Chronicle Recommends: SXSW Films

The best of the fest

Every month, the Chronicle’s film critics select a theme and offer movie recommendations. The 2015 SXSW Film Festival is busy chewing at our synapses, but the wonderful overload got us daydreaming about some of our favorites from past SXSW fests.

The Loved Ones (SXSW 2010)

Following the tragic death of his father, Brent has turned sullen and suicidal. When shy girl Lola asks him to the high school dance, he politely declines. He soon learns that whatever Lola wants, Lola gets. Kidnapped by Lola’s dad, he awakes to find himself tied up and in for the worst night of his life. Combining elements from John Hughes, Misery, and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, this darkly comedic, audacious Aussie import boasts a terrific performance by Robin McLeavy as psychotic spoiled brat Lola, a killer soundtrack, and a demented tone that never lets up. – Josh Kupecki

Rhythm Thief (SXSW 1995)

Winner of the award for Best Dramatic Feature at the 1995 SXSW Film Festival, the look of this 16mm, black-and-white film is well-suited to the grimy, low-rent world of New York’s Lower East Side where it takes place. The film “carpes the hell out of its diem” is what I said in my original review, and I stand by that assessment of this story about a bootleg cassette dealer and the odd woman with writing on her body who comes to visit. – Marjorie Baumgarten

Six-String Samurai (SXSW 1998)

Lance Mungia’s post-apocalyptic, microbudget smashterpiece is a paean to nearly every road movie ever made. The film is rife with nods to everything from The Wizard of Oz to Chaplin’s The Kid, and Buddy Holly lookalike Jeffrey Falcon radiates chopsocky cool à la Lone Wolf and Cub – and even gets to kill Death. Endlessly quotable: “If I were you, I would run.” “If you were me, you’d be good-looking.’” – Marc Savlov

Weekend (SXSW 2011)

A world premiere at SXSW 2011, this British low-budget indie takes a low-stakes premise – two guys hook up, talk a lot – and turns it into a stirring and sensitively wrought romance for the ages. – Kimberley Jones

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