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Blue RinseDirected by Matt Leigh
Yes, it’s named for the color treatment that older ladies use to keep their hair from yellowing with dye, but this look at a beauty parlor in Ireland is a wonderful ode to a community. With casual banter (“I keep thinking today is Friday.” “Because it is.”) and jump cuts that take us all around the store, it’s a careful slice of life that’s as charming as Ken Wardrop’s His and Hers. —John Lichman
MinkaDirected by Davina Pardo
Stories about foreign correspondents tend to take on a swashbuckling sort of romance, but Minka is a different kind of love affair: between Associated Press reporter John Roderick and the traditional farmhouse he saved and rebuilt in the Japanese mountains. It’s recounted by a longtime Japanese friend through narration and old pictures that lingers over the giant beams holding up the farmhouse’s roof. We become acquainted with the scribe’s handiwork before the camera moves to his hospital bedside where we meet the ailing Roderick in person. The film is a fitting commemoration. —Lydia DePillis
Still HereDirected by Alex Camilleri
Randy Baron lays out his personal history and that of his partner, Mel, during the 1980s AIDS epidemic. His voice shifting between shaking and strength, Baron relates the realization he was infected, and how a dying friend asked for a push out a window. Then comes the terrible irony: Baron finds out he has a CCR5 mutation that makes him a carrier but with no symptoms, meaning he has to see his loved ones die but won’t be joining them anytime soon. Alex Camilleri’s film is deeply moving, but littered with fatty re-enactments. —JL