Tuesday, April 21, 2009

6 Must See Films of RiverRun 2009

It's that time of year again, The RiverRun International Film Festival opens tomorrow, April 22, at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, with a screening of (500) Days of Summer, and runs until next Wednesday. The festival will showcase a series excellent films from around the world.

My full coverage will be published in The Dispatch this Thursday, but here's a preview of the 6 (I just couldn't narrow it down to 5) must see films of the festival:

1) GOODBYE SOLO (USA, Dir. Ramin Bahrani)
I know I've been pushing this one constantly here, but it bears repeating. Ramin Bahrani's powerful third feature finally arrives in its hometown, making its Winston-Salem premiere on April 25th, after which Bahrani will be presented with the inaugural Emerging Master Award. Don't miss your chance to catch the year's best film so far.

2) UNMISTAKEN CHILD (Israel, Dir. Nati Baratz)
Playing in the documentary competition, Nati Baratz's deeply moving documentary about a Buddhist monk's search for his reincarnated master is the finest documentary I've seen all year. Playing out almost like a narrative feature, this powerful and uplifting film is a spiritual experience all its own.

3) THREE MONKEYS (Turkey, Dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
Turkey's official submission to this year's Academy Awards may not have ended up with a nomination, but that doesn't mean it didn't deserve it. Ceylan's haunting examination of the myriad consequences on a family stemming from one unethical act is a quietly devastating piece of work.

4) THE GARDEN (USA, Dir. Scott Hamilton Kennedy)
One of the 5 Oscar nominated feature documentaries from this year's Academy Awards, The Garden is a wrenching look at government corruption gone awry, as the nation's largest community garden in South Central Los Angeles finds itself in an uphill legal struggle to stay open. Keep any eye out for my interview with director Scott Hamilton Kennedy, coming soon.

5) RUMBA (France, Dir. Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy)
This nearly silent French comedy, in the tradition of Jacques Tati, is as beguiling and winning as they come. It follows the travails of two Rumba loving school teachers who are injured in a car accident through a series of brilliantly constructed comic set-ups.

6) FOOD, INC. (USA, Dir. Robert Kenner)
This shocking, slickly produced documentary takes a hard look at the insidious underbelly of the food industry, and the rise of negative side effects of genetic engineering and the ubiquitousness of corn. Unsafe conditions, animal cruelty, and government corruption all rear their ugly heads in this eye-opening doc that has the potential to be the Inconvenient Truth of 2009.

For more information on these and other films playing at River Run, visit www.riverunfilm.com.

2 comments:

Daniel Getahun said...

I've seen 1,5, and 6, and agree with those three. Three Monkey's I'll see on Saturday, and the other two sound interesting as well. Solid line up you have down there!

Matthew Lucas said...

"Three Monkeys" is debuting online through The Auteurs in conjuction with Zeitgeist, tomorrow until the film opens theatrically, I definitely recommend checking it out.