Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

SIFF 2004 recap and reviews

"The best contemporary movies are coming from Asian countries."
— French master Patrice Leconte on the state of world cinema

"Wondrous Oblivion was in the Films 4 Families program. I don't think I'd call it a 'family film'. It was about an interracial friendship. I think a 'family film' is one where you take the kids or grandkids and don't have to answer a lot of questions after. I wouldn't take my eight-year-old grandson to see that."
Random Woman in queue at Pacific Place. The man to whom she was speaking looked extremely uncomfortable; Random Woman soon went back to thumbing through her Good Housekeeping magazine

"I just hope it doesn't bomb again."
Drew Barrymore, on the new Donnie Darko director's cut

"Maybe we have no concept of what young people will watch and understand…. The films I respond to usually aren't the ones marketed to me."
— Savvy young actress Jena Malone, on the state of American cinema

"Late in life I realized that masterpieces were interesting."
Patrice Leconte

"Government cheese."
Random Guy in queue at Pacific Place, after being asked by a member of the general public for the umpteenth time what we were standing in line for

"The MPAA is a fucking insidious group of people."
Bingham Ray (former head of United Artists and October Films) at a SIFF press/industry summit

"Excuse me."
Delroy Lindo, passing through a queue to reach a Pacific Place escalator

"That looks like the kind of stuff people buy and then keep in the cupboard five years and then throw away."
Random American Airhead, upon seeing a Nutella® slide ad prior to a screening

"It's not worth making movies if all they're about is banal reality."
Patrice Leconte

Film reviews {alpha below, max rating ****}:

Anatomy of Hell *
French provocatrix Catherine Breillat adapts her novel Pornocracy into an infuriating, practically unwatchable hardcore film in which a woman pays a gay hustler to confront his 'fears' about her body. Call me old-fashioned and label me unsophisticated, but I'm just not into garden equipment being inserted into bodily orifices, or lipstick being smeared on same orifices, or (especially) bloody tampons being steeped in a glass of water which is later drunk by the 'protagonists'. Truly hellish.

Arimpara ****
A middle-aged man named Krishnanunni (Nedumundi Venu) lives with his beautiful wife and inquisitive young son on his family's old farm in southern India. In the early, serene scenes of this marvelous and unforgettable film, he declines an opportunity to discard a violent symbol of his clan's destructive legacy. Later, when a mole he'd discovered on his chin has grown ridiculously large in size, he refuses modern medical treatment in favor of traditional folk remedies. By the end of the Kafkaesque yarn, said mole has assumed an unspeakably monstrous life of its own. (See what happens when we close ourselves to change?) Arimpara has shades of Satyajit Ray mysticism, and even a dash of David Cronenberg horror, but ultimately belongs to brilliant London-based director Murali Nair: his film is an allegorical masterwork that will haunt me always. And the concluding image of an elephant, to me at least, at this moment in history, suggests something altogether more sinister.

The Best of Youth ***
Made for — and censored from — Italian television, then given new life after its Cannes theatrical premiere last year, this is a sprawling 6-hour (!) account of an Italian family's ups and downs from the late 1960s to the near-present. An enormous achievement that's good, but not life-altering: like watching an entire season's worth of entertaining TV episodes in one butt-numbing sitting. Oh wait, that's pretty much what it is.
Golden Space Needle Awards: BEST DIRECTOR (Marco Tullio Giordana); First runner-up, Best Film

Born Into Brothels ***
Photographer / educator / filmmaker Zana Briski intervenes in the lives of a group of Calcutta children born to sex workers. (You can maybe imagine there's not an apple pie or white picket fence to be found.) Briski provides the young'uns with cameras and asks them to take photos of their daily lives: the results are often breathtakingly vibrant, sometimes heartbreaking, and always inspiring. A fascinating glimpse into a neglected world.
Golden Space Needle Award: BEST DOCUMENTARY

Bright Young Things ***
Entertaining satire with scathing glances at celebrity culture, youth-worship, the gays, and even a Jesus freak… set in 1930s Britain. Based on the Evelyn Waugh novel Vile Bodies and adapted by British performer Stephen Fry, the story follows a penniless novelist-turned-gossip columnist (Stephen Campbell Moore) intent upon marrying a vapid rich girl (ubiquitous Emily Mortimer) and dealing with the bright young vile bodies in their respective circles. Lots of fun, with incredible performances by Fenella Woolgar as a scalding A-lister and Peter O'Toole in a hysterical extended cameo as Mortimer's gruff old pop.

