By Sean Boelman
In 2022, SXSW resumed its in-portion activities with a hybrid festival and conference that welcomed cinephiles back to Austin for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. However, that was just a splash in the bucket compared to what SXSW has in store for 2023, with a lineup that features some of the most exciting films from the rest of this year.
After covering the festival remotely for the past few years, we at disappointment media are excited to be again covering the festival from the ground this year for the first time since 2019! In advance of the festival, we have gotten the opportunity to screen a handful of the titles playing in the lineup, and here are some of the films we think you should keep an eye on:
The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster
Bomani J. Story’s The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster certainly lives up to the anger in its title. It is a candidate for the most politically-charged film in this year’s lineup, and while it can be a bit on the messy side, its palpable anger when it comes to hard-hitting political issues really makes it stand out. It’s a nice little genre film — a riff on the Frankenstein tropes — that opens the door for a bright future of these Crypt TV feature films.
Confessions of a Good Samaritan
This year’s SXSW lineup is highlighted by new documentaries from some of the greatest nonfiction filmmakers working today — Sam Pollard, Jimmy Chin and Elisabeth Chai Vaysareli, Dawn Porter, and Penny Lane. Lane’s film, Confessions of a Good Samaritan, is a shining spot in her already amazing filmography. A personal dive into her decision and journey to become an altruistic kidney donor, the film contains plenty of both the probing questions and humor for which Lane’s films have come to be known.
Chronicles of a Wandering Saint
Tomás Gómez Bustillo’s Chronicles of a Wandering Saint starts out with a relatively straightforward narrative that feels like a pretty standard domestic drama, then something happens around the thirty minute mark that changes the entire course of the film. It ends up being one of the most creative, visionary works of cinema that you will see at SXSW this year, with plenty of the weird genre flair that defines the festival.
The immediate reaction you may have to Story Ave will likely be that it’s very Spike Lee-esque. It’s an easy comparison given the thematic and stylistic similarities — it even contains one of Lee’s iconic double-dolly shots early on. But there’s something so undeniably personal about Aristotle Torres’s directorial debut that it can be forgiven for its occasionally heavy use of homages. And the lead duo, Asante Blackk and Luis Guzmán, deliver some of the best performances you will see at the festival.
The Wrath of Becky
Watching the 2020 film Becky, you likely never thought that it would be a candidate to receive a sequel. But here we are, three years later, and we’re getting a follow-up in the form of The Wrath of Becky. Of course, being a sequel, it’s only natural that this film goes even bigger (and better) with its massacre of white supremacists. It’s the type of bonkers, balls-to-the-wall genre cinema that fans love the SXSW Midnighters section for.
The 2023 SXSW Film Festival runs March 10-18 in Austin, TX.
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The Snake Hole
Retrospectives, opinion pieces, awards commentary, personal essays, and any other type of article that isn't a traditional review or interview.