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Tallgrass series to air acclaimed documentary ‘The Imposter’

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, August 12, 2012, at 8:47 a.m.

The Tallgrass Film Association’s Third Thursdays film series resumes, with a screening of the acclaimed documentary “The Imposter.”

It screened at the Sundance and SXSW film festivals, and is centered on the disappearance of a 13-year-old Texas boy named Nicholas Barclay, who vanished without a trace.

Three and a half years later, staggering news arrives for the boy’s family: Nicholas has been found, thousands of miles from home in Spain, saying he survived a horrific ordeal of kidnapping and torture by shadowy captors.

His family is ecstatic. But once the boy returns to Texas, suspicion surrounds the person who claims to be Nicholas. How could the Barclays’ blond, blue-eyed son have returned with darker skin and eyes? How could his personality and even accent have changed so dramatically? Why does the family not seem to notice the glaring differences?

And if this person isn’t the Barclays’ missing child, then who is he? And what really happened to Nicholas?

Much like last year’s twisty breakout “reality film” “Catfish,” it sounds as if “Imposter” blends genres — the film’s press junket says that it blurs the line between true-crime documentary and stylish noir mystery. Either way, I’m intrigued.

The film will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Wichita Art Museum, 1400 W. Museum Blvd. Box office opens at 5.

The Muse Cafe at WAM will offer a dinner for movie-goers beginning at 5 p.m., by reservation only. All meals are guaranteed to be finished by 6:50. To make dinner reservations, call the Muse at 316-268-4973.

For more information on the film and to view a trailer, go to imposterfilm.com.

Short film screenings — Tallgrass and CreativeRush’s “Down to the Wire: A 24-Hour Film Race” competition concluded Saturday, and final judging of the short films happens Sunday.

The top 10 films will be screened at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Orpheum Theatre, 200 N. Broadway, with live critique by guest judges Wynn Ponder, Sarah Kallail and Peter Jasso. First-, second- and third-place films as well as an audience choice winner will be announced after the screenings.

The event is open to the public; admission is $3.

Find of the week — I recently stumbled onto a gem of a film that recalled some of my favorite filmmakers’ work. “Neon Flesh” reminded me of the style of Pedro Almodovar and Quentin Tarantino in a fierce, smoldering mash-up.

The Spanish film (with English subtitles), being released by the Tribeca Film Festival’s distribution wing, follows a young hustler-turned-businessman named Ricky, who hopes to earn his estranged mother’s respect by opening the brothel she always dreamed of (she’s a prostitute who is about to be released from a lengthy prison sentence).

The young man enlists the help of a dopey but brutish partner, but with the arrival of local mafia and other baddies, the guys soon find themselves in danger.

The film’s visual style is ultra cool and striking, and writer-director Paco Cabezas’ sizzling script is loaded with dark humor, oddball characters and lots of violence — yet, it somehow all comes off as charming, thanks to the performance of Mario Casas, who plays Ricky. We can see his conscience eat at him throughout the film, and it begins to consume him, because all he really wants is to be loved by his mother, who it turns out doesn’t remember him when she is released from prison because she has developed Alzheimer’s.

And that’s just one of the nice twists. There are lots more. The film is completely engrossing, but not for the faint of heart.

“Neon Flesh” is now out on DVD.

Reach Rod Pocowatchit at rpocowatchit@wichitaeagle.com.

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