Editor's note: This year's Starz Denver Film Festival, November 12-22, features more than 200 films. To help navigate this cinematic abundance of riches, we asked fest artistic director Brit Withey to highlight some worthy selections off the beaten screening-room path. Look for Brit's Picks each weekday through the extravaganza's close.
Russian animator Andrey Khrzhanovsky waited quite a while to make his feature-film debut, A Room and a Half, or a Sentimental Journey to the Homeland, screening today at 4 p.m. and 6:40 p.m. at the Starz FilmCenter. After all, he's 69-years old. But Brit Withey feels it was worth the wait. His two word synopsis of this initial effort: "It's amazing."
The subject of the film is poet Joseph Brodsky, who was exiled to the United States circa 1972. Director Khrzhanovsky imagines him traveling back to his homeland by boat as he reflects on his life. "We flash back to when he was a little boy in the early 1900s, and follow him as Russia becomes the Soviet Union and all the way until he comes to America," Withey says.
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In telling this story, Khrzhanovsky "uses all sorts of different techniques," Withey continues. "He plugs in actual footage from World War I as well as different styles of animation, lots of classical music and archival photographs. I'd never seen anything quite like it before."
The 6:45 p.m. screening is officially sold out, but some rush tickets may be available an hour before showtime -- and there are still seats available at 4 p.m. at this writing. To get a flavor of what you'll see, check out the trailer below. It's in Russian sans subtitles -- but the visuals speak persuasively.