Ballast Screening Locations and Dates

THE NEW YORK TIMES
Manohla Dargis
“There isn’t much talk and not a drop of cynicism in “Ballast,” Lance Hammer’s austerely elegant, emotionally unadorned riff on life and death in the Mississippi Delta. Shot with a sure hand and a cast of unknowns, the film doesn’t so much tell a story as develop a tone and root around a place that, despite the intimate camerawork, remains shrouded in ambiguity.… It’s a serious achievement and a welcome sign of a newly invigorated American independent cinema.”
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CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
Roger Ebert
“4/4 Stars. "Ballast" inexorably grows and deepens and gathers power and absorbs us. I always say I hardly ever cry at sad films, but I sometimes do, just a little, at films about good people.”
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CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Michael Phillips
“4/4 Stars. I love "Ballast"... one of the few American pictures of 2008 to say what it wants to say, visually and narratively... Everything has its place in this small, sure wonder.”
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THE BOSTON GLOBE
Wesley Morris
“4/4 Stars. Magnificent... This is the most significant feature about poor black life since Charles Burnett's 1977 "Killer of Sheep."”
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LOS ANGELES TIMES
Kenneth Turan
“"Ballast" has the heft and substance its name implies. A double prize winner at Sundance, this austere, rigorous film has a sense of place, a feeling for reality so compelling it makes us feel like we're living it, not just watching on a screen. ”
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THE VILLAGE VOICE
Elena Oumano
“Remarkable, unfailingly intelligent... Unhurried rhythms and spare, beautifully composed shots infuse "Ballast" with the sweet, dark melancholy of a Delta blues.”
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ART FORUM
Amy Taubin
“Ballast is a highly sophisticated film (Hammer cites the works of the Dardenne brothers and Robert Bresson as models), but moment by moment it is such an organic expression of the Delta and the people who live there that it feels made up on the spot.”
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VARIETY
Robert Koehler
“An extraordinary debut... A film that operates by its principles and engages audiences' best human responses.”
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THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
Kirk Honeycutt
“An impressive and courageous filmmaking debut that screams Sundance for all the right reasons.”
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SCREEN INTERNATIONAL
David D'Arcy
“BALLAST reminds us that you can find poetry in the unlikeliest and the saddest of places... Lance Hammer has set the bar high.”
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ROLLING STONE
Peter Travers
“Poetic and profound... The one indisputably great film at Sundance '08.”
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ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
Owen Gleiberman
“It takes daring, as well as skill, to make a drama that allows the audience to get its bearings only gradually, and Ballast, written and directed by Lance Hammer, has the audacity and talent to render that process an arresting one. The film doesn't just bring three troubled, wayward characters in the Mississippi Delta to rich, gnarled, vivid life. It presents them as enigmas who come into focus moment by moment, scene by scene, and that journey of discovery forces us to cast away the clichés of race, poverty, and existence in the Deep South.”
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LA WEEKLY
Scott Foundas
“(FEATURE STORY) Delta Blues in Black and White: How Lance Hammer earned his beautiful new film Ballast”
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THE BOSTON GLOBE
Dennis Fisher
“(FEATURE STORY) Eschewing a script in work, life”
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THE NEW YORK TIMES
Dennis Lim
“(FEATURE STORY) Leaving Hollywood, Heading South, Bound for Indie”
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THE VILLAGE VOICE (01/21/08)
Scott Foundas
“A wholly original meditation on lost souls trying to gain a foothold in a bleak and treacherous landscape. It is, I think, the single most impressive feature to premiere at Sundance since "Half Nelson" in 2006, and the high-water mark by which all others in and out of this year's competition should be judged.”
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THE NEW REPUBLIC
Stanley Kaufman
“"Ballast", like every outstanding film, is something of a double experience. The drama holds us yet we are equally taken by Hammer’s vision and his ability to fulfill it.”
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INDIEWIRE
Anthony Kaufman
“Bracing... Remarkably sure-footed... A crystal clear humanist vision of broken-down people who find a semblance of stability in each other.”
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TIME OUT NY
David Fear
“A stunning piece of work...”
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REVERSE SHOT
Michael Koresky
“It’s this promise—of living without emotional paralysis despite financial struggle and loss—that makes Ballast such a wondrous, moving experience, and which Hammer details in a final shot so subtle and revelatory and yet so specifically attuned to these people’s daily experiences that it nearly doesn’t feel like a revelation at all.”
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THE SEATTLE TIMES
Jeff Shannon
SEATLLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
Sean Axmaker
“Touching and human, a small story of necessity and responsibility rousing defeated people that slowly unfolds and fills the film with the authenticity of its lives...Filled with the kinds of textures, and the kinds of lives, you don't get with the polish of Hollywood.”
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THE STRANGER
Charles Mudede
“The lack of a soundtrack (hiphop, blues, jazz) reveals the source of black music—the black voice itself. Often it’s hard to understand what is being said but the music of black English is heard and felt. Ballast is a powerful film.”
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THE NEW YORK SUN
S. James Snyder
THE NEW YORK SUN
Steve Dollar
“(FEATURE STORY) A Director Creates Ballast in His Soul”
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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Joe Morgenstern
“The story moves at the ambling pace of uncertain lives, a pace representing the filmmaker's trust that his audience will stay involved as several important events unfold. His trust is justified by his talent. This ostensibly simple film evokes whole lives in 96 minutes...”
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NEWCITY CHICAGO
Ray Pride
““Ballast,” is told in the most urgent and emphatic fashion, breathless yet hushed and gentle with a level of filmmaking skill that makes the head spin from its first few cuts.”
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PHILADELPHIA CITY PAPER
Sam Adams
“Ballast is a quiet, delicately beautiful work, an assured debut that handily skirts the pitfalls of neo-neorealism. The movie's characters aren't specimens, or representatives, but distinct and complicated individuals whose shortcomings are outweighed by their generosity of spirit. They give back to each other, and Ballast gives back to us.”
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BALTIMORE CITY PAPER
Violet Glaze
“Blockbusters full of juicy bosoms and car explosions don't speed by as quickly or hold the eye as completely as this empathic, wise, and deeply profound movie does.”
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MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL
Duane Dudek
“Has the sparse purity of barren trees and the brutal intimacy of a broken vow.”
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FILM THREAT
Jeremy C. Fox
“What they produced is something that is true not just to this place or to these people's lives, or to the lives of poor people or black people, but to the experience of being human.”
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AIN'T IT COOL NEWS
Capone
“Nothing quite prepared me for the soulful power of "Ballast"...”
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SPOUT
Karina Longworth
“Like every shot in Lance Hammer’s feature directorial debut, it’s dead simple but beautifully composed, and it gets you by playing hard to get.”
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THE NEW YORK TIMES (09/07/08)
Manohla Dargis
HONOLULU WEEKLY
Ragnar Carlson
“The film evokes the best of Terrence Malick from the first shot (of a young boy charging into a flock of geese), and the resemblance holds throughout— the effect is not so much homage as the sense that Hammer is Malick’s heir. Every word of dialogue feels freighted with nuance here, every footfall and distant barking dog loaded with uncanny power.”
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