HUMPDAY (Lynn Shelton, 2009)

“It’s weird. I’ve never kissed stubble before.” I do not see writer-director Lynn Shelton’s Humpday, one of the mumblecore entries, precisely as do others, but I agree that it skewers male buddyism, post-schoolguy nostalgia, and bromance. The film is on target when it finds married Ben aggravating his wife, Anna, by choosing unexpectedly visiting college […]

BEESWAX (Andrew Bujalski, 2009)

Gradually slipping into a documentary mode, U.S. independent writer-director Andrew Bujalski’s Beeswax eventually resembles cinéma-vérité—only, it isn’t; it’s a work of fiction that aims to portray—really, capture—life’s rhythms and the close interconnections among people in a given circle of associates, friends, lovers and exes, and relatives. It is, if you will, a film about a […]

TROUBLED WATER (Erik Poppe, 2008)

Norwegian director Erik Poppe’s De Usynlige—literally, The Invisibles—completes his Oslo trilogy, neither of whose earlier entries, Schpaaa (1998) and Hawaii, Oslo (2004), I have seen. Nor will I ever, given the self-congratulatory cleverness, exploitation of suffering, pseudo-spirituality and slimy decadence of De Usynlige. Hollowly written by Harald Rosenløw-Eeg, this piece of “sensitive” trash won the […]

MARIYA (Aleksandr Sokurov, 1978, 1988)

Robust, in her element working the earth, 41-year-old collective farmer Mariya Semionovna Voinova provides a smiling portrait of Soviet industry, strength, endurance. This is the centerpiece of the first of the two segments of the short documentary Mariya that Aleksandr Sokurov made nine years apart. This first segment is in color, and this color, which […]