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Brothers from space and the healing power of ramen: Two indie flicks to see this weekend

'The Brother from Another Planet'

'The Brother from Another Planet'

We're late getting this piece out, but here are two weird and wonderful flicks screening this weekend.

Ramen Shop
Landmark Theaters
One week starting April 26

Ramen Shop (2018, Japanese) explores the beefs that split families apart, and how food makes everything better.

After his parents die, Kazuo (Tsuyoshi Ihara) dares to squash all family animosity in order to bring those that are still around closer together. He travels Japan to find grandmothers and uncles who want to shoo him and the pain away, but Kazuo wants to learn what happened in the family and how to cook the dishes he remembers from the good times.

Director Eric Khoo walks that fine line of familial love and hate, exploring the passions that bind a family and overpower it like the ingredients holding a recipe together.

The Brother from Another Planet
Trylon Cinema

7 and 9:15 p.m. Friday, April 26
7 and 9:15 p.m. Saturday, April 27
3 and 5:15 p.m. Sunday, April 28

The deep pettiness of surface-level social racism has always been fertile and funny ground; most interactions can be seen as wildly absurd with just the slightest step back.

Defiantly independent filmmaker John Sayles took to this often tense terrain to provide a release valve  with The Brother from Another Planet (1984), a comedy about an alien slave on the run from his overlords in New York City.

The alien, who is a black man and called "The Brother," is wholly naive to the cultural mores of American racism -- and he's mute to boot. As little indignities happen upon him, he doesn't register the slight and responds peculiarly, rendering the whole racist interaction as silliness.

This leads to poignant moments questioning cruel social convention, as well as belly laughs about the little innocent things we all do but never think about. This happening all while The Brother is trying to escape slave owners who want to bring him back.

The comedy and criticism hinge on the performance of Joe Morton, who plays The Brother with a wide range of an alien animalism and human delicacy.