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Wednesday Highlights At Turks and Caicos FF

The Music of Raoul Midon

Thursday, October 19----As the Turks and Caicos International Film Festival moved into high gear, a number of provocative and controversial films were unspooled on Wednesday, along with some special events that have already made the event memorable for its core of attendees.

The difficult road for black rock-n-rollers is explored in the dynamic feature documentary ELECTRIC PURGATORY, directed by Raymond Gayle. Featuring early clips from such pioneer rockers as Little Richard, Jimi Hendrix and Rick James, the film explores the challenges of contemporary black musicians who favor the rock and heavy metal format as their means of expression, and fly in the face of black music stereotypes that restrict big label interest to rhythm and blues and hip-hop. More on this provocative film in tomorrow's report.

Little Richard

Controversy also swirls around the film DIXIE CHICKS--SHUT UP AND SING. The film, directed by two time Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple, follows the careers of the country/western superstars in the aftermath of a firestorm of controversy following lead singer Natalie Maine's anti-Bush remarks at a London concert in 2003. The group's return to form as well as their interest in breaking the mold of traditional country/western are explored in this sonorous film, which is being talked about as a leading contender for a Best Documentary Oscar next year.

The Dixie Chicks In Concert

Another film that melds music and politics is JERICHO'S ECHO, an eye-opening look at the vibrant punk rock culture in Israel, directed by Liz Nord. Rebellious Israeli youth have taken up both punk rock music and its hair and clothes fashion as a way of expressing their disgust with the politics of the region and to advocate a complete re-thinking of the traditional ways of relating to their Arab neighbors. Through interviews with leading punk rockers, verite scenes and live musical concerts, these outspoken rebels reveal the undercurrent of political and social disaffection with the troubles of the most politically troubled region in the world.

Israeli Punk in JERICHO'S ECHO

A special treat was a rare screening of TUPAC: RESURRECTION, an engaging profile of the proto hip hop performer/actor Tupac Shakur, who will be honored with a special tribute this Saturday evening for his influence and enduring legacy as a music pioneer and a musician who made the rare cross-over into film acting.

Tupac Shakur

Festivalgoers were treated to a live concert of up-and-coming recording artist Raul Midon, who combines classic soul, confessional folk music and modern rhythms to create a poetic meditation on what it is like to be living in our age of anxiety. His songs about love and hope are not sentimental fluff, but serve as a life raft for sanctifying the sheer beauty of being alive. Midon has been compared to such seminal artists as Donnie Hathaway, Stevie Wonder and even Bob Dylan...a singer/songwriter with a message that rings as true and beautiful as his falsetto voice.

Raoul Midon

The evening concluded with an on-the-beach screening of the Mexican romantic drama SEA OF DREAMS, starring Jonathan Schaech, Seymour Cassell, Nicholas Gonzalezand Sonia Braga. The film, which takes place in a small seaside village where superstition and mysticism are still vibrantly alive in the local culture, is a beautiful set piece in the tradition of Latin "mystical realism" literature in the books of such writers as Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The act of seeing a film that is so intoxicated with the sea, while sitting on the beach and hearing the crashing of waves, was a rare treat.

SEA OF DREAMS


Sandy Mandelberger
Festivals Editor

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Online Dailies coverage of the 3rd Turks and Caicos International Film Festival, October 16 to 21, 2007

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