DV or Not DV?

That was the question at the South by Southwest Film Festival, where digital video reigned and good ol' film went south

Still, while there were fewer good films at this year's SXSWFF than at the last, there were far more great ones. Lukas Moodysson's funny, moving followup to Show Me Love, Together (which screens April 7 at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival), kicked off a stellar Saturday lineup that also included Christopher Nolan's mind-bending Memento and the cleverly creepy distaff teen-wolf flick Ginger Snaps, brought to the screen by Canadian director John Fawcett with all the angst-ridden bite of a choice Buffy episode.

The last film: Old technologies meet once more in Doug Pray's Scratch
The last film: Old technologies meet once more in Doug Pray's Scratch

Other gems included the Oscar-nominated Mexican film Amores Perros, a somewhat thin but tense and thoughtful urban-malaise triptych (call it Pulp Ficción); and the Eighties throwback Super Troopers, a frequently side-splitting slacker-cops comedy written and performed by the bicoastal Broken Lizard improv troupe (Puddle Cruiser), channeling the too-smart-to-care ethos of Bill Murray and Chevy Chase circa 1981. Also noteworthy were two more documentaries: the simplistic but somehow exciting study of small-town high school football, Go Tigers!; and director Alan Berliner's hourlong think piece The Sweetest Sound. The latter covers Berliner's attempt to gather all his namesakes worldwide (including his French filmmaking counterpart, Alain Berliner, who made Ma vie en rose) for a discussion of whether sharing a name diminishes each man's individuality. Taken with Memento and Richard Linklater's digitally animated Waking Life, the philosophical interrogation of The Sweetest Sound demonstrates that 2001 may be a good year for filmgoers who like to have their heads messed with--and who like to leave a theater talking about something other than media formats.

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