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The Deflowering of Eva Van End – “De Ontmaagding van Eva van End”

   A logline is a Hollywood-speak equation used to pitch movies to simple-minded, artistically-disabled studio suits in shorthand so one doesn’t waste their energy and spirit trying to explain what one’s proposed project is really about.  If one wants to get their project considered, one must reduce their artistic vision to a hybrid of two previously made movies; hopefully one can find two (three is pushing it) appropriate ...

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The Siren of the Tropics and The Other (other) Josephine

      Josephine Baker has been an idol of mine since I was a child.  That she was born on my half-birthday (June 3rd), is from my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, and became a star in France sparked my affinity for her.  Learning the details of her life deepened my admiration. I proudly defended her my junior year of high school when my English class was given ...

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The Day I Saw Your Heart

      The Day I Saw Your Heart (Et Soudain Tout le Monde Me Manque) is a charming little film that has all the right ingredients but lacks that certain je ne sais quoi to make it a great movie. Director Jennifer Devoldère is the French version of American director Nancy Meyers.  They both aspire to make more meaningful than average rom-coms, assemble stellar casts, and it ...

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Paul Williams: Still Alive or How to Convince Your Idol You’re Not a Stalker So You Can Film a Documentary About Them

  If you can instantly recognize and name the man in this photo, we belong to the same tribe. Among his literal myriad accomplishments, his celebrity is a clear demarcation line of a generation gap. For those tenderfeet who humiliate our tribe every year reminding us of our analog youth, allow me to pose these questions: Can you name a current celebrity that has accomplished all of the ...

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Oma & Bella

    In my humble, (sic), snobby opinion, this documentary is a perfect example of the treasures offered by film festivals:  a movie you’ve never heard of, the privilege of witnessing the lives of strangers whose experience will enhance your own. There’s no plot, no agenda, no suspense; it’s just a slice of life that unfolds before you slowly and deliciously, like the way Milky Way candy bar ...

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Guilty: Presumed?

      If your definition of a horror movie involves lots of gore and suspenseful crescendos calculated to thrill through fear, you don’t know real horror. This movie is a true horror story.  True horror.  A true story. Alain Marécaux (Philippe Torrenton, spectacular!) is a loving husband, father to three children, a respected bailiff living a normal, middle-class life in Northern France.  Their life isn’t perfect, but ...

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2011 St. Louis International Film Festival Winners!

The awards for the 20th annual Stella Artois St. Louis International Film Festival were announced last night at the closing night party.   The festival’s creative director, Chris Clark, said attendance this year was “record-shattering,” estimating more than 25,000 entries. Among the many winners, Félicitations to: Dori Berinstein, who accompanied her documentary “Carol Channing: Larger Than Life” to its fly-over country screening.  Not only did Ms. Berinstein chose ...

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Gainsbourg, Vie Héroïque (A Heroic Life)

    This film, not to mention its complex subject, is most likely only on the radar of the most dedicated cinephiles, and surely only francophile cinephiles at that.   While receiving much acclaim in France, winning Césars (the French equivalent of the Oscars) for best first film (that would be an interesting category for the Oscars, non?) for its director Joann Sfar  and best actor for Eric ...

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If you are a fan of Pedro Almodóvar…..

  …. I highly recommend you attend today’s screening of “De Repente La Pelicula  (Suddenly, The Film)” at the the St. Louis International Film Festival. I met the director Luis Armando Roche and his lovely producer wife, Marie-Françoise Roche, and they assured me it would be an “estrafalario” (zany) comedy.  There is a link to the preview below, and it really looks like fun! Venezuelan native and current ...

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Cirkus Columbia

For those who look forward to the St. Louis International Film Festival every year for the chance to see films that are unlikely to get mainstream distribution, I recommend attending the remaining screening of the 2010 Bosnian film “Cirkus Columbia.”   While I have seen many documentaries concerning the war that broke up Yugoslavia, including a moving documentary, “Back to Bosnia,” shown at the festival several years ago, ...

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