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Film festival features blues, true stories

Category: Dear Frankie News
Article Date: October 16, 2004 | Publication: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Author: Barbara Vancheri

Posted by: admin

Pittsburgh native Antoine Fuqua captured "Lightning in a Bottle" -- a once-in-a-lifetime salute to the blues at Radio City Music Hall -- and the movie will be uncorked as part of the Three Rivers Film Festival.

The tribute features legends such as B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Robert Cray along with their musical heirs, from John Fogerty to Bonnie Raitt.

The 23rd annual film festival, from Nov. 5 through Nov. 18, will close with another local nod, this time to Duane Michals, a McKeesport native who is an internationally known photographer. He will appear at Regent Square Theater, one of three operated by Pittsburgh Filmmakers and one of four festival venues.

In between will be 40-plus movies, including a new print of F.W. Murnau's 1927 "Sunrise" with live piano music by Philip Carli, along with American indies, foreign films and documentaries about subjects such as Patty Hearst's kidnapping, the replacement of regional character with chain stores and an exceptionally talented football player from a poor section of Miami.

An opening night party will be held adjacent to SouthSide Works, the city's newest multiplex. Three movies (titles to be announced) will be screened there that night, and then action will shift to the usual locations of the Regent Square Theater in Edgewood, the Harris Theater, Downtown, and the Melwood Screening Room in North Oakland.

Winners of the juried shorts program, which drew 200-plus entries, will be announced during the festival. A complete schedule, along with more opening night details, will be announced later. Highlights include:

"Bazaar Bizarre" -- Crime novelist James Ellroy is executive producer of this film about serial killer Bob Berdella, who sexually tortured and murdered six young men, dismembered them in a bathtub and put their bagged remains on the curb for trash pickup.

"Bright Leaves" -- Ross McElwee, whose grandfather created the brand of tobacco called Bull Durham, takes a journey across the social, economic and psychological tobacco terrain of North Carolina.

"Callas Forever" -- Jeremy Irons is the surrogate for Franco Zeffirelli in this movie about the director and Maria Callas, played here as a middle-aged singer living a reclusive life in Paris by Fanny Ardant.

"Les Choristes" -- Set in the 1940s, this story follows Monsieur Mathieu, a mild-mannered teacher who tries to tame his rambunctious boarding-school charges through music.

"Dear Frankie" -- Emily Mortimer is a single mother who, to protect her 9-year-old son, has invented a story that his father is away at sea -- complete with letters that she's penned. The subterfuge, however, is on the verge of collapse.

"Distant" -- This movie from Turkey chronicles the loneliness, longing and isolation in the lives of people consumed by their own problems.

"Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst" -- The transformation of the kidnap victim into Tania, member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, is recounted.

"Notre Musique" -- Jean-Luc Godard ponders the contradictions of human nature as well as the role of war in modern civilization, with Sarajevo standing in for Purgatory, a trip through armed conflicts of the 20th century for Hell and Paradise found on a surreal, serene beach in Rolle, guarded by U.S. Marines.

"Saints and Sinners" -- This film looks at the struggles of gay couples who are deeply committed to their church. Two men who have lived together for seven years, for instance, want to marry in a Catholic church.

"Speak" -- Matt Myers, a Filmmakers alumnus, produced this movie about a high school freshman who undergoes a traumatic event at a party and then decides to quit speaking.

"Tarnation" -- This movie cost just $218 to make but was a surprise hit at the Cannes Film Festival. Jonathan Caouette, now 31, responded to his mother's mental illness and shock therapy by filming himself and his family and editing in songs, phone messages, photos, movie clips, pop culture icons and dress-up re-enactments.

"Unknown Soldier" -- This prize-winner from the Los Angeles Film Festival tells the bleak but uplifting story of a motherless teen whose life goes into a downward spiral after his father's death.

"Year of the Bull" -- Football fever, Miami style, is captured in this story of Taurean Charles, who believes the sport is his ticket to a better life.

"Hungry for Monsters: A Tale from a New Age Witch Hunt" -- This documentary explores a sensational court case from the early 1990s in which a Pittsburgh-area teen was convinced she had repressed memories of satanic ritual abuse at the hands of her parents and others. Filmmaker George Csicsery from Oakland, Calif., will present his film Nov. 9 as part of a special edition of Film Kitchen.

Tickets for most films are $7 each. It will cost $30 to attend the opening night event, while tickets for "Sunrise" and the closing night event with reception will be $10 each. To purchase tickets, go to

There are no advance ticket sales for regular screenings. All tickets are available at the box office 30 minutes before showtime. For information about ticket packages, call 412-681-5449 or go to or


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