SXSW Day 3
I had a later start yesterday morning so I could check out one of the many brunch places around Austin (went to Magnolia Café), but I dove back into screenings this afternoon.
Miss Stevens (Julia Hart, 2016)
Teacher turned director Julia Hart set out to subvert the tired clichés of teacher/ student relationships ending in a forbidden romance. Instead, we are greeted with a nuanced look at the struggles of an emotionally connected teacher. When one of the students, attempting to make his move and complete the cliché, asks if she’s ever had her heart broken, Miss Stevens breaks into tears over the loss of her mother one year ago. Miss Stevens had me crying in the theater, and Julia Hart’s discussion after on the struggles of being a female filmmaker made me love her and the film all the more.
American Fable (Anne Hamilton, 2016)
The “American Fable” screening was the busiest screening I’ve gone to yet this year turning people with badges away let alone anyone hoping to get in without one. While most films I’ve seen so far this festival have been small indie dramedies or niche documentaries, this film had the production value of a studio backed film. The young girl Giddy (Peyton Kennedy) is thrust into a fantastic set of circumstances, and does her best to make sense of them with her imagination filling in the gaps. The film exists in her point of view, and as such in a slightly warped sense of reality. Definitely a fun, relatively larger budget interjection into the schedule.
I Am Belfast (Mark Cousins, 2016)
A portrait of the city of Belfast, Mark Cousins attempt at an experimental documentary unfortunately falls flat to me. While attempting to recreate the magic of classic films like “Man with a Movie Camera” or “Koyaanisqatsi”, it fails to understand that the kinetic energy of those films is what keeps the non-narrative exploration moving. “I am Belfast” replaces the energy with slow movement and a droning score. Combined with being an 11pm screening, and the film did more to put me to sleep than pique my interest.