Dallas International Film Festival

Dallas International Film Festival

Western (10 p.m. Wed., 7:45 p.m. Thurs., Angelika Dallas)

The filmmaking brothers Bill and Turner Ross practice a form of Direct Cinema, the fly-on-the-wall school of documentary popularized by the likes of the late Albert Maysles. But their work is more lyrical than most of their forebears: Some of the shots in their latest film, Western, are majestically composed and gasp-worthy in their beauty.

This is a different kind of border story. Eagle Pass, Tex. and Piedras Negras, Mexico share an easy back-and-forth relationship of relative harmony. Eagle Pass' mayor, Chad Foster, is smooth in English and Spanish, a symbol of this border area's relaxed atmosphere. Then cartel violence begins to encroach. And suddenly, life is no longer so simple.

Western isn't a film of intense action; it settles into these two towns gradually and gets to know the people whose lives will upend in crucial ways. You leave with the feeling of having lived in the middle of a troubling transition, the passing of one way of life for another.

The Dallas International Film Festival runs April 9-22 at multiple venues (most screenings at the Angelika Dallas, 5321 East Mockingbird Lane, Suite 230, in Mockingbird Station). For information on schedule, tickets and passes visit dallasfilm.org.  

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