Highly recommended: Small Crime

Our guide to Friday’s selections; weekend picks below the jump.

YAY!:

I.O.U.S.A., a documentary on the Federal Reserve that, according to Jule Banville, “does for our economic crisis what An Inconvenient Truth did for global warming,” only “with a lot more humor and a lot less PowerPoint.” 6:30 p.m. at Goethe-Institut.

Small Crime, a comedy about a mysterious death on a bumptious Greek island. I said: “Servetalis steals the show as an expressionless but compassionate protag, and a lo-fi but sweeping soundtrack underscores innocuous moped chases. Come for the atmosphere, stay for the love affair—and by the end, you won’t really mind that Zacharias’ death might not have been all that mysterious, after all.”

Rain, about a 14-year-old who spends her time in a Nassau slum with her mother, who is addicted to both gambling and crack. The young girl finds a mentor in her high school track coach. Mike Riggs says the film “fosters social awareness without giving up its grit.” Leave the kids at home. 8:15 p.m. at E Street Cinema.

The Witch of the West Is Dead, about a timorous Japanese girl who thrives under Granny’s tutelage. Jule Banville says it’s full of “lush shots” and filmed with a “Zen-like approach…land[ing] an emotional punch.” 6:30 p.m. at the Avalon.

Dancers, a romantic thriller about a lovesick Swedish woman obsessed with her boyfriend’s dark past. “Heavy-handed” at times, write Sarah Godfrey, but “fascinating” where it counts. 8:30 p.m. at E Street Cinema.

MEH:

Daytime Drinking, about lonely Hyeok-jin, who mopes his way through a booze-drenched, tedious film. Jeff Winkler calls it “an exercise in staying seated.” 6:30 p.m. at E Street Cinema.

Villa Jasmin, a split-personality film about a young Tunisian man with daddy issues. Andrew Beaujon calls it mopey. 6:30 p.m. at Regal Gallery Place.

The English Surgeon, a documentary on British neurosurgeon Henry Marsh, whose “nearly perverse sense of self-importance” drags down an otherwise agile film, Winkler says. 6:30 p.m. at Goethe-Institut.

Kabei, a film about WWII-era Japan, in which the title character has to raise two daughters while her husband, a suspected Commie, languishes in jail. “The film,” Justin Moyer says, “lacks a coherent voice and narrative center…. Kabei is no tearjerker—it’s a film that unreasonably demands tears.” 8:30 p.m. at the Avalon.

And this weekend’s highlights:

*Ashes of American Flags: Wilco Live. If you dig the band, this one’s a no-brainer. Tricia: “Unlike 2002’s I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, Ashes is primarily a concert doc, with only brief commentary from the boys on subjects including the “Walmartization” of America and how it sucks to get old and be aware of aching body parts during a show. Regardless of the complaints, though, you get the lovely feeling that Wilco will never stop touring.” 4:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Avalon.

We Can Do That, a gem of a film about a cooperative of mental patients in Italy. I said the film was “likely to be one of the most moving of the whole festival.” Tremendously uplifting while avoiding most clichés. Please see it. 4 p.m. on Sunday at Regal Gallery Place.

***

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