2013 Brattleboro Film Festival Film Line-up
THE ACT OF KILLING 2012
Joshua Oppenheimer 115 min Denmark Doc
Saturday, Nov. 9, 4 pm, Latchis
Oppenheimer's inventive documentary is an unflinching look at the dark side of humanity through the memories of perpetrators of the Indonesian genocide (1965), focusing on Anwar Congo and his friends. They have not admitted to crimes against humanity. Instead, they have written their own triumphant history, becoming heroes and role models for millions of young paramilitaries. An extraordinary, groundbreaking and important film but not for the faint-hearted. (Executive producers Werner Herzog, Errol Morris). It's a likely Oscar contender.
ALICE WALKER: Beauty in Truth 2013
Pratibha Parmar 84 min USA/UK Doc
Wednesday, Nov. 6, 6:30 pm, Latchis
Walker made history as the first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for her novel The Color Purple, a universal story of triumph against all odds that's similar to Walker's own story. Born the eighth child of sharecroppers, her early life unfolded in the midst of violent racism and poverty during some of the most turbulent years of social and political change in the USA. The film offers a penetrating look at the life and art of an artist, a self-confessed renegade and human rights activist.
THE ANGELS' SHARE 2013
Ken Loach 106 min Scotland Drama
Monday, Nov. 4, 8:30 pm, Latchis; Saturday, Nov. 9, 6:30 pm, Latchis
Winner of the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, venerable director Ken Loach surprises with an engagingly off-kilter working class comedy. Robbie, a broke new father with a good heart, is in serious trouble with the law. When he holds his newborn, he becomes determined that the boy will have a better life, one with more opportunities than he has been offered in his world. His unexpectedly discovered palate for malt whiskey leads to a finish sure to lift your spirits.
BOTTLED LIFE: Nestlé's Business with Water 2012
Urs Schnell 90 min Switzerland Documentary
Saturday, Nov. 9, 12 pm, Latchis
Swiss journalist Res Gehringer goes on an investigative journey, researching the story of Nestlé's dominance in the bottled water business in the USA, Nigeria, and Pakistan, revealing the schemes and strategies of the most powerful food and beverage company on our planet. One such revelation is in the rural state of Maine, where Nestlé has purchased many water rights and pumps out millions of cubic meters of water, which it bottles and sells. In the small towns around Fryeburg, Maine, however, local opposition forms to battle this Goliath.
THE BOY IN THE BUBBLE 2011
Kealan O'Rourke 8 min Ireland Animated Short Drama
(Plays with The Painting) Saturday, Nov. 2, 12 pm, Latchis; Sunday, Nov. 10, 2 pm, Latchis
This award-winning short narrated by Alan Rickman is the story of Rupert, a ten-year-old boy, who falls hopelessly in love for the first time. When it all goes terribly wrong, he wishes never to experience heartache again. Turning to a book of magic, he invokes a spell to shield him from emotion forever, but love is unpredictable. (Plays with The Painting)
DESERT RUNNERS 2013
Jennifer Steinman 99 min USA Doc
Saturday, Nov. 2, 2 pm, Latchis; Sunday, Nov. 10, 12 pm, Latchis
A diverse cast of nonprofessional runners attempt to complete the most difficult ultramarathon race series on Earth. Their dramatic journey takes them across four of the world's most extreme deserts. These beautiful yet brutal landscapes push their bodies, hearts, and spirits through a myriad of external and internal obstacles. Desert Runners delves into the mindset of ultra-athletes, and the complex ways in which human beings deal with both heartbreak and triumph.
ENGLISH VINGLISH 2012
Gauri Shinde 129 min India/ partially subtitled Drama
Sunday, Nov. 3, 4 pm, Latchis; Friday, Nov. 8, 8:30 pm, Latchis
The story of a wife and mother made to feel insecure by her family and society for not knowing English. The film is a lighthearted yet touching treatment of Shashi's transformational journey. On a trip to Manhattan for a wedding, she decides to enroll in an English language class and meets a host of new people who teach her to value herself beyond the narrow perspective of her family. Shot mostly in New York, the film captures the ongoing challenge of people all over the world as they struggle with the English language. Hilarious and sensitive, this film marks the comeback of India's biggest female star, Sridevi, and so a bit of Bollywood comes to America…. Excellent vexcellent!
