Pick of the week: “Short Term 12“ — My full review is here. Writer-director Destin Daniel Cretton drew from his own experiences working in a group home for troubled youth to make this wonderful film, shot through with humor, insight and honesty. The film doesn’t romanticize or trivialize the huge obstacles that some teens have to overcome, but shows that it can happen with a patient, constant application of love from others.
“Bastards” — My full review is here. Claire Denis’ latest film has the rough outlines of a thriller, as a sea captain returns home to investigate his sister’s family’s ruination at the hands of a wealthy man. But if you know Denis, you know things get much darker and weirder.
“Let the Fire Burn” — My full review is here. This powerful documentary draws entirely from archival footage to tell how growing tensions between the city of Philadelphia and a militant African-American cult resulted in a disastrous 1985 confrontation.
“A Touch of Sin” — My full review is here. Jia Zhang Ke has become one of China’s foremost chroniclers of the country’s massive industrialization shift, and this film, an anthology of four stories, shows the new China as a violent, predatory place where money rules.
“Sherman’s March” — One of the great personal documentaries of all time, this 1986 film follows Ross McElwee’s attempts to make a historical documentary become thwarted when he starts having girlfriend problems.
a touch of sin