Lux et Veritas

DELBARAN Abolfazl Jalili's spare, oblique film shadows Kaim, a young Afghan refugee working at an Iranian truck stop on a dusty road near the border, as he goes about his daily bustle. Beautifully photographed and suggestively edited, Delbaran is haunted throughout by intimations of violence: reverberating explosions offscreen, an unforgettable image of a hand caught on a coil of barbed wire. As in Hou Hsiao-hsien's Goodbye South Goodbye, the guiding metaphor is constant motion—the vertiginous sensation of going nowhere fast. March 30, 31. (DL)

THE FAST RUNNER (ATANARJUAT) Winner of the Caméra d'Or last year at Cannes and a burgeoning international sensation, Zacharias Kunuk's first feature—as well as the first feature to be made in the Inuktitut language—is an epic account of an Inuit blood feud, shot on DV in northernmost Canada. Mysterious, bawdy, emotionally intense, and replete with virtuoso throat singing, this three-hour movie is engrossing from first image to last, so devoid of stereotype and cosmic in its vision it could suggest the rebirth of cinema. As the arctic light and landscape beggar description, so the performances go beyond acting, and the production itself seems little short of miraculous. Lot 47 will release it in June. March 30, 31. (JH)

THE INNER TOUR Shot just before the intifada of September 2000 would have made it impossible, Ra'anan Alexandrowicz's fascinating documentary follows a mixed group of displaced Palestinians across the Green Line and through the looking glass on their first trip to Israel. The three-day bus tour takes them from a kibbutz on the site of a former Arab village to a family meeting at the Lebanese border to the beach at Tel Aviv. Alexandrowicz, the young director of the haunting Dachau documentary Martin (1999), has produced another deeply involving yet unpretentious film that raises a human interest story to the level of revelation. April 1, 2. (JH)

Baby on board: from The Orphan of Anyang
photo: The Film Society of Lincoln Center
Baby on board: from The Orphan of Anyang


New Directors/New Films
Museum of Modern Art
March 22 through April 7

DOG DAYS Fallen, grotty humans look for something like love within a stifling, consumerist society, and mostly fail. A loosely connected, episodic portrait of two thermometer-busting summer days in a Vienna suburb, Ulrich Seidl's first fiction film—he's made a number of rigorous, controversial documentaries—is a painstakingly perverse panoply of misogynistic behavior. Though the events may bring to mind Michael Haneke, Seidl shoots with the eye of Diane Arbus. April 1, 2. (MP)

JEUNESSE DORÉE A dour teen and her extroverted friend (the dyad faintly suggests Ghost World) drive around the French countryside snapping photos of buildings for a school project. Zaïda Ghorab-Volta's first feature shies from coming-of-age makeovers in favor of featherweight incidentals. Though the effect is pleasingly balmy, the movie is so inconsequential it practically evaporates before your eyes. April 3, 4. (DL)

EL BOLA When 12-year-old Pablo befriends the new kid at school, he finds himself in a loving, vaguely bohemian domestic environment—one diametrically opposed to his own. The filmmaking never strays from the televisual, but writer-director Achero Mañas coaxes unmannered performances from his young actors, and the portrayal of child abuse (and corresponding indictment of the social services) is worthy of Ken Loach. April 5, 6. (DL)

PARADOX LAKE Przemyslaw "Shemie" Reut's unclassifiable second feature is a purposefully unstable compound of reality and fiction. Set in an upstate New York camp for autistic kids, it monitors the relationship between a rookie counselor and his 12-year-old charge (most of the actors play themselves). Enigmatic and somewhat shapeless, the film abandons hazy lyricism in the final stretch for an audacious montage sequence, splicing in animation and footage from a real-life neurological procedure. April 5, 7. (DL)

THE ORPHAN OF ANYANG An unemployed worker reduced to selling his factory meal tickets becomes nursemaid to a hooker's baby. As novelist Wang Chao put it when his first feature was shown at the Toronto Film Festival, The Orphan of Anyang is "something you have never seen in China . . . the truth." Be that as it may, Wang proves to be a filmmaker of considerable clarity. There's a majestic view of China implicit in these carefully composed images of makeshift brothels, ugly industrial buildings, dirty canals, outdoor food stands, and flophouse interiors. April 6, 7. (JH)

KIRA'S REASON—A LOVE STORY The Dogme gravy train chugs along with Ole Christian Madsen's underwhelming verité account of a slightly off-her-rocker mother unable to adjust to her former life after being released from an institution. With faux-Cassavetian intimacy forced down our throats by the usual Dogme formal conceits—handheld camera, dimly lit close-ups, incessant jump cuts—Kira's Reason plays like an ADD sequel to A Woman Under the Influence, complete with ill-advised welcome-back party. A First Run release. April 6, 7. (MP)

LATE MARRIAGE A family comedy (and tragedy) set among Israeli immigrants from the former Soviet Georgia, Dover Kosashvili's first feature is as boldly patterned as the carpets and wall hangings that dominate his characters' apartments (and make explicit the tyranny of tradition). Late Marriage is loud and confrontational, full of love and despair. In addition to the sensational decor, it provides an education in bride-barter courtship, ethno-funky nuptials, and warmhearted fucking (although not necessarily in that order). Magnolia will release it mid-May. April 6, 7. (JH)

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