The Girl Olive Films Heartbreaker IFC Films A film about a child that is not intended to charm us is brave. The Girl, from Sweden, scorns the idea of charm and bravely concentrates on the life of a nine-year-old simply as a life. (We don’t even learn her name.) We are left at the end with a sense of experience, not some sort of benevolence. She is the daughter of a young couple who live in a pleasant country house. They do a sort of social work and are off to Africa on a mission with their daughter. In fact, the first thing we see is the girl getting a vaccination.
In 2004, a Harvard undergraduate got an idea (yes, that is ambiguous) for a new kind of social network. Here’s the important point: He built it. He had a bunch of extremely clever clues for opening up a social space that every kid (anyone younger than I am) would love. He architected that social space around the social life of the kids he knew. And he worked ferociously hard to make sure the system was stable and functioning at all times. The undergraduate then spread it to other schools, then other communities, and now to anyone.
Lebanon Sony Pictures Classics Around a Small Mountain Cinema Guild It took Samuel Maoz more than twenty years, he says, to write Lebanon. In June 1982 he was a tank commander in the division of the Israel Defense Forces that invaded Lebanon. In 1987 he went to film school in Israel and became a writer-director. In 2007 he decided to write about his war experiences. In a press comment he notes: “My memory of the events themselves had become dim and blurred....
The Sicilian Girl Music Box Films Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child Arthouse Films Long ago it expanded into other places, but to think of the Mafia is to think first of Sicily. Partly, of course, this is because of the many films about the Sicilian Mafia, so many that they constitute a genre, and none of which, as far as I have seen, has been less than good. Now comes The Sicilian Girl, which sustains the genre in expected and unusual ways. The expected ways, shamefully gripping, are, as always, the threats and businesslike killing.
There are plenty of moments in its 150 minutes when Inception is flying in mid-air, uncertain whether there is a safety net or a parachute of coherent plot to explain its entire exhilarating enterprise. Don’t ask to have its theory of dreaming spelled out in foolproof detail, just know that the age-old love affair between dreaming and the movies has been reasserted. Above all, treasure the film’s serene lack of exhausting violence or ingenious cruelty.
I Was Born, But... (IFC Center)Wild Grass (Sony Pictures Classics)Alamar (Film Movement) A smart distributor, on whom be peace, has decided to give a theatrical premiere to an early film by Yasujiro Ozu. This is good news, not just because the film itself—I Was Born, But...—is endearing but because it draws further attention to this Japanese master. Much of Ozu is available on DVD, including this film, but more theatrical recognition may increase this country’s care for a wonderful artist. Ozu (1903–1963) began to direct in 1927 and made a total of fifty-four features.
Restrepo National Geographic Entertainment Human Rights Watch International Film Festival Let It Rain IFC Films “War is hell.” General Sherman’s three-word definition has never been surpassed. He meant to dispel prevalent notions about glory, which he called moonshine. Factual knowledge, he apparently thought, would diminish war. The still camera had already started to support him; now there are also film and video.