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SXSW 2011: Day 4 Wrap Up

March 16, 2011

The Dish and the Spoon (directed and written by Alison Bagnall) begins with an emotional introduction to Rose (Greta Gerwig) who has just left her husband after discovering that he has cheated on her. Distraught and still wearing her pajamas, Rose procures some beer and drives to the seaside with the intention to get good and drunk – then stumbles upon a young, English boy in a lighthouse. Rather than taking him to the nearest hospital, she squires him off to a diner whereupon their unlikely friendship begins and the young man tags along with Rose as she tracks down her husband’s girlfriend. The performances in the film are great – particularly -Gerwig’s – and the film has some moments of humor and charm, but it suffers early on from it’s own quirky premise. The relationship feels forced and almost surreal – Rose , apparently suffering from some sort of emotional breakdown, is erratic and volatile. Her reasons for taking the boy along with her don’t necessarily need to be clear, but the boy really has no motivation to tag along with this unstable woman and his devotion to her feels unearned.

Frank Fairfield (directed by Austin Wilson) a short doc about a young musician who is passionate about playing old-fashioned, 20th century songs. Perfect material for a short piece, this is a nice introduction to some long-forgotten tunes as well as to the passionate person who cares to keep the history alive by playing them.

Tabloid (directed by Errol Morris) this documentary about Joyce McKinney, a former beauty queen charged with abducting and imprisoning a Mormon missionary in the ’70s, is one of my favorite pieces featured in the film festival. I would classify it as a non-fiction comedy in which there can be several sides to one story in which many lines of morality are blurred. Morris does such a deft job of weaving this fascinating story – touching on the nature of infamy, the public’s relationship with tabloid media and human behavior at it’s most irrational.


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