Buddy ***
Charming Norwegian crowd-pleaser about a hot guy (ridiculously full-lipped Nicolai Cleve Broch) whose video diaries become a popular reality segment on Oslo's TV2. He and his roommates (an irresponsible slacker and a neat-freak agoraphobic) become relatively famous, but at a price. It's a fun but simple story with likable characters whose confront-your-fears conflicts and love-triangle yarns have been told before. But Broch (a Scandinavian Zach Braff meets James Franco) is undeniably appealing.

Captive **½
Luminous beauty Bárbara Lombardo plays a middle-class 15-year-old who discovers that her birth parents were lefty activists who disappeared during Argentina's military dictato
rship of the '70s. Slow-paced political coming-of-age drama that could have been truly compelling with about thirty minutes shaven from its 2-hour runtime.

The Corporation ***½
Did you know that Coca-Cola® invented Fanta® orange soda exclusively for the Nazi German market? Or that Odwalla® was one of the biggest corporate criminals of the 1990s? Or that Nike®'s third-world workers earn 3/10ths of 1% of the retail price of goods they produce? Or that IBM® developed an early traffic management program to track prisoners in WWII concentration camps? This fascinating, chilling documentary examination of the concept of the corporation throughout recent history taught me all that and much more. Brilliant use of archival footage (news broadcasts, educational films, and corporate propaganda), a DSM-IV diagnostic checklist (the corporation, if viewed as a person, is a psychopath), and compelling interviews (with the likes of Michael Moore) make this sobering and entertaining film required viewing for anyone who gives a fuck about… well, anything.
Golden Space Needle Award: First runner-up, Best Documentary

Cowards Bend the Knee ****
Weird things happen in Guy Maddin's wonderful world: pickled hands turn blue, wax sculptures are fed regularly, spilled blood forms the shape of a maple leaf, and there's lots (lots!) of full-frontal male nudity. All that and more can be seen in this fantastic 2003 film, originally a 10-part art installation and now a complete piece of sublimely wacky cinemagic.
Full review by imaginary chapman boy

Criminal **½
Well-executed but rather pointless English-language remake of the far superior Argentinian flick Nine Queens.

Donau Duna Dunaj Dunav Dunarea **½
Oddly-titled and rather heavyhanded Austrian piece about the diverse passengers aboard a rust-bucket ship sailing down the Danube. Promising director Goran Rebic's film is lovely-looking and mercifully short, but ultimately too serious for its own good.

Doppelganger **½
The latest from Japanese psycho-thriller specialist Kiyoshi Kurosawa follows a talented inventor (Koji Yakusho) whose ambitions and stresses over his latest creation somehow bring forth his evil doppelganger. And all hell breaks loose. Good special effects and multi-screen visuals are well-utilized in a truly crazy movie that's sometimes engaging, rarely suspenseful, and ultimately ridiculous.

Evergreen **½
Harmless little local film (shot in Everett) about a white-trash single mom and her teen daughter (promising Addie Land), the latter of whom falls for a wealthy boy whose parents are Bruce Davison and always-cool Mary Kay Place. A dysfunctional PNW downer.

Facing Windows ****
Surprising and wonderful film about an overburdened late-20s woman (fabulous Giovanna Mezzogiorno) whose struggle of a marriage is put to yet another test when a mysterious old man (late Italian legend Massimo Girotti, in his final film performance) totters into her world. As this odd friendship compels her to reflect on her life, she turns to the bookish-hot guy (Raoul Bova) in the apartment across the way. (They'd been up in each other's business, Barilla®-ad style, for quite a while.) This summation doesn't even hint at the plot's sublime complexities: the incredible story is one to be experienced with as few expectations as possible. Just know that the photography is gorgeous (lavish long takes are quite effective), the music sumptuous, the characterizations superb. And brilliant director-cowriter Ferzan Ozpetek's homages to Hitchcock (there's Rear Window-type voyeurism, and identity/desire elements à la Vertigo) are especially striking, but never overpowering. A resonant, compassionate, masterful piece.
Golden Space Needle Award: BEST FILM; First runner-up, Best Director (Ferzan Ozpetek)

The Five Obstructions ***½
Fascinating, thoroughly enjoyable account of famed Danish bastard Lars von Trier's challenge to his filmmaker hero Jørgen Leth: remake his own 1967 short film The Perfect Human five times, with five different variations. Von Trier is fond of arbitrary rules, so the obstructions he imposes come all too naturally; this ultimately touching doc experiment actually gives us an idea why.

