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.
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.
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.