Village Voice 04.19.2017 : Page 12

12 April 19 April 25, 2017 grant women the vote), leaving her family and the laundry room’s endless racks of dry-ing socks to brainstorm with an Italian di-vorcée and an older widow on how they can get the town’s men to vote yes. Leuenberger looks a little like Dakota Johnson and Romy Schneider but also convinces as an ordinary person. Her breezy, deadpan Nora is both hilarious and heroic. REN JENDER Gilbert The “real” Gilbert Gottfried lies some-where between the rape and tsunami jokes the squawking, squinting comedian spews onstage and the lovable — if equally cacoph-onous — parrots he voices for Disney car-toon megahits. Neil Berkeley’s immensely entertaining Gilbert provides our irst glimpse of Gottfried as family man (his un-expectedly button-cute kids don’t ind him funny), as depressive (he’s still haunted by his mother’s death), as hoarder (he stock-piles crates’ worth of hotel toothpaste), and, most surprisingly, as just plain quiet. Gilbert is larded with telling moments — Gottfried’s painfully self-conscious goodbye hugs with his clan, or his sabotaging of the Hallmark cards he gives to his wife with a scrawled “Go fuck yourself.” Like many caustic com-ics, he’ll never quite let his guard down, but perhaps that’s a blessing if you appreciate his “anything to offend” material. Ice Mother A widow once again embracing life via an unexpected romance isn’t new dramatic territory, but Czech director Bohdan Sláma animates this story with welcome patience and a dynamic approach to scene construc-tion. When Hana (Zuzana Kronerová) has her two sons and their families over for weekend lunches, the camera (the cinema-tography is by Diviš Marek) follows her, un-interrupted, between kitchen and dining area, living room and foyer, as she greets guests and carries bowls. And when Hana, much to the dismay of her bratty boys, cheers on her gruff boyfriend (Pavel Nový) at his ice-swimming races, the camera ven-tures calmly into the water, bobbing among the aged men and women, competition numbers scrawled on their shoulders. There’s even a rare and generous love scene between sexagenarians, frank in its every-day honesty: After a failed irst attempt, Hana runs to the kitchen to rub olive oil on herself, then returns to the bedroom. DANNY KING SAM WEISBERG friend — or therapist — to talk to, just the ilmmakers and her remaining family. REN JENDER Whitney: Can I Be Me Nick Broom ield and Rudi Dolezal’s much anticipated documentary on Whitney Houston consists mostly of footage from the singer’s 1999 world tour, captured on-and backstage for an abandoned earlier project. The Whitney we see is in good voice (though the musicians who worked with her say she lost it toward the tour’s end) but ob-viously high or otherwise impaired. The ilm, which also includes archival clips from TV appearances, is narrated in interviews, most of them with people who were not among Houston’s innermost circle, so we hear contradictory takes on what was hap-pening in her life. But the contradictions parallel what we in the audience think we know about her and the other very famous and talented people we see on TV and in movies: The ilm becomes the celebrity documentary version of Rashomon . REN JENDER VILLAGE Pacho Velez and Sierra Pettengill’s The Reagan Show Ronald Reagan Presidential Library movie palace, the light from the screen hit-ting their faces, is King of Peking at its most pleasantly lovely. DANNY KING November A smutty, over-the-top attempt at mythi-cally enhanced black-and-white village por-traiture, Rainer Sarnet’s narrative feature, set in a not-quite-real nineteenth-century Estonia and based on a novel by Andrus Ki-virähk, is a sort of training-wheels Hard to Be a God — which is to say, a pretty unclassi-iable piece of work. Here everyone wears ragged garments, has crooked teeth, and chews on meats in close-up; they also coex-ist with antsy animals, roaming spirits, and “kratts,” a strange species of sentient help-ers (living in the form of sticks, bones, axes, and other tools) on the hunt for odd jobs. This is mostly an anthology of nuts-for-ashamed to reread after digging through your closet a decade later. SAM WEISBERG Thirst Street Bad things seem to follow flight attendant Gina (Lindsay Burdge), the distraught American-in-Paris at the center of Nathan Silver’s suave thriller. Her precious Paul (Damien Bonnard) hangs himself after a pe-riod of bliss; the previous tenants of the Pa-risian apartment to which she absconds “jumped out of it”; and her new lover, a di-sheveled bartender named Jérôme (also Bonnard), passes to her an outbreak of con-junctivitis, leaving her left eye swollen and inflamed. Thirst Street inds Silver, a com-mitted explorer of emotional extremes, wallowing in sordid unpleasantness; in many scenes, women — trapped under-neath a probing camera and gaudy shocks of color — are seen stripping or ielding in-sults from men. But when Gina’s obsession drives the action, the movie sparks to life; the concluding act, in which she transforms into an amateur sleuth, following