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SXSW 2011: Day 3 Wrap Up

March 14, 2011
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Kill List (directed by Ben Wheatley) About a married man who struggles with balancing his family and work obligations (both of which are extremely stressful, to say the least). Kill List has some very interesting things going for it. Unfortunately I think it’s spoiled by having too much going on – so much so that seemingly important parts of story get abandoned without resolution. I feel like there was a lot of promise here (not to mention some truly disgusting scenes of violence) but that the film falters from being deliberately obtuse.

Convento (directed by Jarred Alterman) This documentary takes a mediative approach to showcase the work – and family life – of kinetic artist Christiaan Swanikken. Shot in Portugal at the family’s compound – a renovated convent for which the film is named – the images are beautifully composed and elegant. Convento provides some insight into Swanikken’s works, which are comprised from the remains of deceased animals and are re-animated with robotics of his design.  I’m a fan of his work and it was interesting to see how his – and his family’s – relationship to nature informed his sculpture.

Turkey Bowl (directed by Kyle Smith)  This real-time comedy/character study transpires over the course of an hour-long touch football game between college friends. The dynamic between the group has changed over the years, with friends growing up – and in some cases, apart – in a very relatable way.

Heaven Hell (directed by David Calek) This documentary from the Czech Republic closely examines the lives of several people involved in the BDSM community. It’s an interesting aspect of human sexuality to explore and I admire that it did so without feeling exploitative or passing judgement on it’s subjects – many of whom are also involved in ‘conventional’ relationships outside of their fetish-sharing partners.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams (directed by Werner Herzog) I was so excited to see this documentary, it’s been on my radar for a while now and I was not disappointed by what I saw. Herzog and his crew were able to gain rare access to the Chauvet Cave and film it’s remarkably well-preserved cave paintings (which date back over 30,000 years). The paintings themselves are amazing – utilizing shading, sequential overlays and shape of the cave wall surface to depict the illusion of movement and volumetric form. Herzog’s sense of humor is on display in this insightful feature (his narration and unique line of questions were particularly amusing) and it’s use of 3D is extremely effective.

Just for fun, I heard this song for the first time in Heaven Hell, and now it is my pleasure to share it with you:

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