Synchronicity of timing and genre is on the side of the indie film Provinces of Night, directed by Shane Dax Taylor and based on the novel by William Gay, which just had its world premiere at SBIFF. While the menu of narrative elements include Southern Gothic lunacy and violence, tender teen romance, and savoring the look and feel of rural Tennessee, one notable sideline piece of the picture is the role of Kris Kristofferson as an elderly country singer come back home to lick wounds and pick his guitar on the porch. Hmm… can you say Crazy Heart? Could it be that a new, valid American cinematic vernacular, regarding life in the South, is making its way into Hollywood’s slick landscape?
Kristofferson wittily drawls — and occasionally sings — his way into our heart in the film, serving as a warm reminder of his great, stripped-down solo concert at the Granada only last month. In other country music news, Dwight Yoakam also shows up in the cast, minus guitars or Cadillacs, and brings back the dark energy he gave to Slingblade, but even darker. Val Kilmer is fittingly pudgy and sleazy as a Nashville bar owner, cruising for various bruising, as are other characters.
Peripheral notes from all over: Film festival goes need love and snacks, too, and this year’s snack of choice is Cranberry Raisinets (New!), being liberally handed out to patrons after they have sunk into existential torpor or feelgood bliss in a theater.
Festival goers also need coffee, of course. A great, locally owned and operated alternative to the Metro-handy McStarbux is the aptly-named Jitters, a block up State. This is a prized java outlet, by whatever name or ownership. Most importantly, they offer a discount to film festival people and have free WIFI (unlike McStarbux). Another new contender for fast, cheap food (and free wifi!) is the new Chino’s Rock & Tacos, a block away from the Metro home base.