"The Art of Self-Defense"
Written and directed by the Pflugerville-raised Riley Stearns, the black comedy The Art of Self-Defense finds Jesse Eisenberg’s mild-mannered Casey Davies undergoing an existential crisis as a result of suffering from a severe beating. Grappling with questions about his manhood, Casey enrolls in a karate class with the hope that possessing martial arts skills won’t just allow him to better protect himself against another attack but to imbue him with the confidence that he believes he needs as a man. The class is taught by Alessandro Nivola’s Sensei, whose interest in Casey’s self-improvement extends beyond teaching him self-defense. The cast also includes Imogen Poots and the Austin-based David Zellner as veteran karate students. The Art of Self-Defense premiered locally during this year’s SXSW Film Festival and opened July 12 in Austin. Riley Stearns, who holds the rank of purple belt in jiu-jitsu, will participate in post-screening Q&As after the 3:45 p.m. and 7 p.m. July 20 and 3:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. July 21 screenings at the Alamo South Lamar. Riley Stearns previously directed the 2014 drama Faults.
Aired: July 18, 2019