THE FRUIT HUNTERS 2012
Yung Chang 95 min USA Doc
Sunday, Nov. 3, 2 pm, Latchis
You can find them deep in the jungles of Borneo, in the hills of Umbria, and perhaps even in your own backyard. They are fruit hunters, traveling across culture, history, and geography to show how intertwined we are with the fruits we eat. The fruit-obsessed include scientists, adventurers, fruit detectives, and even movie star Bill Pullman, who travel on a thrilling, sensual odyssey through nature, dedicating themselves to searching for and saving rare and exotic fruit in a world increasingly dominated by industrialized monoculture.
GORE VIDAL: United States of Amnesia 2013
Nicholas D. Wrathall 83 min USA Doc
Sunday, Nov. 3, 6:30 pm, Latchis; Tuesday, Nov. 5, 8:30 pm, Latchis
A surprisingly intimate portrait that mixes the personal with the political. Master of brilliant one-liners ("We are the United States of Amnesia, we learn nothing because we remember nothing"), Gore Vidal's acerbic, opinionated and fearless approach tears at the façade of the new America as seen through interviews and archival footage of his famous appearances on television over the last fifty years. In recent interviews Vidal examines the course of American history and policy making, offering prophetic conclusions on the fate of the nation.
GREGORY CREWDSON: Brief Encounters 2012
Ben Shapiro 78 min USA Doc
Friday, Nov. 1, 8:30 pm, Latchis
When fine-art photographer Greg Crewdson sets out to get a picture, it's not just a matter of pointing a camera and shooting. Not by a long shot. His productions are about as elaborate as a film shoot, with set builders, art directors, lighting technicians, "actors," and fog machines. He is more like a director than a photographer, and his stunning work has one foot planted in a surreal dark fantasy while the other is firmly set in stark documentary realism. The film focuses on his Beneath the Roses project, shot in towns like Pittsfield, Massachusetts, that have been ravaged by economic woes.
HANNAH ARENDT 2012
Margarethe von Trotta 113 min Germany/ partially subtitled Drama
Saturday, Nov. 9, 2 pm, Latchis
The outspoken Jewish-German philosopher Hannah Arendt (superbly played by Barbara Sukowa) was given the task of reporting for The New Yorker on the 1961 trial of the Nazi Adolf Eichmann. Lively arguments about the trial with friends and colleagues season the film, which includes other noted intellectuals of the day such as Mary McCarthy and William Shawn. Ultimately her submissions raise provocative questions on the nature of evil and who is responsible. Internationally acclaimed, this film is a fascinating look at a woman unafraid to think and speak freely.
HOT WATER 2013
Kevin Flint, Liz Rogers 70 min USA Doc
Saturday, Nov. 2, 4 pm, Latchis
Join filmmakers Lizabeth Rogers and Kevin Flint on a journey through the American West to expose uranium mining and our atomic legacy for what it really is. Initially they traveled to South Dakota to follow a story about uranium contamination but, upon arriving, discovered that the problem flows much farther and runs much deeper than they could have imagined.
IT'S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY 2012
Don Hertzfeldt 62 min USA Animated Drama
Friday, Nov. 1, 10 pm, Latchis
Narrated by Hertzfeldt, this animated multimedia feature consists of a trilogy of previously released short films: Everything Will Be OK (2006), I Am So Proud of You (2008), and It's Such a Beautiful Day (2012). Linked together as chapters, they recount the random thoughts, dreams, and awkward social interactions of a simple stick figure, Bill, who's forced to face his own existence after being diagnosed with an unknown but fatal illness. An epic existential tale, told with humor, horror, and humanity.
