SLIFF 2012 Narrative Features
3 Days of Normal
In this charming romantic comedy, Bill Morgan (Jace McLean) is a small-town sheriff whose self-imposed rules have kept him in Washington, N.H., for his entire life. A stickler for perfection and abiding by the rules, Bill’s singular ambition is to keep order for himself and those around him. But everything changes when It Girl movie starlet Nikki Gold (Mircea Monroe, “Episodes,” “Magic Mike”), who has briefly escaped the bright lights and paparazzi of New York City, is found passed out in her rental car by none other than Bill – who has absolutely no idea who she is. In an effort to avoid the chaos of yet another publicity scandal, Nikki embraces the anonymity for a few blissful days of normalcy. Shot on location in New Hampshire against a picturesque, fall-colored backdrop, “3 Days of Normal” follows Bill and Nikki during three magical days as they find themselves relying on one another to face their own personal challenges.
A 7 Hour Difference (Farq saba’a sa’at)
East meets West at the crossroads of love, culture, and family in “A 7 Hour Difference.” Back home in Jordan from the U.S., where she studies architecture in Boston, Dalia is enjoying the festivities leading up to her sister’s wedding. When her father surprises her with an offer of a lavish office space in the city, he fully expects her to return to Jordan to live. Jason (Thom Bishops), an American who is the love of her life, then adds to the complications by showing up in Amman unannounced and proposing. Problem is, Dalia hasn’t yet told her family, and Jason is pressuring her to live in the States with him. This breezy romantic comedy is the first Jordanian feature film to be directed by a woman
With actor Bishops.
11 Flowers (Wo 11)
In the waning years of China’s Cultural Revolution, 11-year-old Wang Han and his family live in a tiny riverfront village in Guizhou province. Forced to relocate by the government, his father, a former actor, yearns for their old life in Beijing and works to instill a sense of art and culture in his son. Conscious of the anxious whispering of adults, who tell stories about warring gangs and police clashes, Wang and his friends still spend their days in carefree play. But when Wang has a strange encounter near the river and discovers a teenager hiding in the woods who is wanted for crimes against the state, he and his friends decide to keep the fugitive’s presence a secret. Brimming with youthful energy and featuring lovingly detailed evocations of time and place, “11 Flowers” combines mainland China’s complex cultural history with a stirring evocation of childhood.
The Accidental Missionary
When Hollywood bigwig D.J. Miller departs for a luxury vacation, his plans go accidentally awry. Ending up on the other end of the globe and out of his element, D.J. meets a cast of characters who move him, make him laugh, and cause him to rethink everything that he ever believed was true. His journey takes him through the highs and lows of a life that he never knew existed, and he faces the ultimate test when tragedy strikes. In life, there are no accidents. This faith-based romantic comedy is sure to touch every heart. The film stars St. Louis native Jilanne Klaus (“23 Minutes to Sunrise ,” “Fatal Call”), with a special guest appearance by Jason London (“Dazed and Confused,” “The Man in the Moon”).
With director Rossetti, actress Klaus, actor Seth Adair, and cinematographer Chris Benson.
In the alternative world of “Alter Egos,” superheroes are a dime a dozen, and the underappreciated heroes have recently lost government funding and public support. As if those troubles weren’t enough, nerdy Fridge (Kris Lemche) jeopardizes an important mission with he discovers his girlfriend (Christine Evangelista) is cheating on him with his own alter ego. And now, in addition to coping with the fact that the love of his life prefers his superhero identity over his unmasked self, Fridge must reluctantly face his nemesis – the man who killed his mom and dad. The film – which features a soundtrack by Sean Lennon – is an ode to the shy, nerdy superhero in all of us. Variety writes: “Superpowered with silliness, ‘Alter Egos’ is a comedy about second-string heroes, but has a first-rate sense of humor thanks to a wry script. … This is a solid showcase for the talents involved.”
A new national law allowing conjugal visits for inmates brings together a man and woman visiting the same prison to meet their incarcerated spouses. Elsa’s dutiful contact with her husband is part of a routine that includes job searching, raising her two sons, and getting along with her father-in-law. When she meets Spetim, a quiet man who engages in equally passionless encounters with his imprisoned wife, they slowly find the sympathy and companionship missing from their lives. A prisoner amnesty, however, soon threatens their fragile bond in this closely observed, sensual, and contemplative drama highlighting a period of subtle but profound social transformation. “Amnesty” won of the New Cinema Award at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival.
The Anniversary Party
Jennifer Jason Leigh (“Margot at the Wedding”) and Alan Cumming (“The Good Wife”) write, direct, and star in a seriocomic riff on the barbed husband-wife verbal sparring of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” A fractious Hollywood couple, they’ve recently reconciled and hold an anniversary party attended by an array of film “friends,” played by such A-list actors as real-life couple Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates, Gwyneth Paltrow, John C. Reilly, Parker Posey, and Jennifer Beals. Inspired by the Dogme aesthetic, “The Anniversary Party” was one of the first digitally shot films released by a studio. Editor Carol Littleton (“E.T.”) and cinematographer John Bailey (“Mishima”) – themselves a husband-and-wife Hollywood couple – introduce the program and discuss the film and their careers in this special free program. Littleton and Bailey also present a free master class in editing and cinematography on Nov. 10 at Webster U. (see Special Events).
With editor Carol Littleton and cinematographer John Bailey.
Apartment in Athens
In 1943 Athens, an apartment is requisitioned to provide accommodations for a German officer. The space is already occupied by the Helianos, a middle-aged couple who used to be well-off; they share the residence with their 10-year old son, who is filled with revenge fantasies, and a 12-year old daughter. With the arrival of Capt. Kalter, life changes dramatically, with the cruel officer inflicting terror like a military god and the family giving in submissively. At night, they dread the following day’s orders and exchange sparse, terse words. When the captain leaves for Germany, however, his return brings a surprise – Kalter comes back a changed man, kinder and even indulgent. But the balance remains fragile. “Apartment in Athens” won Best First Feature Award at the 2012 Italian Golden Globes.
MIDNIGHT AT THE HI-POINTE
In mid-15th century Japan, flood, drought, and famine transformed the landscape of the capital of Kyoto into a barren wasteland. More than 80,000 perished in the three years between 1459 and 1461. This desolate state served as the backdrop to the beginning of the country’s greatest civil war, and the victims of this dark period in Japan’s history were too great in number to include in the pages of history. This stunningly gorgeous animated film is set during this troubled era, and its eponymous hero grows up a savage, enraged orphan. Asura does whatever it takes to survive in the wild, but when he crosses paths with civilization, he must learn to tame the beast within. Although a film of unrelenting and violent horror, “Asura” also features a deeply religious core.
In East Germany, circa 1980, talented young doctor Barbara Wolff (Nina Hoss) has applied for an exit visa from the GDR and, as punishment, been transferred from her prestigious post in Berlin to a small pediatric hospital in the country. Even though Barbara is constantly aware of the shadowy presence of Stasi officers chronicling her every move and waking hour, she arrives at her new post having already planned a series of dangerous assignations with her lover, with whom she plans to escape to the West through Poland. “Barbara,” the official German submission for the 2013 Academy Awards®, screened at the Berlin, Toronto and New York film festivals. Director Petzold is a SLIFF alum, with both “Yella” and “Jerichow” playing the 2009 fest.
BARBARA is the juried Narrative Feature Award Winner. An additional screening has been added on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 8:30 pm, Plaza Frontenac Cinemas