From November 3 until November 13, Dutch films will screen at St. Louis International Film Festival. SLIFF provides the opportunity to view the finest in world cinema; international films, documentaries, American indies, and shorts that can only be seen on the big screen at the festival. They also present the usual array of festival buzz films and Oscar contenders, including Paul Verhoeven’s Elle and Michael Dudok de Wit’s the Red Turtle.
The Red Turtle
An intriguing collaboration between independent Dutch animator Michael Dudok de Wit and the famed Studio Ghibli, ‘The Red Turtle’ chronicles the major life stages of a castaway, a man stranded on a deserted tropical island populated by turtles, crabs, and birds but devoid of humans. The castaway finds himself confronted by a huge red turtle, which obstructs his efforts to escape the island. Eventually, however, the man and turtle develop a lasting bond. The film will screen on November 12 (6:15 PM).
Paul Verhoeven directed ‘Elle’, telling the story of Michèle who seems indestructible: the head of a leading video-game company, she brings the same ruthless attitude to both her business and her love life. After she’s attacked in her home by an unknown assailant, Michèle reacts with her typically steely resolve by tracking down the man responsible. Both are soon drawn into a curious and thrilling game; a cat-and-mouse that threatens to spiral out of control at any moment. Elle will screen on November 13 (5:00 PM).
Job Gosschalk‘s film tells the story of Moos: It’s Hanukkah evening, and everything remains the way it’s always been for Moos, who stayed in her hometown to take care of her father after her mother’s passing. But when her longtime childhood friend Sam arrives as a surprise guest from Israel, Moos gets the jolt she needs to examine the choices she’s made. With Sam back, Moos realizes that she’s put her life on hold to take care of others, and she needs to follow her own dream of going to acting school before it’s too late. Moos will screen on November 5 (4:00 PM) and November 7 (12:00 PM).
9 Days: From my Window in Aleppo
Dutch documentary by Floor van der Meulen and Thomas Vroege is part of the festival’s ‘Doc Shorts: Humans of Syria‘ program. It shows a man who is trapped in his apartment in Aleppo, filming what is happening outside at the start of the Syrian uprising. The short will screen on November 8 (5:00 PM).
A Family Affair
On his 30th birthday, filmmaker Tom Fassaert receives a mysterious invitation from his 95-year-old grandmother Marianne to come visit her in South Africa. Tom’s knowledge of Marianne is slight, limited to the predominantly negative stories told by his father, Rob, who describes her as a cold, distant mother who inexplicably abandons her two sons in a children’s home before just as mysteriously reclaiming them a few years later. Eventually, the self-absorbed Marianne, a famous model and femme fatale, leaves her sons behind for good by moving to South Africa. Despite this shabby treatment, the adult Rob continues to try and reconnect with his mother. His efforts seem rewarded when she unexpectedly asks him to run a part of her thriving fashion business. Rob dutifully uproots his family and moves to South Africa, but Marianne then delivers yet another blow, abruptly withdrawing the offer without explanation. Determined to fill in the gaps in his family’s troubled history, which he knows only from his father’s understandably aggrieved point of view, Tom accepts Marianne’s summons. Although he makes persistent attempts to tease out information from his grandmother, she cannily evades his questioning, remaining stubbornly unknowable. Marianne does, however, make a far more shocking confession; one that disturbs Tom and viewers in equal measure. A Family Affair will screen on November 6 (3:30 PM).