Jillian Schlesinger 85 min Netherlands / subtitled Doc
Sunday, Nov. 3, 12 pm, Latchis
Fourteen-year-old Dutch teenager Laura Dekker sets out on an epic voyage to become the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone. Holding a camera at arm's length, Laura records her daunting venture using it as both a video log and as a companion. Director Jillian Schlesinger crafts a fascinating and charming coming-of-age story about the power of the human spirit.
MIDDLE OF NOWHERE 2012
Ava Duvernay 97 min USA Drama
Tuesday, Nov. 5, 6:30 pm, Latchis
What happens when love takes you places you never thought you would go? Winner of the Best Director Award at Sundance, Middle of Nowhere is an elegant, superbly acted drama that follows Ruby, an African-American medical student who sets aside her dreams when her husband is incarcerated. Staring into the hollow end of his eight-year prison sentence, she fights to support him on the inside and survive on her own on the outside. Through a chance encounter, Ruby is propelled in new directions—caught between two worlds in search of herself.
MORE THAN HONEY 2012
Marcus Imhoof 95 min Switzerland/ partially subtitled Doc
Thursday, Nov. 7, 6:30 pm, Latchis
Oscar-winning filmmaker Marcus Imhoof explores the relationship between mankind and honeybees, nature, and our future. He investigates small farms and massive commercial beekeeping companies and orchards. Amazing macro-photography of the bees in flight and in their hives reveals a fascinating, complex world in crisis. Honeybees show us that stability is just as unhealthy as unlimited growth, and that salvation sometimes comes from a completely unexpected direction.
MUSCLE SHOALS 2013
Greg Camalier 111 min USA Doc
Monday, Nov. 4, 6:30 pm, Latchis
Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, is the unlikely breeding ground of some of America's most creative and defiant music—music that changed the world and sold many millions of records. At its heart is Rick Hall, who founded FAME Studios. Overcoming staggering tragedies, he brought black and white together in Alabama's cauldron of racial hostility to create music for the generations. Mick Jagger, Percy Sledge, Aretha Franklin, and many others bear witness to Muscle Shoals' magnetism, and show why it remains influential today. This film is crammed full of great music.
THE PAINTING 2011
Jean-François Laguionie 76 min France/ dubbed Animated Drama
For children of all ages. Saturday, Nov. 2, 12 pm, Latchis; Sunday, Nov. 10, 2 pm, Latchis
A magical, imaginative and incredibly accomplished tale of wonder, love, and revelation. The Painting tells a love story set in a world unlike any other, a living painting on a wall in a painter's home. Three of the figures, Ramo, Lola, and Plume embark on a fantastic voyage, leaving their painting in search of the painter, traveling through the colorful worlds of other paintings, so they can find answers and be together. This is not your ordinary animated film. for children of all ages
Krista Whetstone and Carol Paik 14min USA
Sunday, Nov. 3, 2 pm, Latchis
Every night the same dilemma: What to eat? And, who's responsible? What happens when you have too many options but not enough time, energy or ...love? Part social commentary, part farce, Pear explores the struggles of a modern couple, as they negotiate the politics of dinner. Winner of the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the Sedona International Film Festival. Special Event with the filmmakers.
REACHING FOR THE MOON 2013
Bruno Barreto 116 min Brazil / partially subtitled Drama
Sunday, Nov. 3, 8:30 pm, Latchis; Friday, Nov. 8, 6:30 pm, Latchis
A larger-than-life-romance between two gifted, unconventional women: the shy but poised American poet, National Book Award, and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Bishop and brazen Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares. Spanning two decades, their volatile relationship unfolds against the physical and political transformation of Brazil. A visually lush film with intelligent, incandescent performances from the two stars, Miranda Otto and Gloria Pires.
THE ROCKET 2012
Kim Mordaunt 92 min Australia / Laos subtitled Drama
Friday, Nov. 1, 6:30 pm, Latchis; Thursday, Nov. 7, 8:30 pm, Latchis
A boy who is believed to bring bad luck to everyone around him leads his family and two new friends through a vivid and exotically beautiful landscape, scarred by the legacy of war, to find a new home. To prove he's not cursed he builds a giant rocket to enter the most exciting and dangerous competition of the year, the Rocket Festival. This moving, richly drawn and immensely entertaining tale offers us a unique view into a culture and world never seen on film before. Australia's entry to the 2014 Academy Awards.
