By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
St. Anthony Main, April 26 at noon
This documentary short efficiently scans the life of poet Olav H. Hauge, whose young adulthood was bedeviled by psychotic breakdowns in which he was convinced he was an "other." Director Vigdis Nielsen located an impressive number of Hauge's associates and loved ones to impart details about his life: growing up in a rough farm community in the 1920s and '30s while attempting to forge a writing career; clocking many months in institutions where he was given electroshock treatment and nearly lobotomized; and enjoying a late blooming of fame in middle age. But the most effective moments are the recitations of his poetry by an off-screen actor over gorgeous outdoor footage, as well as photos and home movies of the author. The film is deliberately paced and is probably not going to drive the uninitiated to devour Hauge's work. But it is a small achievement considering its modest budget and seemingly uncharismatic subject. —John Ervin
St. Anthony Main, April 26 at 12:30 p.m. and April 30 at 7 p.m.
April 16-30, 2009
St. Anthony Main: 115 Main St. SE, Mpls.; 612.331.4723
Oak Street Cinema: 309 Oak St. SE, Mpls.; 612.331.3134
$10 ($9 online; discounts at box office for students and seniors). Visit mspfilmfest.org for prices for opening- or closing-night films, 5- and 10-movie packages, and all-access Gold Passes.
Marcia (Natalia Oreiro) and Luciano (Germán Palacios) seem to have it all—a happy marriage, impossible good looks, a stable life together. When Luciano, a geologist, disappears in Patagonia, Marcia goes to look for him and is surprised by what she finds—a man who looks exactly like Luciano but who is living another life, with another wife. This 2008 film from Argentina directed by Sandra Gugliotta offers at least two possible explanations—this man is simply Luciano's twin or he is Luciano putting on a very good act. Either way, Marcia is drawn to him, and one is never quite sure of the truth, even though the ending tries to offer a pat explanation. Patagonia plays a key role in this film—its bleak but beautiful landscapes are an unforgiving snow-covered counterpoint to Marcia's complex emotional conflict. The film has a glacial pace—and Luciano's soulful Patagonia doppelganger seems devoid of any personality, so much so that Marcia is able to layer whatever traits she wants on him—but Oreiro's performance is rich with haunted possibility. Her discovery, or her compromise, depending on your perspective, is understandable in the face of certain loss. —Caroline Palmer
St. Anthony Main, April 26 at 7:55 p.m.
Like a bottled message cast from the shores of an economy whose implosion precipitated our own, Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Tokyo Sonata centers on Ryuhei (Teruyuki Kagawa), a 46-year-old middle manager for a health-care equipment company who learns that his entire department is being outsourced to China. Ryuhei guards the news from his wife, Megumi (the excellent Kyoko Koizumi), continuing to don his suit and tie for a daily triathlon of dead-end job interviews, soup-kitchen lunches, and afternoons whiled away at a public library. Meanwhile, Ryuhei's youngest son, Kenji, a bright-eyed sixth-grader, pockets his lunch money to pay for the piano lessons to which his dad has firmly said no, and, in a further affront to Ryuhei's already fragile masculine authority, eldest son Takashi calmly announces that he's joining the U.S. military. Like that most revered of Japanese directors, Yasujiro Ozu, Kurosawa (who's best known for his series of supernatural horror films) here uses the microcosm of family to reflect a changing Japanese society—one that he sees staggering awkwardly into the 21st century, weighed down by faltering notions of tradition and a profound lack of internal communication. Fittingly, when hope arrives, it does so guised in chaos, and we, like the characters on screen, perk up our heads to glimpse it. —Scott Foundas