“Little Sister”: A nun on the run comes home to her Goth roots

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“Little Sister” screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 227 State St. Tickets are free for museum members, $7 for all others. Not rated, 1:31, three stars out of four.

It’s a little disconcerting to see a film that’s a period piece set only eight years ago, sparking a feeling of “Didn’t that just happen?” Zach Clark’s “Little Sister” is set in the fall of 2008, and the cultural signifiers are everywhere – candidate Obama’s speeches on television, talk of Iraq. There’s even a scene featuring a performance art piece with a dancing Twin Towers.

But Clark’s film uses the moment as a backdrop for a funny, wistful little comedy-drama about family members learning to overcome themselves and reconnect with each other. Can we reconcile with those who know us only too well? Yes, we can.

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“Kaili Blues”: Dream a little dream in a fast-changing China

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“Kaili Blues” has its Madison premiere at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 227 State St. FREE for museum members, $7 for all others. Not rated, 1:49, three stars out of four.

“Man, have you ever had one of those dreams that are completely real?” That’s a line from Richard Linklater in his 1991 debut film “Slacker,” a movie I kept thinking of as I was watching Bi Gan’s “Kaili Blues.” Both films are from first-time filmmakers, daring but a little shaky in execution, promising great things in the future. And both eschew traditional narrative structure for an elliptical, dream-like story.

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“Let the Fire Burn”: Tempers flare, and Philadelphia burns

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“Let the Fire Burn” screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art as part of its Spotlight Cinema series. Not rated, 1:35, three and a half stars out of four.

Jason Osder’s documentary “Let the Fire Burn” opens with what looks like some kind of natural disaster, a massive inferno that engulfed a Philadelphia neighborhood in 1985, destroying 61 homes and killing 11 people, five of them children.

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“Museum Hours”: When the paintings look back at you

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“Museum Hours” screens at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Free for members; $7 at the door for everyone else. Not rated, 1:46, three and a half stars out of four.

It’s fitting, of course, that a film called “Museum Hours” would screen at a museum, although the classical paintings in Jem Cohen’s film would stick out like a sore thumb among MMoCA’s more contemporary pieces. Still, the film captures the contemplative feeling of whiling away a couple of hours among some of the world’s great works of art, especially in the company of a couple of engaging, droll guides.

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