Fritz Lang 1945 103 minutes USA
FREE film noir classic screening and discussion at Brooks Memorial Library.
When an artist (Edward G Robinson) in mid-life crisis befriends a young woman (Joan Bennett), her venal fiancé (Dan Duryea) persuades her to play him for a fool and con him out of the fortune she thinks he has.
SHORT TERM 12 2013
Destin Daniel Cretton 96 min USA Drama
Saturday, Nov. 2, 6:30 pm, Latchis; Saturday, Nov. 9, 8:30 pm, Latchis
In this emotionally involving drama, Brie Larson shines in the breakout role of Grace, a compassionate young staff member at a group home for at-risk teens. A new arrival at the home tests Grace's confidence while dredging up memories of her own troubled past. With equally believable performances by the cast of young people and twenty-something staffers, this indie production puts most mainstream films to shame. The film has a perfectly balanced, refreshingly honest script, full of humanity. Cretton has made an outstanding film, well deserving the Oscar buzz it is getting.
THE STRANGE LOVES OF MARTHA IVERS
Lewis Milestone 1946 116 minutes USA
FREE film noir classic screening and discussion at Brooks Memorial Library.
A ruthless, domineering woman (Barbara Stanwick) is married to an alcoholic district attorney (Van Heflin), her childhood companion who is the only living witness to her murder of her rich aunt 17 years earlier. Kirk Douglas made his Hollywood debut in this film.
Chris Mason Johnson 89 min USA Drama
Saturday, Nov. 2, 8:30 pm, Latchis; Wednesday, Nov. 6, 8:30 pm, Latchis
A dancer in 1985 San Francisco, Frankie is filled with an escalating sense of dread as the outbreak of the then elusive AIDS virus begins to spread, and he contemplates taking the new test for the virus. He also feels the stress of his craft weighing him down after his dance instructor tells him to make it look more "manly." Breathtaking dance scenes are fluidly woven into the story, which builds slowly but is completely rewarding…a remarkably authentic portrayal of life in that time.
Ignacio Ferreras 89 min Spain Animated Drama
Sunday, Nov. 10, 4 pm, Latchis
A realistic story for adults, Wrinkles portrays the friendship between Emilio and Miguel, two aged gentlemen shut away in an old age home. Recent arrival Emilio, in the early stages of Alzheimers, is helped by Miguel and colleagues to avoid ending up on the feared top floor or "assisted" care of the home. They hatch a wild plan to infuse their otherwise tedious days with humor, tenderness, and renewed life.
FREEDOM AND UNITY: The Vermont Movie 2013
Nora Jacobson 6 films 80-90 min each USA Doc
Since declaring its independence in 1777, Vermont has been a beacon for innovative, courageous, and truly independent decisions about political, social, and cultural issues. Over 40 critically acclaimed Vermont filmmakers and historians set out to to understand Vermont's iconoclastic spirit: where it comes from, how it shapes our present, and how it lays the groundwork for the future. In this 6 part collaborative adventure, using cinema verite, personal stories, rare footage, compelling interviews and original re-enactments they’ve created a living testament that explores the history and contemporary culture of the Green Mountain State. Join us on this amazing journey! BFF is the only event in Vermont showing all six individual films (that play over five days,) but each one stands on it’s own so they can be seen out of sequence.
Part One “A Very New Idea”
explores the roots from which the future state of Vermont grew. Samuel de Champlain steps into a canoe, paving the way for Yankee immersion into native culture. We look at early settlement, native peoples’ resistance, and the little-known history of African American settlers. Pioneer rebel Ethan Allen leads the struggle for independence, resulting in Vermont’s radical constitution- the first to outlaw slavery. Finally, Vermont’s heroic role in the Civil War reminds us that, despite occasional missteps, Freedom & Unity—Vermont’s state motto—continues to chart the state’s course into the present.
