Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Week of November 9 to November 15 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann

SAMSARA is a thought-provoking visual feast, a cinemagraphic world tour that is “achingly beautiful and visually transfixing, …. a movie to get lost in.” (Rene Rodriquez, Miami Herald). The range of human activity portrayed transports you beyond your own little world. In a cliché: it’s mind-blowing.

CHICKEN WITH PLUMS is another mind-stretching experience, from Iranian filmmaker/graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis) and her French colleague Vincent Paronnaud. The story is a fable, about a violinist who takes to his bed after his prized violin is destroyed. “A grand, romantic life story about love, loss, regret and the sadness that can be evoked by a violin… it is all melancholy and loss, and delightfully comedic, with enough but not too much magic realism. The story as it stands could be the scenario for an opera.” (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

After all this, you might be ready to return to a world of small minded, ordinary people. 17 GIRLS fills the bill. Based on true events in the fishing town of Gloucester, Massachusetts, but written and directed by the French sister team of Delphine and Muriel Coulin and set in their working-class, port hometown of Lorient, dix-sept filles of the title are high school teens who make a “pregnancy pact” to have babies and raise them in a mutual support group. But it’s not as easy as they thought. “17 Girls is mostly fueled by grrl-power, from its nineties-era femme-centric alt-rock, to its marginalization of boys as sperm-deposit devices.” (Gabe Toro, The Playlist) Makes you wonder about lowering the voting age below 21 (35?).


Have you checked out the upcoming Key West Film Festival (Nov. 29-Dec. 2)? After years of talking about it, there’s finally going to be a real Film Fest in town. For this we’ve got to thank Brooke Christian, a Washington D.C. executive, and son of Tropic Board Member Wayne Kruer. Brooke just got tired of our dawdling and stepped up to the plate to sponsor one on his own, but using the Tropic as the primary venue. He’s recruited a team, including a professional film booker from New York, and a local management group headed by Nadene Grossman (who also runs the Songwriters’ Festival). They’ve put together a great list of films and events.
A slate of forty movies is lined up, kicking off on Thursday evening (November 29) with WHILE WE WERE HERE, starring Kate Bosworth (Straw Dogs, 21, Superman Returns) as a married woman having an affair with a young man on an Italian island. The movie, which The Playlist says “delivers the sensuality of the sunkissed shores of Naples,” will be introduced by the writer/director Kat Coiro, who will be at a welcoming party at the Hemingway House, preceding the screening at the San Carlos.
Movies will be shown all day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, on all four of the Tropic screens and at the San Carlos. Among the noteworthy selections are:
·         SHADOW DANCER featuring Andrea Riseborough (Made in Dagenham) as an IRA turncoat double agent and Clive Owen as her MI5 handler.
·         STARLET, about the moral dilemmas raised when an aspiring and often stoned actress discovers a stash of cash in a Thermos she buys at a yard sale. The movie was featured at the SXSW Festival, and won the Breakthrough Performer Award for Dree Hemingway (granddaughter of Papa) at the Hamptons Film Festival.
·         THE SAPPHIRES follows an Aborigine girl band as they go on a tour of American troops in Vietnam -- a funny, moving crowd pleaser from The Weinstein Company.
·         TIGER EYES is the first-ever feature film adaptation of a Judy Blume novel, written by Judy with her son Lawrence, and directed by him. It’sthe story of a teenager coming to terms with the sudden death of her father and an unwanted family relocation. Judy will be there for a Q and A after the film.
I’ll be telling you about more of the movies as the festival draws closer. But full information and schedules, and advance tickets, are at With many of the films playing in the Tropic’s intimate theaters, you may want to book in advance.

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