One of the discoveries of the 2012 Tribeca Film Fest, Andrew Seman’s first feature “Nancy, Please” (at the reRun Gastropub Theater in Dumbo, May 24-30) takes a crisis in grad school life as the basis for a mock thriller that, depending on your sense of the condition known as OCD, may be experienced as either funny or horrifying.
MOVIE JOURNAL: J. Hoberman on movies and movie-related things
Rialto Pictures, which specializes in forgotten French films from the ‘50s and ‘60s, has recovered another lost gem, or rather semi-precious stone, in the 1956 comedy of occupied France “A Pig Across Paris” (“La Traversée de Paris”), directed by Claude Autant-Lara from a story by the fantasist writer Marcel Aymé, playing in a fresh, newly-subtitled and restored DCP at Film Forum (May 24-30).
The third feature by China’s first Tibetan filmmaker, Pema Tseden, “Old Dog”—screening at the Museum of Modern Art daily from May 15 through May 20 as part of their excellent series “Chinese Realities/ Documentary Visions”—is a spare documentary fiction, or situation documentary, with strong intimations of allegory.
Life is a cabaret, old sport, or maybe halftime at the Super Bowl in Baz Luhrmann’s overhyped and overheated 3D adaptation of “The Great Gatsby”—the fifth time Hollywood has taken on the 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald novel that many consider the greatest novel in the American language.
Canada’s erstwhile “sweetheart,” the former child star, sometime political activist, doggedly independent Sarah Polley excavates her tangled family history in this verbose but generally fascinating documentary hybrid—part home movie, part psychodrama, part reconstruction, part investigation, and part meta-narrative.
A fixture at Cannes and a disciple of Eric Rohmer, Hong Sang-soo is not only the most consistent of South Korean directors but, as I’ve said, the most Frenchified. He’s already set one of his 14 features, the 2008 “Night and Day” in Paris; “In Another Country” (newly out on DVD from Kino Lorber) brings France to the sleepy Korean resort town that seems to be Hong’s favorite setting, in the person of the great, apparently ageless Isabelle Huppert.
A youthful movie in more ways than one, Olivier Assayas’s “Something in the Air” evokes an irretrievable past even as it manages to embody the total excitement of a particular historical moment and even, self-reflexively, the trajectory of the French director’s career. This quasi-autobiographical evocation of student politics and European hippie counterculture circa 1971 is also a crypto sequel or perhaps a prequel to “Cold Water”, the extended party movie with which Assayas made his reputation in the mid ‘90s.
A documentary case study of Aquarian Age mysticism, “The Source Family” (opening May 1 at the IFC and VOD thereafter) confounds the conventional cult narrative with its “happy ending”—and thereby inspires a bit of boredom.