Tropic Sprockets / The 2017 Key West Film Festival

By Ian Brockway

There is something for all tastes in this year’s Key West Film Festival. It kicks off with fantasist Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water,”, starring Sally Hawkins and Michael Shannon, about interspecies attraction. Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) is always compelling and this is an odd love story sure to have Lovecraftian overtones.

Local favorite Quincy Perkins presents his dreamy, psychological feature “Love in Youth,” shot here entirely in Key West and starring local high school students Heather Devoe and Ricardo Montero.

In keeping with the setting of our beloved island there is the comedy drama “The Leisure Seeker” with Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland, about a light-hearted older couple wanting to take a road trip to Mile Zero and the Hemingway House.

Past KWFF visitors Alan Cumming and Burt Reynolds are both represented with their headlined films “After Louie” and “Dog Years” respectively.

If dark comedy is your thing there is the film “I, Tonya” about skater Tonya Harding by director Craig Gillespie and starring Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) playing against type in a feral performance.

The late and great actor Harry Dean Stanton gives his last preformances in “Lucky,” focusing on the quirky wisdom of an existentialist, directed by the actor John Carroll Lynch. It happens to co-star the Surrealist filmmaker David Lynch (Twin Peaks) an added draw sure to please many fans of the Twin Peaks TV series.

The uncompromising director Ruben Ostlund (Force Majeure) sends up the art world in “The Square,”, a film that promises to be as striking as his previous work.

This year as usual also highlights drama. Luca Guadagnino has another provoking entry about a visiting American student (Armie Hammer) casting a sensual yet troubling spell in a small Italian town.

“Last Flag Flying” details the struggle between friends in the armed forces starring Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell and Laurence Fishburne which is well directed by Richard Linklater.

Solid documentaries are to be found here too. Famed filmmaker Jeff Orlowski returns with “Chasing Coral” as does Jeffrey Schwarz (I Am Divine) with “The Fabulous Allan Carr” centering on the famed “Grease” producer. There is the intimate documentary “Quest” about the Raineys life from day, a black family living in Philadelphia, directed by Johnathan Olshefski.

In watching this festival, one is truly a cinematic traveller partaking in many landscapes, from the concrete to the spiritual. Cloaked in these lush projections you will never pine for the outside world, so come one, come all to this year’s Key West Film Festival and leave all mundane matters behind.