Garden State ***
An angst-ridden L.A. twentysomething (writer / director / star Zach Braff) returns home to New Jersey after his mom's untimely passing. The first hour of this film is full of visual treats and dark comedy surprises (the wonderful line "Don't blame the epilepsy, you had a gift!" being one). Clichés abound in the last act: indie quirk (for its own sake), an oh-so-dramatic showdown with Daddy (Ian Holm), and a ho-hum tearful goodbye at the goddamn airport. Still, Braff is appealing, Natalie Portman is eminently watchable as his much-too-neurotic love interest, and the KEXP-friendly soundtrack (Shins, Zero 7, Iron & Wine) is surprisingly decent.
Golden Space Needle Awards: First runner-up, Best Actor (Zach Braff); Third runner-up, Best Actress (Natalie Portman); Third runner-up, Best Director (Zach Braff)

Goodbye Dragon Inn ***½
Forty minutes into brilliant Taiwanese auteur Tsai Ming-liang's latest gem, we hear the first utterance of dialogue: "Do you know this theater is haunted?" The film, you see, is an elegy to a now-departed Taipei movie house; it's also a beautiful love poem to a dying way of life in the filmmaker's cherished city. As the 1966 film Dragon Inn plays on the theater's big ol' screen, small dramas unfold among the dwindling patrons and bare-bones staff. Tsai's films are all about our desperate need to connect with each other and the world around us, and his laconic style is definitely an acquired taste (but an eminently satisfying one). Heartbreaking and magical.

A Good Lawyer's Wife ***½
This thoughtful, surprising, Alan Ball-esque film could be called South Korean Beauty. Its suburban-dysfunction yarn ambles along without judgment for its first compelling hour, then jarringly reminds us just how messed up the good lawyer and his wife really are. They're both having unfulfilling affairs (he with an office-admin hooch, she with an angry teenage boy who spies on her through the apartment window) and taking just about everything in their lives for granted; only when a random tragedy strikes do they (and we) realize how disconnected they are. Emerging master Im Sang-soo has created a fascinating, sexually frank (and hot, I gotta say) dramatic gem, with a heartbreakingly subtle performance by Moon So-ri in the titular role.

The Green Butchers **
Two fucked-in-the-head entrepreneurs (Nicolaj Lie Kaas and Mads Mikkelsen) open a butcher shop and build their success on… well, questionable product. It's great to see the leads on screen together again; too bad it's in an unsavory story populated by such unlikable characters.

Hedda Gabler **
Disappointing local (Wigglyworld-produced and Wenatchee-set) adaptation of the Ibsen classic. Heidi Schreck is good in the titular role, and Tricia Rudley is better in a supporting performance, but the film as a whole is a muddled, unfortunate mess.

Hero ***½
"In any war there are heroes on both sides." Indeed. Jet Li plays a nameless 3rd-century-BC swordsman who recounts, via Rashomon-style flashbacks, his questionable battle victories to the tyrannical King of Qin. An often thrilling piece that goes on a bit long, with Crouching Tiger-style fight sequences that come off a bit cartoonish at times. But the astoundingly gorgeous cinematography and art direction make for a striking visual experience not to be missed.
Golden Space Needle Awards: Second runner-up, Best Actress (Maggie Cheung); Second runner-up, Best Director (Zhang Yimou)

I Always Wanted to Be a Saint ***
Compelling Belgian coming-of-age drama about a teen girl (astonishing Marie Kremer) dealing with long-buried momma-abandonment issues. Some cans of worms are best left unopened, and director Geneviève Mersch (in her feature debut) brings us a wonderful little story about a good person who goes a bit mad.

Imelda ***
Once my former roommate Tim walked in the door with a Rado bag containing his third new pair of shoes in as many weeks. I playfully called him "Timelda". He didn't like that. But what, really, did I know about Imelda Marcos other than the fact that her husband ruled the Philippines, and the gajillion pairs of shoes thing? Thanks to this entertaining new documentary, I now know plenty about this loony, beautiful fraud. I just wish filmmaker Ramona Diaz had confronted La Marcos with the bigger allegations of human rights violations and supreme hubris.

