Like with all of the St. Louis International Film Festivals (SLIFF), the 26th version makes it very easy again to be overwhelmed by the number of films presented. Ready for this year’s astounding stats?
Over 2400 submissions, plus a few hundred films from distributors, sales agents and studios.
After careful vetting, these are the winners:
372 films from 64 countries
When I introduce SLIFF to someone who is not familiar with it, I tell them that this is a fantastic way to travel the world and a rare chance to watch films that will possibly never reappear in St. Louis (nor possibly in the US)…
… even if they are masterpieces!
And every year, such pieces make their way to SLIFF,
UNFORGETTABLE FILMS! (…)
If you ever have to prove with words that reality does exist, good luck… precisely the kind of challenge that “Denial” takes on with great resolve. Based on a true event, an American Jewish historian finds herself here having to prove in court that the Holocaust did take place… What happened is what happened and we will continue to be joined to others in space, and in time… but as long as words exist, they will be used to conceal reality and historical revisionism will endure. There where it hurts the most is where the enemy will strike: as Pierre Vidal-Naquet, the French historian wrote, it is a tentative of extermination on paper that relays the actual extermination. Whether done by a country like Iran, any group or individuals, denying the Holocaust is a form of antisemitism.
Excerpt from my review: “We eagerly divide up our lives into past, present, future (and history), and act as if the riddle of time, this most perplexing mystery, had been solved. Yet, a few scientists, philosophers, artists, poets, filmmakers and other mystics keep venturing outside these ready-made formulas….. Through a rich mixture of documentary and fiction footage, composed like the free verse reflections of a visual archeologist – the film plays with our tired eyes: will it be able to jolt us out of our endless complacency and arrogance?” […]
The best St. Louis International Film Festival in memory! Three of my favorite films: “In Transit” – The last of the great direct cinema documentary filmmakers, the recently deceased Albert Maysles (Salesman, Gimme Shelter, Grey Gardens, Running Fence…)… an eloquent love letter to humanity.
With a rarely seen fragility and gentleness, this tour de force of a film allows us to sense how precious each life is. Each individual’s aspirations and vulnerability is magically brought to light: one of the most touching film experience at this festival! — “The Fool/Durak” – … In the midst of the squalor of a small Russian town, through its understated acting and gritty realism, a suspense as worthy as that of a James Bond film, slowly but surely, takes shape. How institutions and the self-serving individuals that populate them can hold onto their morally bankrupt power… — “Embrace of the Serpent” – By following their actual diaries, this sumptuous and sensual film – some would call it an hallucinatory trip – pays tribute to two explorers and their guides as they venture into unknown regions of Colombia. One of the most astonishing and luminous film at the St. Louis International Film Festival! […]