MOMA’s celebratory glut of film premieres enters its second week. The biggest name on the slate is Theo Angelopoulos, but the Greek tragedian’s The Weeping Meadow (December 1 and 4), the first of a century-spanning trilogy, is a bloated disappointment. Though not as windy as Eternity and a Day, this three-hour historical dirge about a woman’s heartrending life between the world wars suffers from a near-total absence of character depth and narrative urgency.
In stark contrast, this week’s two finds are decidedly low-key and low-budget (both will be distributed next year by Global Film Initiative). From Uruguay, Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll’s Cannes favorite Whisky (December 4) wrings all affect from a sitcomy premise—a sad-sack sock manufacturer asks an employee to pose as his wife while his brother visits—and inches almost imperceptibly from deadpan humor to deadpan melancholy. A prizewinner at Vancouver, first-timer Diao Yinan’s DV-shot Uniform (December 2) is slyly based on the premise that you are what you wear. Young and out of work in a small, modernizing Chinese town, the disaffected hero gets his hands on the titular garment and starts impersonating a cop. An accomplished piece of Jia Zhangke–style realism, it doubles as a potent allegory of a spiritually uprooted generation’s identity quest.