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Though these films are all loosely connected by the theme of death (or narrowly avoiding it), it’s not all doom and gloom. The eclectic offerings in this showcase are wonderfully shot, and utilize unique filmmaking methods that serve each individual film. Pool, set eerily in a drained pool, and The Forger, augmented with beautiful silhouetted animation, are particular standouts.
GridlockDirected by Ian Hunt Duffy
When a traffic jam hits a country road and a young girl goes missing from a car, her panicked father thinks she’s been kidnapped. As the tension ramps up, there’s plenty of suspects: the couple that keeps furtively whispering to each other, the silent weirdo, and the dude who really doesn’t want you to touch his car.
Just, Go!Directed by Pavels Gumennikovs
The run of this film is mostly spent on an extended chase scene, but it’s amazingly inventive and tightly choreographed. The protagonist Just (Aleksandrs Ronis), doesn’t have legs and travels around by wheelchair, car, bus, skateboard, and—most often—his own two arms. Ronis had never acted before the filmmakers approached him while he was playing volleyball, and it’s clear why they thought he’d make a captivating subject.
PoolDirected by Leandro Goddinho
A woman goes to meet her recently deceased grandmother’s former friend and lover, hoping to find out about the life her grandmother never talked about. The cinematography and story are dreamy, sliding between past and present, and the result is a deeply affecting tale about generational trauma.
Set AdriftDirected by Jennifer Sheridan
After the death of his beloved owner, a dog struggles to understand where she’s gone and recalls his life with her. Some clever filmmaking devices and a particularly expressive dog make this a more fun romp than the premise might suggest.
The Final ShowDirected by Dana Nachman
An elderly woman drops dead, and is transported to a sort of purgatory where she reunites with her past beaus and former hairdresser. Eternity doesn’t seem so bad in this delightfully charming and madcap comedy, and our winning heroine is a prime example of why there should be more (and better) roles out there for mature actresses.
The ForgerDirected by Samantha Stark, Alexandra Garcia and Pamela Druckerman
As a member of the French Resistance during Nazi occupation, Adolfo Kaminsky saved thousands of people’s lives by forging documents that allowed them to escape the country. Despite this, he is still haunted by those he could not save, and those who still need saving. This documentary laces interviews with Kaminsky with gorgeous moving paper shadow puppets, reiterating the importance of “papers”.
The LottoDirected by Guy Noffsinger
What would happen if the grim reaper collected a winning lottery ticket from his latest victim? Apparently, a slightly befuddling and schmaltzy tale of paying it forward. The film is rescued by the execution of the beautifully rotoscoped animation, which evokes pastel drawings.
Showcase 7 screens Monday, Sept. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at Landmark’s E Street Cinema.