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If you do not count yourself among the segment of the population that derives great pleasure from watching a father and daughter hug repeatedly, you might consider skipping 35 Shots of Rum. Sure, there are a few other characters, but this is, for the most part, a film about Lionel (Alex Descas), his daughter Josephine (Mati Diop), and their frequent embraces. Lionel is a middle-aged train driver who rarely opens his mouth except to drink the aforementioned liquor. Josephine is a beautiful student who endures trite college debates on social justice and appears to have a passion for rice cookers. There is no clear plot line from beginning to end, just a series of melancholy twists and semi-optimistic turns that bring us back to where we started: a family duo, bound by undeniable love, who can’t quite confront the challenges of relationships that have grown a bit too static. 35 Shots of Rum is a window into lives neither enviable nor lamentable. If it strikes a chord with audiences, it’s likely to be an open fifth.
Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. Also at 8:45 p.m. on Wednesday, April 22. Both showings at the Avalon.