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DRAGONSLAYER, directed by Tristan Patterson, won the Grand Jury and Cinematography prizes for documentary at this year's SXSW film festival. Energetic and bathed in warm, golden light, the film underlines the perils and contradictions of a skateboarder's descent into adulthood when it's not effervescently watching its subject ply his craft in the empty swimming pools of foreclosed homes in Orange County.

FAKE IT SO REAL, Robert Greene's winning follow-up to the wonderful Kati with an I, concerns itself with the image-making and fraternal joshing of a group of amateur wrestlers in North Carolina. A memorable cast of characters is headlined by the new guy, Gabe, whose hilarious attempts to create a winning stage persona manage to become the film's emotional core.

Seven years in, the Camden International Film Festival has triumphantly subverted its slogan, "Small towns, big films." This weekend's films are smaller than ever, but they make the festival feel a whole lot bigger.

Christopher Gray can be reached atchristopher.ellis.gray@gmail.com.

CAMDEN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL | Sep 29-Oct 2 | at locations in Camden, Rockland, and Rockport | individual screenings $8.50, festival passes $75-125 | camdenfilmfest.org

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ARTICLES BY CHRISTOPHER GRAY
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  •   GIRLS (AND BOYS) ON FILM  |  July 11, 2014
    The Maine International Film Festival, now in its 17th year in Waterville, remains one of the region’s more ambitious cultural institutions, less bound by a singular ambition than a desire to convey the breadth and depth of cinema’s past and present. (This, and a healthy dose of music and human-interest documentaries.) On that account, MIFF ’14 is an impressive achievement, offering area filmgoers its best program in years. With so much to survey, let’s make haste with the recommendations. (Particularly emphatic suggestions are marked in bold print.)  
  •   AMERICAN VALUES  |  June 11, 2014
    The Immigrant  seamlessly folds elements of New York history and the American promise into a story about the varieties of captivity and loyalty.
  •   CHARACTER IS POLITICAL  |  April 10, 2014
    Kelly Reichardt, one of the most admired and resourceful voices in American independent cinema, appears at the Portland Museum of Art Friday night to participate in a weekend-long retrospective of her three most recent films.
  •   LET'S TALK ABOUT SEX  |  April 09, 2014
    Throughout its two volumes and four hours of explicit sexuality, masochism, philosophical debate, and self-analysis, Nymphomaniac remains the steadfast vision of a director talking to himself, and assuming you’ll be interested enough in him to listen and pay close attention.
  •   ASHES AND DIORAMAS  |  March 28, 2014
    History, rather than ennui, is the incursion that motivates this, his most antic and most somber work.

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