Frantz by François Ozon

Frantz Hoffmeister, a soldier, fiancé, son, and friend, is dead and thus physically absent, but you know from the first five minutes of the film that he will continue to be unnervingly present. Like memories of World War I and the resentment between Germans and French at that time, Frantz is kept alive. His young…

CAAMFest 35: Bachelor Girls

The “Bachelor Girls” interviewed in Shikha Makan’s brisk documentary are professional women in their 20s and 30s, educated and gainfully employed in the large, cosmopolitan Indian city of Mumbai. For some landlords, these women would be ideal tenants: white-collar, responsible, educated, capable of paying rent regularly, stellar character references from heads of banks and human…

CAAMFest 35: The Lockpicker

Canadian filmmaker Randall Lloyd Okita (featured at CAAMFest 34) is known and admired for his oblique yet powerful narratives, even in his more abstract, short works such as Machine with Wishbone (2008) and Portrait as a Random Act of Violence (2012). His stories emerge slowly and completely from the depths of sophisticated and startling imagery,…

The Salesman (Forushande) by Asghar Farhadi

I was already tense during the opening titles of Asghar Farhadi’s latest, The Salesman. Having seen several of his films, I was prepared for something akin to a thriller, or even a pastoral murder mystery, where ordinary domestic mishaps are the catalysts for (or symptoms of) some hefty emotional icebergs about to crack. Farhadi’s narratives,…

Force of Nature: Tabaimo

In paying video homage to a museum’s collected works of Japanese masters, Tabaimo reminds us of how nature and landscape greatly influenced Japanese decorative art, and also reminds us of the power of time-based media like video and animation. In this engaging and provocative series of works, presented at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, art…

Women on Wall Street Take Charge

Money Monster (directed by Jodie Foster), is set in one of those shiny financial market TV shows full of exaggerated numbers and practically devoid of facts or pragmatic advice. Its king and money monster is Lee Gates, who faithfully (if cynically) reports on the latest and greatest financial instruments that the common people should invest in. His salesmanship,…

Our Little Sister

Sagami Bay, blue hydrangeas, pale-pink cherry blossoms, freshly-picked plums, freshly-caught seafood, torrential rain, and four very elegant and dignified sisters who are as tough as mountains. In Our Little Sister (from the novel Umimachi Diary), Kore-eda conveys an exquisite but very real world where time, nature, memory, and community both serve as foreground and background to…