"Lonesome Jim" Opens 29th Cleveland International Film Festival
by Brian Brooks
Steve Buscemi's Sundance competition feature, "Lonesome Jim" opened the 29th annual Cleveland International Film Festival last night, ushering in the event's 29th edition. Buscemi along with producer Galt Niederhoffer and screenwriter James C. Strouse attended the showing of the film, which stars Casey Affleck, Liv Tyler, Mary Kay Place and Seymour Cassel. Affleck plays a downtrodden writer, who returns to his family in Indiana from New York, and begins dating a nurse (Tyler). His mother (Place) is a steadfast optimist, despite being taken for granted by her family, and is even framed for drug dealing by a distant relative who works for her.
Park City offerings are also on tap for the lineup this year, including Sundance audience winner "Murderball" by Dana Adam Shapiro and Henry Alex Rubin. The doc profiles quadriplegic rugby players who challenge every stereotype of what it is to be handicapped. Slamdance opener "Mad Hot Ballroom" by Marilyn Agrelo follows the story of New York City public school children who journey to the world of ballroom dancing. Juliet McKoen's Slamdance audience winner, "Frozen" is also slated. The film is the story of a woman, played by Shirley Henderson, who is haunted by the disappearance of her sister. When she finds film footage of her sister on her last day, she travels to the place where she was filmed, and discovers that she has found an entrance to the hereafter.
Making its world premiere in the festival's FilmForums section is Joseph Parlagreco's "Call Me Malcolm." The film profiles a trangendered man as he trains become a pastor in the United Church of Christ. Following screenings in this section, a panel will discuss the topics raised in the preceding film. "Call Me Malcolm" filmmakers will participate in the discussion after the film, along with principal cast members.
Genetically-engineered crops is the subject of Deborah Konns Garcia's "The Future of Food," which also screens in FilmForums. The film explores the health as well as legal ramifications of genetically altered food, and the small but determined movement that tries to counter the practice. Garcia will join the discussion after the film.
Palm Springs 2005 doc "The Last Mogul: The Life and Times of Lew Wasserman" by Barry Avrich will screen the last weekend of the festival. "Mogul" profiles the late chief of MCA Universal, who is credited with establishing the careers of prominent filmmakers, including Steven Speilberg.
French director François Ozon's "5 X 2" will close the festival March 20th. The Toronto 2004 feature opens with the divorce of a couple, but their story is told in reverse in five different segments leading to their initial meeting -- a "happy ending."
The Cleveland International Film Festival is a program of the Cleveland Film Society, a non-profit arts and educational organization.
[ For more information, and the full line up, please visit http://www.clevelandfilm.org. ]