Twin Cities Film Fest 2014, Part II

Photo courtesy Time Lapse

The 2014 Twin Cities Film Festival is about at the halfway point, and it looks like things are moving along pretty well. Several sold out screenings and good buzz are making TCFF a serious calendar item in the local cinema scene. As I said in the first post, I can’t make specific comments about the films, but here’s a survey of the closing movies that I think are worth mentioning.

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Creeps, crawls, candy and more: Halloween highlights in the Twin Cities

(Photo by Henry Hendricks)

Halloween is lurking around the corner, promising another year of spooky good times and monstrous spending.

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Flyway Film Festival lures Twin Citians across the river October 23-26

How is the Flyway Film Festival, happening this week in the Wisconsin river towns of Pepin, Stockholm, and Maiden Rock, different from other film festivals? A well-known producer visiting the Flyway once told me, off the record: “Nobody’s trying to suck up to anybody here. People say what they really think about the films and nobody acts pretentious, the way they do at most festivals.” (You can see why this person did not want to be quoted by name.)

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Twin Cities Film Fest preview, part one

(Screenshot from The Heart Machine trailer, below)

The Twin Cities Film Fest 2014 is upon us. The fest runs from October 16th to October 25th, screening at a single location in the Showplace Icon West End cinema. The metro is lucky enough to have several film festivals sprinkled throughout the year, and each one has its own kind of focus. Twin Cities Film Fest looks to aim toward a spot in the upper tier of the indie film festival circuit, showcasing films that have done well at Sundance, South by Southwest and others. Not quite as international as Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, not quite as doggedly independent as Minneapolis Underground Film Festival, the TCFF program focuses on mostly domestic films that are on the cusp of wider release or deserve wider attention. Additionally, there is a very healthy showing of locally filmed or produced movies.

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Chaplin's 'The Gold Rush' to show as part of Walker Art Center Birthday Bash

Many of the most defining moments of Charlie Chaplin’s career come from his 1925 film The Gold Rush: Chaplin’s Tramp, hollow-eyed from hunger, eating his own shoe. The Tramp transforming into a giant chicken as his starving friend Big Jim hallucinates. The Tramp and Big Jim, scrambling to stay alive as their shack teeters on the edge of a cliff. Chaplin transforming two rolls speared on forks into a pair of nimble, dancing feet. The Gold Rush is one of Chaplin’s most fully realized expressions of lightness and darkness, comedy and tragedy—and a great introduction to Chaplin and silent comedy, too.

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Twin Cities Black Film Festival picks up steam

(Photo courtesy of Glassrock Entertainment) Cru is one of the full-length features at this year’s festival.

Black Hollywood arrives this weekend in the Twin Cities — the 12th Annual Twin Cities Black Film Festival (TCBFF) is scheduled for October 9-12.

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Africa Magic Go brings Nollywood to the U.S.

(Photos courtesy of AMGO) L: Ken Onwu; R: Juliet Ibrahim

A video-on-demand (VOD) service “dedicated to African programming made by Africans” now is available in the U.S. Africa Magic Go (AMGO) is a subscription-based, VOD-streaming service, featuring Africa’s largest original film and television programming library for an $8 monthly fee after a one-week free trial period. It is a subsidiary of MultiChoice, which has operated in 48 African countries for over two decades.

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MOVIE REVIEW | "Neighborhoods" explores the Somali community in Minnesota at Minneapolis Underground Film Festival

In the last few years there have been plenty of stories told about the Somali community in Minnesota, but very few of them concern the actual lives of the people that live here. Often, they are presented through the filter of a news story or international issue. Neighborhoods, a locally shot short film which stars (Barkhad Abdirahman), takes a look at one event in the lives of three young people who live in Minneapolis.

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Three ways to celebrate Buster Keaton's birthday this October

If the late, great comedy star Buster Keaton were still alive, he’d be turning a very distinguished 119 years old on October 4, 2014. In the photo above, he's shown celebrating his birthday at the Cirque Medrano in Paris. Besides busting out some birthday cake, here are three ways to celebrate Keaton’s birthday in October, both in the Twin Cities and further afield. Be sure to see the end of this blog post for a note about a giveaway of the book Buster Keaton Interviews, published by the University Press of Mississippi.

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MOVIE REVIEW | "The Zero Theorem" by Terry Gilliam: Hair of the dogma

(Screenshot from 'The Zero Theorem' trailer)

A famous Monty Python sketch depicts an archbishop and a humanist philosopher wrestling to determine whether God exists. The British comedy team's comic spirit exposed the ludicrous attempt to definitively answer imponderable questions while insisting that it was equally silly to fight over such issues. Their deep silliness could almost constitute the mythology of the comic that Monty Python symbolized. It took on the Big Questions and found a deeper silliness beneath philosophy and theology. It embodied a mythic trickster silliness that was more ultimate - and ultimately healing - than abstractions. It salved the suppurating wounds of history and religious hatred with a balm of cosmic nonsense. This mythic silliness Gilliam has largely jettisoned in his visually discombobulating and wonderfully flawed, The Zero Theorem. It offers a doggedly monk-like parable from the Church of New Atheism whose highest truth is delusion, delusion, all is delusion. The wrestling match has been restaged, but it is mythic silliness that has been thrown mercilessly out of the ring. It is a shock to realize that Gilliam, a luminously erratic firework of creativity, offers up a dogmatic anti-sermon.

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