A friend from out of town asked me what exactly SXSW was. My best answer is that it is everything – as if people from every kind of media agreed to coalesce in Austin and one up each other every night. So far I’ve loved the films. I’ve seen six and the definite standouts are Sound of my Voice, Bellflower, and The Future.
Sound of my Voice was a character driven meditation on cults and our need for belief. Excellent writing and surprisingly good acting anchor this thought provoking film. Bellflower took some time to get off the ground, but when it did, it blew me away. About as creative a film as I’ve seen in a long time, Bellflower deals with how an obsession with the apocalypse shapes your emotional processing after a painful breakup. And long story short, I fucking loved it. The Future was another stunning relationship film, this time from director Miranda July. Using metaphors, surreal imagery, and a bit of performance art, The Future focuses on how we can sabotage ourselves with our fears of things to come. A three sentence description cannot suffice for this film so put on your thinking cap and go see it!
While there were no disappointing films, I’m ready for the music. Monday night I caught my first SXSW band showcase. Local Austin band Eastern Sea played a wonderful set at the Central Presbyterian Church. I don’t know if it was the ambiance of a beautiful chapel or just the welcome respite from 6th street, but this band was good. Tight musicianship, beautiful melodies, and they gave a shit. Eastern Sea should be playing 15 shows at SXSW (including 4 on Thursday!) so you have no excuse not to find them.