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Pick of the Week
The Kid With A Bike (Criterion) — The Kid with a Bike is propelled by eruptive moments nestled between long stretches of calm. That it is seen through the eyes of a child too young and confused to understand as much about himself as the viewer does would appear to make the eponymous bicycle rider’s case an ironic one, but it mostly just makes it sad. Every time Cyril pushes his newly adoptive mother (Cécile De France) away or pines after his absent father, we see his heart slowly breaking and his view of the world further dimming. This is an ordinary boy whose inability (or outright refusal) to believe that his dad (Jérémie Renier) is never coming back for him makes him something of a problem child: running away from school, rarely doing what he’s told, expressing himself through violence. “I want my dad,” he says at one particularly vulnerable moment; it’s the kind of naked, genuine truth the Dardenne Brothers often espouse plain as day. They understand, here and elsewhere, that simplicity is as effective a means of conveying profundity as any other. Read Michael Nordine’s full HTN review. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Planet of Snail (Cinema Guild) — So it turns out that watching a gangly, blind-deaf poet and his tiny, sweet, supportive wife make their way through the world in their necessarily particular way can pretty much confirm the existence of love in the universe. (Robert Greene) Available on DVD.
Girl Model (First Run Features) — After this and their most recent film Downeast, it’s rightful time that we all band together and acknowledge just how important Ashley Sabin and David Redmon are. Whoever the subject, whatever the topic, wherever the location, Sabin and Redmon somehow manage to view their subjects with a humane, thoughtful, understanding eye. It’s a real gift that while their films can be disturbing or depressing, they are never condescending or judgmental. Speaking of disturbing, Girl Model is as uncomfortable as it gets, yet rather than outright condemning the world modeling industry that preys upon children who don’t know any better and are desperate for a paycheck, Sabin and Redmon once again display their maturity and intelligence by showing just how insidiously layered the problem is (which, truth be told, is perhaps even more unsettling). Not easy viewing, but vital. Bonus points for an excellent score. Available on DVD.
Have Not Seen Yet But Really/Kinda/Sorta/Maybe Wanna