order of fecal matter.
Män som hatar kvinnor (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo)
Steig Larsson’s Millennium mysteries became a literary sensation, in no small part for their unstinting depiction of sadistic misogyny and their journalist author’s mysterious demise. Squally prefers Henning Mankell, but this Swedish TV adaptation is a big fat European hit. Noomi Rapace plays the mysterious hacker Lisbeth Salander, who uncovers the icky secrets of Sweden’s industrialist elite.
Tags: Bryan Poyser, Dogtooth, Giorgos Lanthimos, Hnning Mankell, How to Fold a Flag, Jason Springarn-Koff, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child, Jon Powers, Kynodontas, Last Train Home, Life 2.0, Lixin Fan, Lovers of Hate, Män som hatar kvinnor, Michael Tucker, Noomi Rapace, Petra Epperlein, Steig Larsson, SXSW Film Festival, Tamra Davis, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo