Landlocked Film Festival
Downtown Iowa City — August 14-16
The Landlocked Film Festival — now in its 9th year of operation in Iowa City — prides itself on bringing independent, short and feature length films from all over the world to the heartland. This year the Iowa City Public Library, The Englert Theatre and FilmScene will each host screenings during the festival, which runs August 14-16. Here are six can’t-miss picks from the lineup.
1. Eat White Dirt
Eat White Dirt is one of those films that will spread like wildfire by word of mouth because it is simply too interesting to not bring up in every conversation. White dirt, otherwise known as kaolin clay, is found in the American South and regularly consumed by (usually) women as the geological subset of pica (a disorder where one develops an appetite for non-food items). The most interesting part about Eat White Dirt is not simply its subject matter, but it is the almost anthropological presentation of the women featured in Adam Forrester’s documentary. The most poignant descriptions and definitions of the white dirt come from the women who say they are addicted to it.
2. Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg
Jean Seberg was a force of nature. This beautifully made documentary about her life as an actor, activist, and icon is filled to the brim with incredible facts and stories about the Marshalltown, Iowa native. Seberg was an actress, daughter, sister, scholar, activist and deeply troubled woman, which to say, a whole and complex human being. It could not have been easy for filmmakers Kelly Rundle, Tammy Rundle and Garry McGee to craft a film that would do Jean Seberg justice, Movie Star does just that.
3. Clown Service
Fresh off a breakup and feeling low, critically-acclaimed comedienne Tig Notaro decides to order herself a clown to cheer her sorry self up. It’s an interesting choice, considering that (for many) there are few things more upsetting than a bumbling adult clown. It takes some scheming, but Tig eventually welcomes Giggles (Nathan Barnatt) into her home. Tig and Giggles get off to an awkward start, but eventually the two get to talking about sadness, humor and how often the two overlap. Full of Notaro’s trademark wry humor, Clown Service might be Landlocked’s runaway hit.
Razor is quick and precise, just as its title suggests. The short film by Rajko Ristanović is based on a short story by Vladimir Nabokov and profiles Vlada (Vladislav Mihailović), a Russian barber who is the very best at his job. When a nameless businessman steps into Vlada’s shop, the barber becomes irritated, apparently recognizing his otherwise ordinary face. Vlada begins to shave the man, all the while lecturing him about his father and the responsibility of a barber not to let the blade slip. The question quickly arises: will Vlada donate a swift flick of his razor, ending the man’s life?
After collecting some of his things from his parents’ home, filmmaker Oren Gerner has a vaguely intimate phone conversation with his lover, Lital. He desperately wants to depart from his parents so he may, consciously or not, begin the same sort of love and life with his significant other. Greenland is a contemplation of the things you find when digging around a garden, attic or inbox, and how one learns from or tries to re-appropriate these small treasures, tangible or otherwise, after the dust has been brushed away.
6. Butterfly Hunter
Butterfly Hunter is a sweet animated short film from director Min-Yu Chen that follows a ruthless lepidopterist on his quest to capture the whimsical creatures that constantly flutter about his house and mind. We encounter all sorts of delicately drawn critters in the hunter’s quest — not only butterflies, but precious caterpillars and hungry mosquitos, even menacing spiders — all seemingly crafted from ornate paper mache. The butterflies take grand flights about the beautiful world that they inhabit, always weaving and bobbing with breathtaking speed and uniformity. The film’s animation is stunning in its simplicity.