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Orlando Weekly's guide to the 2013 Florida Film Festival

Central Florida’s annual festival of film and food returns for its 22nd year

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Lee Jung-jin plays Lee Kang-do, a monster of a man who loans money to poor machinists, charges astronomical interest and then, if they can’t pay, tortures them with their own machinery so he can collect their insurance. The borrowers understand their situation all too well, and some are even tragically resigned to their fate. (“Make me a cripple,” one man begs Lee, so he can share in the insurance claim.)

Yet Lee’s unbearably bleak outlook on life changes when a mysterious woman (the brilliant Jo Min-su) shows up on his doorstep, claiming to be his long-lost mother.

Pietà won the top prize at last year’s Venice Film Festival, and though some audience members walked out in disgust, as they surely will do in Orlando, the Florida Film Festival deserves credit for scheduling this one. Love them or hate them, movies like this prove that this event is culturally relevant. As festival president Henry Maldonado says, “There may have been a time in which [we] said we’re the Florida Film Festival, and they would have said, ‘That’s in Miami, right?’ Not anymore.” – CM

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PRIDE AND JOY

★★★★

Since 1999, the Southern Foodways Alliance at Ole Miss has studied, recorded and celebrated the native eating and cooking habits of the South. Since 2005, Joe York has been making short films for the SFA, documenting the people and places vital to those heritage foodways, and since 2007, film festivalgoers have borne witness to the true roots of hot chicken, boiled peanuts, sweet-potato pie and barbecue, barbecue, barbecue.

While once I was enthralled by York’s SFA films, I began to tire of the soul food roll call, the BBQ fetishists and biscuit connoisseurs, but this was just an occupational hazard. Pride and Joy collects many of those SFA films into a “feature,” and if you haven’t been inundated with this stuff, it’s charming, especially the way each segment leads into the next, seemingly authentically by chance – the peach-farmer lady mentions boiled peanuts, the boiled-peanut fanatics call them “Southern caviar,” the paddlefish caviar producer admits he’d rather eat a fried catfish sandwich, and so on. In a completely natural and unforced way, each interview builds on the others and reinforces the idea that Southern heritage is a tightly sewn crazy quilt, each scrap unique but bound snugly to its neighbors, and the whole is more than a sum of parts.

Interviews include an oysterman, a beekeeper, a tomato farmer, a country ham producer, a bourbon distiller, a pie baker, a buttermilk dairyman, a Georgia cattleman and many more, 24 in all. Notable and purely entertaining: Several of these people are just stone crazy. Especially that
buttermilk guy.

Speaking of stone crazy, meet Pierre Faucher, the proprietor of Sucrerie de la Montagne. The Quebecois maple-sugar producer is the subject of Sugar Shack, an enticingly oddball 13-minute doc made by Brooklyn arts collective the Goddamn Cobras, which will precede the Saturday screening of Pride and Joy. – JBY

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