VERY ANNIE MARY (Sara Sugarman, 2001)

Charming, spirited, quirky, and with a serious undertow, writer-director Sara Sugarman’s comedy Very Annie Mary boasts a beautiful performance by Australia’s Rachel Griffiths as a baker’s shy, klutzy daughter in a South Wales village. Her titular character, although 30, seems not to have emotionally advanced beyond 15, her age when her very supportive mother died. […]

THE PIANO (Jane Campion, 1993)

“Silence affects everyone. . . .” Imagine a mute person. Her mind’s voice—it seems a child’s voice—tells us, “I don’t think of myself as silent—because of my piano.” Her prized possession, this piano is the “voice” that liberates her soul, bringing her to ecstasy. It’s a sensual, commanding voice, so unlike the shy, unassuming “voice” […]

THE HERO (Zézé Gamboa, 2004)

The first-ever fully Angolan film, Zézé Gamboa’s O Herói exasperates a bit in one regard. It is bereft of details about Angola’s 27-year civil war that is its essential background. This comports with its theme, the postwar need for Angolans to pull together in order to move forward socially and politically. However, Gamboa doesn’t minimize […]