Five Film Favorites: My recommendations for the 18th James River Film Festival

There is simply too much good stuff at this year’s James River Film Festival to go and see.  Even if life did not encumber me with jobs, responsibilities, children, Tae Kwon Do lessons, birthday parties at Inflation Nation, and many other tasks, I do not know if I would be able to digest all the wonderful cinema.  But like Mr. Creosote, the gluttonous customer in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, I will certainly try.  Here is what I will try to eat up through this weekend and next week.

The Night of the Hunter with Peter Schilling:  This will be on most of the writers’ lists, as well it should be.  I will have something up on Robert Mitchum later this weekend, but he is just one of many reasons to see the film.

Mix-up ou Meli-melo with Jonathan Rosenbaum: The film sounds fascinating.  Yet I am equally as excited to see Jonathan Rosenbaum.  During my grad school years in Chicago, I would anxiously await the Chicago Reader, Chicago’s terrific free weekly alt-newspaper, to be dropped off on Friday afternoons.  Rosenbaum’s movie reviews were one of the first things I would read.  And while I would on more than one occasion disagree with the final verdict, I always enjoyed his writing, which was accessible and deeply critical.


Modern Times: As a lover of silent films, it is always a treat to see one on a large screen.  I will be re-examining the film for connections or references to Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, which, like Modern Times, attempts to deal with the outcomes of modernism.

Dracula (Spanish language version) with Gary Lucas: I love live musical accompaniment.  Guitar accompaniment will be  first for me.  And I am predisposed to vampire films that do not possess the Twilight tabloid teenagers. 

New Jerusalem:  I have heard only tremendous things about this film.  I am a fan of Will Oldham and any director who does drywall work in Ward’s kitchen.


About Todd Hunter Starkweather

Todd Starkweather is an Assistant Professor of English at South University-Richmond. He has a PhD in English Literature from the University of Illinois-Chicago; his interests include film, Victorian studies, sport, and post-colonialism.
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