When: Thu., April 8, 8 p.m. 2010
Ah, springtime in Durham: Time to get the summer tomatoes in, admire the wisteria and loiter on the Durham Convention Center plaza between documentary films. Full Frame is back for its 13th season, and Thursday gets off to a strong start with several of the festival's best offerings. The opening night film, Kings of Pastry, is the latest from D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, and it's a treat. For the first time ever, cameras were allowed to record the prestigious "Meilleur Ouvrier de France" competition, which crowns the greatest pastry chefs in France (or Luxembourg or Chicago, as it happens). As the film reveals, the sculptural potential of blown and pulled sugar is honestly shocking, and the chefs bring such passion to their work, it's impossible not to get caught up in the competition. Or to jones for a cream puff (note to the Daisy Cakes people: You might want to park your cupcake truck near the convention center sometime around, oh, 9:30 p.m.).
With more than 100 films to screen in four days, there's hardly a soft spot in the schedule. Call in sick today and catch Last Train Home, about the tide of Chinese workers who return from factory jobs to their homes in the countryside each year for the holidays; Enemies of the People, in which a dogged Cambodian reporter tries to uncover the full story behind the Khmer Rouge's mass killings; or Thunder Soul, the story of a music teacher in Houston who turned the idea of a high school jazz band on its ear in the '60s and '70s. Or stay up late for The Thorn in the Heart, a promising stab at documentary by cine-provocateur Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).
All films are in the Carolina Theater or nearby environs. Screenings start at 10 a.m., and most tickets are $15 in advance, $10 during the festival. Kings of Pastry ($20 in advance, $15 day of) starts at 8 p.m. See fullframefest.org for schedules, tickets and more. —Marc Maximov
Price: $20 in advance, $15 day of