In the Realms of the Unreal **½
Harvey Darger was a reclusive janitor who died in the early '70s, leaving behind a 15,000-page novel manuscript and lots of creepy artwork of little girls with penises. Documentarian Jessica Yu's filmmaking technique is as fine as ever, but why Darger, and why now? The world may never know.

Intimate Strangers ***
Patrice Leconte's latest gem follows a perpetually discombobulated woman (Sandrine Bonnaire) as she wanders into the office of a lonely tax attorney (Fabrice Luchini), thinking he's a psychiatrist. He's fascinated, and doesn't correct her for several visits (!), but when her husband (The Trilogy's Gilbert Melki) enters the picture, everyone gets something they didn't expect. A slow-moving romantic thriller with excellent performances and a few cool Hitchcock homages. Not my favorite Leconte, but charming and sophisticated nonetheless.

In Your Hands ***½
Powerful Danish drama about guilt, faith, and loyalty. An idealistic new women's-prison chaplain named Anna (wonderful Ann Eleonora Jorgensen, who you might remember from Italian for Beginners) encounters an ominous new inmate (Trine Dyrholm) who may or may not possess healing powers and who may or may not be able to cure Anna's unborn baby's birth defect. Sounds a bit heavy-handed, and maybe it is, but director Annette K. Olesen pulls it off with somber panache. I'm really digging these Dogme women's films of late.

Last Life in the Universe ***½
A borderline-OCD Japanese librarian (Tadanobu Asano) and a messy Thai good-time gal (Laila Boonyasak) fall in surprisingly un-trite love. Director Pen-ek Ratanaruang weaves a marvelous, otherworldly tale, with gorgeous imagery by master cinematographer Christopher Doyle (Hero, In the Mood for Love) bringing it to enchanting life.

Love Me If You Dare ***
Thrill-seeking childhood friends (Thibault Verhaeghe and Joséphine Lebas-Joly) grow to adulthood (Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard), taking their ever-more-dangerous game of dares with them. The kid scenes are ridiculously enjoyable, but the film's sly ebullience lags when the characters grow up. Still, always a visual treat, highlighted with candy-colored fantasies.

The Mother ***½
Provocative, daring, and not a little sad, the latest by Brit filmmaker Roger Michell is more Titanic Town than Notting Hill. Determined not to be an old spinster, a recent widow (wonderful Anne Reid) moves into her self-centered, drama-hungry daughter's London home to feel useful and help with the rowdy-ass grandkids. But she winds
up gettin' pretty rowdy herself with a blue-eyed young carpenter (sexy Daniel Craig), whose true colors may not prove to be so purty. Rich, well-acted, and shockingly explicit, with lovely London cinematography and an engaging sense of chaotic dynamism.

Nicotina ***
A Mexico City computer geek named Lolo (Y Tu Mamá También's Diego Luna) has a habit of spying on the lovely girl down the hall via webcams and microphones he's installed in her flat. Her discovery of his pervy deeds sets into real-time motion a series of events with Lolo's gang of would-be crooks, who fuck up every single opportunity to pull off a high-stakes heist. Rather mindless farce, but lightning-fast and lots of fun.

The Notebook **
I still can't believe such a cornball film was selected for Opening Night. Nick Cassevetes directs his momma Gena Rowlands, who plays a dementia-stricken nursing home resident reminded of her past life by hubby James Garner. (TV movie plot? Yes.) Performances by Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling as their younger flashback-sequence incarnations are way cheesy, but hot young actor James Marsden is very good as the man that got away. And, OK, I won't deny that it all choked me up a little at the end… in a Hallmark® Hall of Fame kinda way.

Paper Clips **½
Eighth-graders at a Tennessee middle school learned about tolerance by collecting 6 million paper clips – one for each Jewish person killed in WWII. The project attracted the attention of people and media from all over the world, and documentary filmmakers Elliott Berlin and Joe Fab employ a straightforward style in telling the down-home story.

Raspberry Reich **½
"The revolution is my boyfriend!" Manic, messy film by longwinded Canadian 'provocateur' Bruce LaBruce about a German revolutionary leader who wants liberation from various societal tyrannies. Said leader decides that the way to accomplish this liberation is by demanding lots (lots!) of hardcore boy-on-boy action among her supposedly straight comrades. Fun, pretentious, admittedly hot trash.

