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Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation

For more than forty years, these two giants of American literature goaded and supported one another in the agonizing quest to turn life into art.”

A new documentary profiles two literary giants and their lifelong friendship. Directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland, Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation is comprised of archival footage and photographs and personal letters and writings by the two authors about themselves and each other. Jim Parsons narrates as Truman Capote and Zachary Quinto as Tennessee Williams. The biggest takeaways were how these two gay icons saw themselves in relation to their sexuality, how they handled their celebrity and the adaptations of their stories to film. It’s a straight-forward documentary, simply told, and an interesting watch for anyone who enjoys learning about literary world.

Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation is distributed by Kino Lorber. It’s available on DVD and to rent on demand, including Kino Now.

Never Gonna Snow Again

Zhenia (Alec Utgoff), a survivor of the Chernobyl disaster, is a masseuse with almost magical abilities. He can move objects telekinetically, is proficient in hypnosis and his hands can either heal his clients or kill them. Zhenia travels to a large Polish city where he finagles a resident permit and offers his massage services to those living in an upscale gated community. The wealthy residents live sad existences in their generic and cookie cutter community. They’re plagued by broken marriages, insolent children and sheer boredom. Zhenia mesmerizes his new clientele. He’s handsome, mysterious, patient and a perhaps a little radioactive.

Written and directed by Malgorzata Szumowska and Michal Englert, Never Gonna Snow Again/Sniegu juz nigdy nie bedzie is a hypnotic and mysterious drama that gently touches upon some big themes. These include anti-immigrant sentiment, prejudice,  income inequality and global warming. Utgoff delivers a solid performance as the elusive Zhenia. The film offers moments of stunning cinematography and is light on the fantastical elements. It can be a bit difficult to follow or to understand the main character’s motivations. Watching Never Gonna Snow Again is like taking a ride down a gentle stream. There’s no rush to get anywhere. Just enjoy the ride.

Fans of Stranger Things will recognize Alec Utgoff who plays the lead role of Zhenia. Never Gonna Snow Again was Poland’s submission to the 93rd Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film.

Never Gonna Snow Again is distributed by Kino Lorber and opens in theaters and virtual cinemas on July 30th. Visit Kino Marquee for more details.

Out of My Head

Migraines are not created equal. Everyone has a different experience with them; all traumatic, all painful, but very different. A severe headache is only one aspect of the condition. Some suffer nausea, sensitivity to light, indigestion and fatigue. Others have slurred speech, partial paralysis, vision disturbances and even temporary blindness. Migraines are debilitating. To those who have never suffered from them, they cannot fully appreciate how one can take their target prisoner and make their life a living hell. Migraines are triggered by many things. Sometimes it’s food, smells, stress, anxiety, or emotional trauma. Sometimes it’s completely unpredictable and strikes at the worst times. 

I’ve suffered migraines for well over a decade. During a migraine attack I get a pain so severe that it feels like someone stabbed me in the head. My migraines come with a flare up of IBS, a feeling of disorientation and often lack of concentration and sometimes coordination. Painkillers dull the experience but no longer make it go away. After years of trying to pinpoint my triggers I recently discovered that it’s anxiety. As soon as I went on anxiety medication for another condition (undiagnosed severe physical anxiety) my migraines have for the most part gone away. The medication seems to calm the chaos in my brain that triggers these episodes. But I’m just one case. Every migraine sufferer has a different story to tell. And one film gives them a platform to share their pain.

Written and directed by Susanna Styron and produced by Jacki Ochs, Out of My Head helps migraine sufferers feel validation for their condition and helps legitimize their experience to those who cannot fully comprehend the pain their loved ones are going through.

Styron’s daughter Emma suffers from migraines that cause temporary blindness. She was inspired to make this documentary not only to tell the her daughter’s story but also to shed some light on this mysterious and often misunderstood condition. The film includes extensive interviews with a variety of subjects including real migraine sufferers, doctors, professors, sociologists and headache specialists. Interwoven throughout the documentary are animated sequences that follow Emma on her migraine journey.

Every aspect of the migraine is explored from the scientific, to the sociological to the personal. Migraines disproportionately affect women. 75% of migraine sufferers are female. It can strike at a young age with a different presentation of symptoms. It can be hereditary. And by and large, it is highly misunderstood. 

Out of My Head cracks open the mystery behind migraines and gives those with this condition a voice. The biggest takeaway from this film is that migraines need to be taken seriously.

Watch it. Share it. Out of My Head is an important documentary.

Out of My Head will be available on DVD and video on demand through Kino Lorber on June 9th.

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