Top Ten Films of Crossroads Film Festival

8 Apr

Top 10 Films of Crossroads Film Festival

By Melanie Addington

Bearing in mind that I did not see every film (although I did try and hit up most of them) from the selection that I viewed, these are my top ten favorites of this fest.

10. Glimpse is an experimental animation by Dustin Grella. He created 4,500 still images and shot them over a 9-month period. It is a wonderful look at the work of William de Kooning.

9. Of All the Things. Ok, to be fair..I saw this at On Location:Memphis Film Festival, not at Crossroads. But it is still fresh in my mind as one of my new favorites as director Jody Lambert weaves an interesting tale of his father who just happens to be one of the great songwriters that has the opportunity to perform in front of a live audience in the Philippines. The film takes a humorous and yet touching look at Dennis Lambert as he and his son make the journey across the world.

8. Before and After Kissing Maria is a great short in that has somewhat of a circular story arc bringing you back to the very beginning of the film at the end in order to give us the final moment. The little boy that wants to kiss Maria is joyful to watch and this short does just what I like shorts to do, give me a reason to care about characters in a very short time and give me a beginning, middle and definitive end. The Spanish filmmaker Ramon Alos did a very sweet job with this one.

7. Control is the brief story of Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division that committed suicide at 23. No surprises that he is a rock star that had marital problems, bouts of depression, but part of what makes the film great is the interesting way that they delve into the story as well as looking at how his epilepsy effects his performances and life. The other part is that Martin Ruhe, the cinematographer, makes the film look gorgeous. Look for his work in the 2009 Julie Delpy film, The Countess. Samantha Morton plays Debbie, Ian’s wife. Goodness, she just can’t do wrong, can she? Her performance is, as always, stunningly good. But newcomer Sam Riley as Ian does as good a job if not better than Gary Oldman as Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy. Cool fact: Producer Orian Williams was born and raised in Jackson.

6. My Country is the first film by Odette Best and is a lovely way to show the tension between aborigines and whites living in Australia. To be honest, I judged the aborigine man as the filmmakers intends to do but was swept away into the storyline and slowly realized my own reaction as his story was revealed. The back flashes may be a bit heavy-handed but if the film’s goal is to make a political statement, it has done so.

5. Doxology, by Michael Langan, is truly one of my favorite experimental films. The stop-motion animation and strange little hymn to God (sorta) of the main character are delivered in a fast-paced entertaining way and I just could watch it over and over again.

4. City of Cranes is one of those films that the topic is such a novel idea that I often forget to pay attention to film quality. It is set in a four-part series examining different aspects of London workers that soar above the city streets on a daily basis. I’ve always wondered what is inside the heads of people who work on those cranes and the film answered the question with some lovely imagery.

3. Pretty Ugly People is a delightful comedy. You can read my review here.

2. Ballast, directed by Lance Hammer and starring all Mississippi cast including Oxonian Johnny McPhail, reveals so much of the delta and the strength of the people there. A review will be up soon.

1. Lars and the Real Girl was written by Nancy Oliver. Now, if you aren’t familiar with the name, you may recognize the hit HBO series she wrote, Six Feet Under. If you ever saw the show, you understand that her writing is, let’s say, quirky. She does it at her best in Lars and the Real Girl. Really an excellent film that is very plot driven and with a stellar performance by Ryan Gosling. Yes, it is a little sentimental but it has heart and I dig it. This one will be out for rent soon and I highly recommend it.

2 Responses to “Top Ten Films of Crossroads Film Festival”

  1. patrick April 24, 2008 at 11:53 am #

    just saw Lars and the Real Girl, Gosling did a great job playing out his character’s psychological transitions… it was considerate of the movie’s producers to leave out the predictable small-town drama as well

  2. JuniorKane July 12, 2008 at 9:10 pm #

    My country was the best film I have seen on the tensions between the aboriginal australian and anglo australian comunity. The Flash back scene depicts the truth of the matter by showing the brutal realities that were faced by a living member of the aborignal community. Read ” Why Weren’t We Told” by Henry Reynolds as start if you want to find out the real history of Australia’s war.

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