Reconstruction **½
Danish actor Nikolaj Lie Kaas' Neanderthal sexiness is in full force in this stylish but exasperating new film. His character is feeling in a rut with his girlfriend (lovely Maria Bonnevie). And then he meets another woman (also Bonnevie), who's married but up for a fling. And then he realises that he, quite literally, cannot go home again: the door to his flat doesn't seem to exist anymore, his friends no longer recognize him, and he's in a maddeningly perpetual state of confusion. Kinda like I was while watching this cool-looking but ultimately frustrating movie.

Revolution ***½
Another Margaret Cho concert film, this one from an L.A. performance of last year's Revolution Tour. This Cho fan found it fucking hilarious, and I can't imagine anyone not rupturing vital organs upon hearing Margaret imitate Condoleezza ("It's pronounced nu-CLE-ar, fool!"), or a Bangkok porn-theatre owner ("Pu**y eat banana!"), or her mom (saying anything at all). Much, much fun.

The Saddest Music in the World ****
Depression-era Winnipeg. A wealthy, legless beer baroness (Isabella Rossellini) announces an auspicious contest to determine the saddest music in the world. An annoying wannabe-American opportunist, his sensitive-artist brother and secretive dad-with-a past also come into play, doing all manner of beautifully bizarro things to which my words simply cannot do justice. This magnificently mad silent-style fever dream ranks with Guy Maddin's very best. A masterpiece.

Saved! **½
I love me some Jena Malone. She's the best thing here as a born-again Christian high-schooler dealing with a gay boyfriend (shipped to a reprogramming center to be 'cured'), an overly-righteous queen-bee bitch (Mandy Moore), and a potential new flame (Patrick Fugit, looking cuter than ever), who happens to be the preacher-principal's son. Fun, atypical teen flick that still, oddly enough, manages its fair share of cliché.

Scent of the Lotus Pond ****
Sudsy Sri Lankan Buddhist fable about a garment worker who connives to steal her galpal's hot soldier boyfriend, then pays dearly for her misdeeds, then finds a new life for herself and works to make things right with the universe. I love this film for two main reasons: 1) it provides an intriguing look at day-to-day life in Sri Lanka, which is something I've never seen in a movie before; and 2) it's the best bitchy soap opera I've seen in ages. There's enough melodrama, backbiting, and adultery in the flick's 140-minute runtime for a whole season of The O.C. In my favorite scene, a no-nonsense middle-aged mother comes after her son's meddling shrew of an ex-wife with a machete and cusses her ass out in front of the woman's young daughter! Delicious.

Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus
British documentarian Andrew Douglas accompanies Florida musician Jim White on a road-trip search for the soul of the American South, where apparently you'll sooner find Jesus than a sane person with all of his teeth. Much less an urban landscape. Stops on the freakshow tour of Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia include roadside diners, correctional facilities, honky-tonks, Pentecostal churches, catfish houses, and, of course, trailer parks. Other musicians like Johnny Dowd and The Handsome Family just happen to pop up at said vistas, which is silly. Literary hero Harry Crews appears too, and he is admittedly fascinating in an overly-long film that's offensively exploitive and unnecessarily terrifying. Unless you're into being misinformed, skip it.

Sky Blue ***
Earth, 2142 A.D. The citizens of Ecoban, a city protected by a force field from the remainder of the ruined and barely-inhabitable planet, are at war with rebelling laborers who have up to now kept the city alive. Artful melding of CGI and hand-drawn anime that, despite some hammy voice work in the English-dubbed version, weaves a compelling Marxist tale.

Straight-Jacket ***
"Love is just a big heart-shaped box full of chocolate-covered razorblades." 1950s Hollywood megastar Guy Stone (Matt Letscher) marries a naïve studio secretary (hilarious Carrie Preston) in an effort to conceal his homosexuality. Silly but fun, with deliciously catty one liners by writer-director Richard Day and a surprisingly wonderful turn by Preston, whose imitation of a '50s actress in the movie's final moments is alone worth the price of admission.

Tamala 2010: A Punk Cat in Space
Someone named t.o.L. made this overblown and unpleasantly freaky Japanimation about a bad-ass time-traveling kitty. My advice? See this while under the influence, or don't bother at all.

