As with the myth to which its title alludes, the film Prometheus involves man’s origins, punishment and suffering. And as he proved in his 1979 Alien, to which this is a loose prequel, director Ridley Scott has an array of deeply disturbing ways to attack, invade, and incubate the human body while asking vital questions.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World answers the question: what will two sensitive individuals do as an asteroid takes dead aim at Earth, 21 days and counting before the end? Insurance salesman Dodge and distraught apartment neighbor Penny grapple with the doomsday scenario in ways consistent with their very different personalities.
The Japanese film I Wish is a quiet, meandering, meticulously observed study told through the eyes of two brothers in a Japanese family separated for six months. Twelve-year-old Koichi lives with his mother and grandparents while in a different city younger Ryu lives with his aspiring, musician father. The boys long to reunite.
Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog follows a fictionalized yellow Labrador Quill, named for a dark, feather shaped mark on his left side. Introduced as a puppy, Quill moves to a trainer for a year and then on to his owner, to demonstrations for school children, and at 12 to his final days.
The noisy, fierce French film Polisse powerfully captures the world of a Parisian Child Protection Unit: camaraderie and conflicts, triumphs and tragedies. This crime drama focuses on the entire group of detectives who party as hard as they work in an episodic story with nonstop action sporting the energy of The Shield and the sobering perspective of The Wire.
Director Corinna Belz’s documentary Gerhard Richter Painting features exactly that: this famous, 79-year-old German artist continuing to produce his unique, creative canvases. Sandwiched in between extensive footage of Richter working in his Cologne atelier, Belz includes snippets from a 1966 interview, a few select exhibitions, and assorted comments.
In Where Do We Go Now? Lebanese writer/director Nadine Labaki performs a high-wire balancing act. Reacting to the May 2008 eruption of hostilities in Beirut, she decided to make a film not about war but about ways to avoid war.
Helping his sister JR move her things from Pennsylvania to Boston, Colin participates fully in the insulting, juvenile bickering that dredges up their pasts and mocks their futures. Even as The Color Wheel captures the pulse, anxieties, and modest dreams of these 20-somethings, it fails to do more than portray two adrift, unpleasant individuals.
Some exceedingly rare films speak honestly and poignantly about the human condition. Fewer works still present children with accuracy and insight. One such extraordinary film is French Canadian director and screenwriter Philippe Felardeau’s Monsieur Lazhar.