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My Top Five is a series of WHQR staff blogs that lists some of our favorite (or least favorite) odds and ends. Topics vary from music, to local life, to history, and to whatever else might catch our attention. Keep your eye out for some interesting stuff from our staff!

My Top Five - Cucalorus features to check out this year

It’s that most wonderful time of the year in Wilmington -- the week of the Cucalorus Film Festival. This is only the second time I’ve been around for it, but if it’s like last year’s, it will involve more films than one two-eyed human can possibly absorb, fun parties, and very high-quality people watching.

I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time reading about and watching trailers for the narrative and documentary features, so if you find yourself staring at the colorful but slightly dizziness-inducing print schedule in a state of mystification (what’s a Tanjelly again?), consider checking out the five  full-length films I’m most excited to see: 

1. Holy Motors --  With its visually arresting trailer, plot that defies narrative convention, and shape-shifting lead actor Denis Lavant looking at times like a miniature Klaus Kinski but even more insane, no wonder that this film is one of the top billed features of the festival. It promises to be spectacular, in the most literal sense of the word. 

Thursday, 11/8,  1:00pm, Thalian Main
Friday, 11/9, 10:00pm, Thalian Main


2. Kingdom of Animal -- Having considered the lobster, now let us observe his fate and that of the humans who process him for consumption: this one-shot documentary explores the sensory world of seafood factory workers in coastal Maine.  Based on the trailer, it’s not going to leave you craving a lobster roll, but it might leave you with a better understanding of where your food comes from. 

Sunday, 11/11, 7:30pm, Jengo’s Playhouse


3. Tchoupitoulas -- Produced by some of the same folks that brought us the popular Cinematique feature Beasts of the Southern Wild, this documentary immerses us in the nightlife of that ever-fascinating, utterly unique American city, New Orleans, LA.  Worth checking out for the music alone.

Thursday, 11/8, 10:45am, Jengo’s Playhouse


4.  Dead Man’s Burden -- As a fan of the short-lived HBO series Deadwood and 2010’s Meek’s Cutoff, this Western with a strong female lead character is pretty much a no-brainer for me. If there’s a lady in a prairie dress with a shotgun, I’m there.

Thursday 11/8, 7:30pm, Thalian Black (Studio Theater)


5. Casting By --There’s currently a Non-Union Talent Voucher from Central Casting up on the fridge in my home (you may see my husband in the background of that new Lifetime show about witches), so I have a rather personal interest in checking out this doc about groundbreaking casting director  Marion Dougherty. Can you imagine American cinema without Al Pacino, Gene Hackman, Christopher Walken, or Glenn Close? Me neither.

Friday, 11/9, 7:00pm, Thalian Main
Sunday, 11/11, 1:15pm, Thalian Main


A Raleigh native, Michelle Crouch got her first taste of non-commercial radio at Swarthmore College's station as an undergraduate. She returned to North Carolina in 2011 to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing at UNC Wilmington, where she also works as a graduate teaching assistant.