The Tesseract **
Visually interesting but tedious existential thriller by Oxide Pang. (Hmm, I wonder if that's his given name.) Saskia Reeves and Bend It Like Beckham hottie Jonathan Rhys-Meyers are Brit foreigners doing time in a Bangkok flophouse: she, a psychologist/filmmaker interviewing street kids; he, a fucked up drug dealer. There are gangsters in black, slo-mo Matrix-style gunfights, and a convoluted, meaningless plot. Skip it.
Full review by imaginary chapman boy

Tomorrow's Weather **
Director and co-writer Jerzy Stuhr plays a former gym teacher who reluctantly leaves his 17-year gig as a monk (in a Sister Act-type monastery, no less), only to discover that his long-estranged family have all become pathetic assholes. He does his best to save them from themselves. Broad, often contrived, and only occasionally touching.

Torremolinos 73 **½
A down-on-his-luck Madrid salesman accepts a new (ahem) position: making super-8 "educational" porn for a Copenhagen outfit called the Audiovisual Encyclopedia of Reproduction. He and his lovely wife start filming themselves gettin' busy; he becomes a Bergman follower, she becomes a skin-flick star. Though definitely a movie that loves movies, the story is just a bit hetero-randy for my taste. Mads Mikkelsen's dingdong-flashing performance as a Danish 'actor', coupled with the funny intro given by charming director Pablo Berger at the screening I attended, made this overly-long but ultimately lightweight film all the more palatable.

Triple Agent **
ZZZzzz, ZZZzzz, and ZZZzzzzzzzzzz.
Full review by imaginary chapman boy

Turn Left Turn Right **½
A destined-to-be-together Taipei hetero couple have trouble making their parallel lives intersect in this broad (but not unenjoyable) romantic comedy.

25 Degrees in Winter **½
French illegal-immigration comedy (!) about a frustrating bunch of fuck-ups who can't get their shit together. On my nerves. But Carmen Maura (Women on the Verge…, Alice et Martin) saves the day as a feisty middle-aged mom; a hilarious, out-of-nowhere scene in a nursing-home dining hall is worth the price of admission. It deserves a better movie.

The Twilight Samurai ***½
Near the end of Japan's feudal era, a former warrior is struggling to balance his home life (wife's recent death, two adorable young daughters, a senile momma) with the demands of his low-ranking warehouse job. After demonstrating his swordsmanship for the honor of a potential new love, he's asked to make a potentially life-shattering choice for the sake of his clan. Wonderful performances, thrilling fight scenes (never gratuitous or sensationalized), and a sweeping elegiac spirit make for the most emotionally satisfying samurai movie I've ever seen.
Golden Space Needle Awards: Third runner up, Best Film; Second runner-up, Best Actor (Hiroyuki Sanada)

Twin Sisters ***
The Netherlands' answer to SIFF's cheesy opening nighter is better because it's lighter on the corn and heavier on the stroopwafels. Based on a Dutch bestseller by someone with the wonderful name Tessa de Loo, the film follows separated-at-childhood fraternal twin girls through WWII and, ultimately, old age. Thankfully none of it takes place in a nursing home. I won't deny that it all choked me up a little at the end… in a Hallmark® Zaal van Bekendheid kinda way.

Untold Scandal ***
Another beautiful-looking, compelling (and hot!) South Korean film about hetero desire and deception. Using Choderlos de Laclos's Liaisons Dangereuses as inspiration, the film takes place in the ultra-repressive Cho-sun dynasty and follows the wicked antics of Lord Cho-Won (Bae Yong-Jun) and his equally petty cousin Lady Cho (Lee Mi-Sook). A bit long, with lush visuals and assured direction helping to execute rather preposterous situations.

Wild Side ***½
A pre-op MTF transsexual Paris prostitute (Stéphanie Michelini) shares her home and her love with a cute young North African trick-turnin' playboy (Yasmine Belmadi) and a hot Russian waiter (Edouard Nikitine) in this refreshing, compelling story. Small, surprising memories of youth and longing accompany Stéphanie's return home to care for her ailing momma, and we come to understand and care for this unusual assembled family. Moments of intimacy are beautifully rendered (I won't cheapen it by mentioning that all three dingdongs are glimpsed), and Michelini (who looks, oddly, like a cross between Jessica Lange and Julianna Margulies) is stunning.
Jury Award: New Director's Showcase