Speakers: (Not heard yet Roger Longtoe Sheehan)
Filmmakers: Nora Jacobson, Alan Dater, Andy Reischman, Kate Purdie, Dorothy Tod
Part Two “Under the Surface“
deepens the journey, digging beneath the surface of Vermont’s bucolic image to explore labor wars, eugenics experiments, the McCarthy era, and progressive Republicanism. Covering over a century—from pre-Civil War to 2009—it chronicles the rise of unions and quarry work, Barre’s Socialist Labor Party Hall, the marketing of Vermont, the state’s reaction to New Deal policies, George Aiken's gentle populism, and Republican Ralph Flanders’ heroic stand against Joe McCarthy during the Red Scare. Emigrés from urban areas, “back-to-the-landers” like Helen and Scott Nearing and filmmaker Nora Jacobson’s father, Nicholas Jacobson, came to Vermont in search of an alternative lifestyle.
Speakers: Greg Joly, Nearing scholar and homesteader
Filmmakers: Nora Jacobson
Part Three “Refuge, Reinvention and Revolution”
In the mid-20th century, political pioneers like Bill Meyer, a Congressman who challenged the Cold War, and Governor Phil Hoff, whose 1962 victory set the stage for historic change, rose to take the lead in state politics. Innovation was everywhere: in the work of “talented tinkerers” like Snowflake Bentley and Thaddeus Fairbanks, in the rise of IBM, and in the creation of the Interstate highways. We see the pros and cons of the highways--the high price of “eminent domain.” Revolution was in the air—rare archival footage provides a vivid look at the "hippies," the realities of communal life and the paths of members of the counter-culture who established roots in Vermont. Who changed whom?
Speakers: Verandah Porche--Poet, teacher and communard, Chard diNiord--Poet and teacher
Filmmakers: Nora Jacobson, Alan Dater, Lisa Merton
Part Four “Doers and Shapers”
explores the people and institutions that push boundaries. Starting with education, we take an engrossing journey through the philosophy of John Dewey, leading to the hands-on style of Goddard College, the Putney School, and the inseparable connection between education and democracy. We explore other progressive movements: Vermont’s famous Billboard law and Act 250, cultural movements such as Bread and Puppet Theater and finally Vermont’s groundbreaking civil union law. Democracy at work—differing voices, different points of view.
Speakers: John Scagliotti, filmmaker and LGBT media pioneer (not heard from yet Tom Wessels, Shirley Squires)
Filmmakers: Nora Jacobson
Part Five “Ceres” Children”
takes a deeper look at some of Vermont’s cherished traditions: participatory democracy and the conservation ethic, from the ideas of George Perkins Marsh, one of America’s 1st environmentalists, to contemporary volunteer groups and activist movements. The film captures 21st century debates over natural resources, then circles back in time to show how these concerns originate in the ethics of farmers, who depended on the natural world for their survival. The disappearance of dairy farms has raised a tough question: how big is too big? How can Vermont survive in a world economy? Can Vermont be a model for small, local and self-sufficient farming?
Speakers: Vern Grubinger, VT Land Trust, UVM Extension Service, Roger Allbee, former VT Commissioner of Agriculture The Thruber family, Lilac Ridge Farm
Filmmakers: Nora Jacobson, Andy Reischman, Kate Purdie
Part Six “People’s Power”
tackles contemporary tensions over energy, independence, the environment and the state’s future. Chronicling the struggle to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, it reveals the power of protest, the influence of lobbyists and the importance of town meeting debate and a citizen legislature. It follows the battle over windmills in Lowell—a struggle over scale, aesthetics and environmental impacts—and explores thorny questions about economics, sovereignty and climate change. Finally, the devastating impacts of Hurricane Irene reveal the power not only of nature, but of people and community
Speakers: Ellen Kaye, activist, Clay Turnbull, New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution, Trish Kittridge, Marble Arvidson aunt, Michael Zaransky, Marble Arvidsons friend
Filmmakers:: Nora Jacobson, Andy Reischman