By Roger Costa
A beautifully observed coming of age story balancing between the fragility and empowerment of a 14-year-old girl dealing with hormonal self-conflicts, Lucia Garibaldi’s feature debut is a delicate look at a deflowering experience. In a suspenseful, mysterious and inclusive atmosphere, the director crafts a unique teen love story using Nature (the ocean, the sharks, the forest, daylight, darkness) as metaphor for emotional transitions. When the residents of a seaside remote village prepare for a possible shark invasion in their waters, Rosina finds opportunity to minimize the heartache caused by a failed romantic affair, possibly seeking to avenge her suffering. The crescendo desire, the disruptions with her sister, as well as her active routine of landscaping labor, are displayed as important keys to understand Rosina’s character and reactions. Subtly erotic, enigmatic and delivering a complex, courageous performance by newcomer Romina Bentancur in the leading role, Garibaldi is certainly a promising filmmaker.
(Breaking Glass Pictures. 4/14 on VOD.)
A WHITE, WHITE DAY
Iceland’s official entry for the 2020 Oscar’s Best International Film, writer-director Hlynur Palmason’s suspenseful drama depicts the effects of doubt and silent anger of a widower obsessed with the idea his late wife was having an affair. Winner of the Cannes’ Rising Star Award, it’s set amidst a foggy, remote area, creating a claustrophobic atmosphere, a permanent sense of unknown. The film centers on the police chief’s tender, yet tense relationship to his granddaughter, while crafting a stylish Gothic puzzle about fidelity and principles. A constant place of transition and mystery, quiet and threatening at equal levels, the road becomes a character, reflecting the film’s enigmatic meditation on memory, guilty, and loss, as the protagonist runs against time and self strength to find relief for his consciousness. Gorgeously shot and profound, it’s a hauntingly unique experience about an inner investigation on loyalty.
(Film Movement. 4/17 on VOD.)
Outrageously funny and smart, actor-turned-writer-director Mike Doyle’s debut is a celebration of love, friendship and urban vibes in the digital era. It gathers a clan of hipsters, horny and soulmate-seeking folks as they merge in the big city, sharing adventures, secrets, intimacy and personal crisis. A gay couple in conflict with their different social status, a teacher involved with her 17-year-old student, a lonely 30-something lady attracted to a sexy homeless man, an art-dealer in a multi-racial relationship and other eccentric figures populated the film’s world. A stellar cast delivers fine performances, including Scott Evans, Kate Walsh, Zoe Chao and Oscar-nominee Patricia Clarkson. A timely comedy of manners, beautifully connecting art to the process of finding love in the Big Apple, it’s a modern, crowd-pleasing romantic experience.
(Vertical Entertainment. 4/14 on VOD.)
Filmmaker Nanni Moretti recounts the 1973 coup d’état in Chile, which put an end to Salvador Allende’s democratic government and initiated the Pinochet’s dictatorial era. With focus on the efforts made by the embassy of Italy in Santiago in helping the opposers of the regime, and the process of extradition, Moretti conceives an insightful, precise and shocking account on the most critical political battles of the last century. With revelations and emotional testimonies of folks who lived those experiences, the film paints an accurate canvas of social and political crisis in the name of democracy.
(Distrib Films. Now Streaming Exclusively via Film At Lincoln Center. Go to https://www.filmlinc.org/films/santiago-italia/ for details and access.)