A musician who is struggling to cope with his split from his lover and muse begins to suspect that his past is being erased in this unnerving film starring members of Chicago band Paper Thick Walls. As songs Liam and Lauren recorded together disappear from tapes and mutual friends deny that they know him, Liam hits the road on a desperate journey to prove to himself and everyone else that he’s not insane—that the life that they built together, and that he threw away, was real.
When her metal-loving older brother dies in a tragic accident, teenage Hera takes refuge in the darkness and rebelliousness of heavy metal. Rebellious, misunderstood, and encased in black leather and death’s-head facepaint, she dreams of becoming a rock star and escaping the dreary life and boring marriage that seems to be her destiny. The arrival of a cool young priest who also worships Judas Priest seems to offer her a lifeline, but she’s got another thing comin’.
This tale is of nine youthful offenders in a harsh correctional facility who learn to dance as a form of art therapy. When the brutal warden refuses to let them take part in a national dance competition, they escape, using their street smarts to stay ahead of the cops, tie up loose ends from their various backstories, and prepare for the show. Kinetic camerawork, electrifying dance numbers, and the reality of poverty combine in a one-of-a-kind experience.
SXSW cofounder Louis Black will introduce and discuss John Sayles’s criminally underseen allegory of the birth of rock ’n’ roll in the hotbed of the American South under Jim Crow. Sayles’s canny, lyrical film posits rock as an all-inclusive cultural force—there's room for everyone in this new music, for strutting youngsters with cobbled-together guitars, for old-timey ivory-ticklers and grizzled sax players, for big-tent revivalists, and for blues belters.
Shakespeare’s most popular play has seemingly been played every which way, but never like this—a Kiwi rock opera that sets the Bard’s timeless words to modern pop, rock, and hip hop and transfers the feuding Montagues and Capulets from Renaissance Verona to a seaside trailer park. Baz Luhrmann meets Carmen: A Hip Hopera in Tim Van Dammen’s radical reimagining of the fearful passage of Romeo and Juliet’s death-mark’d love. It’s Shakespeare as you’ve never heard him before.
Inspired by the wildly popular This American Life story “Everyone Speaks Elton John” by Starlee Kine and Jon Langford, Pleased to Meet Me tells the story of an aging rockstar who cobbles together a makeshift band from classified ads. Humor, drama, and great music unfold as the strangers collaborate for an eventful one-day-only recording session.
Two bumbling musicians banished from their hometowns for annoying the neighbors gain the magical ability to enchant people with their music. This leads to a cushy gig as court musicians, but when the kingdom is threatened, they vow to save the day in exchange for wedded bliss with two beautiful princesses. The marionette-like 2D animation is a far cry from either Disney or anime, and the charming story and amusing songs will captivate audiences of all ages. In Hindi with English subtitles.
Rashid Masharawi balances tragicomic absurdity with heartfelt affection for the land of his birth in this tale of two brothers who supply sound systems to events in the West Bank. They’re saving their money to emigrate to Canada and escape the intolerable conditions under occupation. But as they near their goal, they’re increasingly torn apart by the thought of abandoning their homeland. In Arabic with English subtitles.