Jérôme around in the name of misguided love, is a riveting and oddly freeing cringe-fest. DANNY KING Wasted! The Story of Food Waste What a relief to ind an ecology doc that, rather than excoriate, presents a number of feasible (and fun) solutions! Anna Chai and Nari Kye’s debut is a uniquely lighthearted, sure-footed ilm about potential environ-mental disaster, the perfect companion piece to last year’s Bugs , also crafted to per-suade the world’s pickiest and laziest con-sumers to broaden their palate and add less invasive, polluting foods to their diet. Here, various chefs and food scientists advocate for the return of “garbage ish” — that is, ish If ever a fest overshot the expectations of ‘ilm festival,’ Tribeca is it usually thrown overboard during salmon expeditions — to global menus; for the prac-tice of feeding food waste, a cheaper and healthier alternative to corn and grass, to livestock; and for using breadcrumbs to brew ale. This jaunty, exciting ilm will send you happily to the nearest compost bin cen-ter. SAM WEISBERG King of Peking Father-son duo Big Wong (Zhao Jun) and Little Wong (Wang Naixun) enjoy a routine projecting blockbuster movies for rural communities around Beijing; they set up the chairs, test the sound, and communi-cate, often via walkie-talkie, using the names of the heroes from Lethal Weapon . But a confluence of troubles — a reputation-busting ire at one screening, an ex-wife de-manding either greater custody or larger child support payments — forces the wor-ried father into the morally suspect business of DVD bootlegging. Writer-director Sam Voutas (an Australian who grew up in China) sticks mostly to a crowd-pleasing template (complete with lighthearted narra-tion bookending the movie), but he knows how to evince a love for the medium with-out shoving it down the audience’s throat: A quiet scene of father and son slurping down noodles in the tucked-away rafters of a giant nuts’-sake anarchy (one man asking for the recipe for a “love potion” is told, “Mix your sweat and armpit hairs with your shit”), but it’s frequently compelling to look at, and there are some inspired comic riffs — like the scene in which a briefcase of underpants belonging to a German baron sends a local villager into a dizzying rant on the origins of Estonian rule. DANNY KING One Percent More Humid Not bad at writing but none too articulate, perpetually stoned and sullen, and unapol-ogetic in her lust, Iris (Juno Temple) regards her tumultuous summer fling with her mar-ried professor/thesis adviser (Alessandro Nivola) as requited love. But it’s really a des-perately needed distraction from a car acci-dent that killed her classmate. Her best friend, Catherine (Julia Garner in spectacu-larly acidic form), who drove the vehicle that sorry night, pursues an equally doomed tryst with the victim’s furious brother, but at least knows it’s a masochistic, temporary cure for pain. Though sometimes stilted and not particularly weighty as a paean to wasted youth, Liz Garcia’s One Percent More Humid is nonetheless simmering and erotic. It plays like a fervently written col-lege-course short story, one you wouldn’t be The Family I Had One of the best documentaries in the festi-val is a worst-case scenario come true. Charity Lee’s son, Paris, murdered her daughter, Ella, her only other child, when he was thirteen and she was just four, a couple of years after we see the chubby blonde tod-dler celebrating Christmas with her atten-tive older brother. Other documentaries would center on Paris, but directors Carlye Rubin and Katie Green know the real ques-tion: How does Charity move forward? Many of the answers surprise and might elicit audience disapproval — in spite of Charity’s pained recollection of the insensi-tive second-guessing townspeople did after the murder. The saddest element of the ilm is Charity’s never seeming to have a decent The Departure Ittetsu Nemoto, the 44-year-old Buddhist priest and Tokyo native chronicled in this documentary by Lana Wilson ( After Tiller ), has a nearly full datebook, a busy Gmail in-box, and a phone constantly pinging with texts and missed calls. His vocation is sui-cide prevention, and the messages he re-ceives — “I want to die,” “I feel like my life has no meaning” — bestow a heavy burden. The subject of a 2013 New Yorker pro ile that inspired Wilson to seek him out, Nemoto counsels people both informally (say, over a home-cooked meal) and with directed structure, in group sessions that he leads with commendable calm. Applying a gently enveloping observational style, Wilson at-tests to Nemoto’s effectiveness as a listener and an empathizer partly by unsparingly noting the de iciencies in his own life — a history of drinking and an all-night lifestyle has left him, at a young age, with a heart condition necessitating regular hospital vis-its. It’s this out-in-the-open vulnerability that makes him such a compelling and flawed character, seemingly doomed to commit the same virtues and mistakes over and over again. DANNY KING

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