I will probably
never forgive myself or be forgiven by John Laird for, with
nary an afterthought, turning down his offer of a free SXSW
badge. Just writing it makes the acidic poison of
responsibility seem that much more real, and the idea of
abandoning said responsibilities to jaunt on down to the
dusty climes of Austin, Texas that much more impossible. The
films, the music, the beer, BBQ, and tacos, all are a
floating dream just out of clenched fingers.
Thus, it is with great regret in lieu of actually attending
a slew of amazing films and concerts that Iím instead going
to compile a list of the films I would most want to see if I
was attending the concert. And let me tell you, I thought a
once over of the list would be enough to buff a few clear
winners in to the spotlight, but Jesus, if I wasnít down
enough already, SXSW is bringing some serious contenders to
the plate this year. Theyíve broken them down in to a
handful of categories and Iíll be gingerly scooping them
from each. In terms of the films that donít make the list, I
already know youíre excited about Win Win, Source
Code, and Paul so Iím not choosing to recommend them
again. The films at SxSW which I believe you should see, and
I should somehow scrounge my way in to later on in the year,
are the original pieces, the new, the crazy, the boundary
pushing - because, hell, youíre at a festival and thatís
what youíre meant to do.
So, for you attending, good luck and godspeed. For the rest
of us schlubs, crack a cheap warm beer and listen to some
modern garage rock on a warped cassette player - itíll be
like your actually there.
PS - All of the show time for these films can be found
- Noah's SXSW Film Picks -
01. Attack The Block, d. Joe Cornish
Joe Cornish is one of Edgar Wrightís constant collaborators
and this, his first feature length film has the duoís brand
of genre-bending smeared all over it. A group of inner city
kids have to defend themselves against a horde of alien
invaders. Itís like Menace To Society mixed with
The Thing. Also, Nick Frost is in it, with a beard. You
had me at "with a beard."
02. The FP, d. Jason & Brandon Trost, trailer
Frazier Park is overrun by gangs. Gangs who exert dominance
through to-the-death battles of hyperkinetic dance video
game, Beat Beat Revolution. Sounds like some serious
and hilarious world building to me injected with a tasteless
amount of gore.
03. Separado!, d. Dylan Goch & Gruff Rhys
Gruff Rhys, frontman for the amazing Super Furry Animals,
has always been a bit of a character. Iíve had the
opportunity to work within an orbit of his orbit, and the
stories that get passed down the line make him seem like a
Welsh cartoon character. This, a documentary about his
search for a long lost Patagonian uncle, sounds like the
sort of legend heís been weaving for years.
04. El Bulli: Cooking In Progress, d. Gereon Wetzel
Iíve always had a sort of strange draw towards the art of
cooking, and though I canít say that molecular gastronomy
(the combination of science and food) always attracts me, El
Bulli, one of the originators, always has. Only open for 6
months of the year, the world famous Spanish restaurant
creates a 40 course eating experience for any and all lucky
enough to land a reservation. A greater look in to the
process, the pain-staking process I assume, of the creation
of this menu sounds absolutely fascinating.
05. Armadillo, d. Janus Metz
Films about war have become almost background noise to me
these days, and though sad, it takes a strongly recommended
one for me to even feign interest. Armadillo might
just be that. Firstly, it follows Danish soldiers, not
American soldiers, a group I know nothing about. Thereís a
lot to say about culture by the way in which its military
performs, and a chance to pull back the curtain on Denmarkís
sounds fascinating. Secondly, and finally, Denmark has a
great sort of cultural cinematographical style, and applying
the crisp, coldness so apparent in their films to the
unending war in Afghanistan canít be a bad idea.
06. blacktino, d. Aaron Burns
Every stereotype of African-Americans has been slandered
across the big screen, but what about the black dork? What
about the nerdy black kid who loves Dungeons And Dragons
and loves the John Stewart incarnation of Green
Lantern? Nothing. Well, until now. Aaron Burns
directorial debut has been garnering some serious praise on
the dork circuit, and I curse John Laird under my breath for
his chance to see it.
07. Bellflower, d. Evan Glodell
This film sounds batshit in every way, but all of my
favorite online reviewers showered it with gooey praise
after its premiere at Sundance. I mean the film has ballsy
women, carnage, and fire-breathing cars. Iím not even going
to mess with a plot synopsis. Just chew on that.
08. CONVENTO, d. Jarred Alterman
This on the other hand I will sell based entirely on its
"Artist Christiaan Zwanikken resurrects deceased wildlife by
reanimating the skeletal remains with servomotors and
robotics. He breeds these new species in a 400-year-old
monastery in Portugal, restored from ruins and converted
into his laboratory."
Yes, you should see this.
09. Septien, d. Michael Tully
This was another smash at Sundance. A deranged,
Jesus-loving, sports-hustling brother returns home after a
long disappearance. And I imagine weird shit happens. The
trailer has a sort of hushed, electric madness to it that
just draws you right in. Also, who doesnít like a film about
Jesus freaks who can play hoop? Heathens, thatís who.
10. Beginners, d. Mike Mills
Ewan Macgregor and Christopher Plummer play a father and son
whom bond over the fatherís sudden revelation that heís gay.
Macgregor is a gem when used correctly, and from everything
Iíve heard, heís amazing in this film. It looks simple and
funny and sad in such a heart-breakingly honest way.
Hereís the great thing. I just picked 10 films from the
festival you should probably see. Or at least I would most
definitely see if I was able to attend. But thereís easily
ten, twenty, or thirty others Iíd recommend. Youíre going to
the festival? Youíre a lucky bastard. Go see some great
- Noah Sanders
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