by Dan Gibson
While you may have missed Griffin Dunne and the Heavy Metal Parking Lot guys, there's still a lot of film left in the canisters at the Loft this week, as their film festival runs through Thursday.
Milk of Sorrows:
This haunting, powerful and exquisitely original allegory details the lingering trauma from the decades-long conflict in Peru and takes its theme from the psychological belief that a mother’s sorrow is passed to her children through her milk — “la teta austada” (or “milk of sorrow”). Told through the daily life of a beautiful, enigmatically silent maid named Fausta, whose mother has suddenly and unexpectedly died, the film uses subtle magical realism and poetic imagery to explore how violence continues to affect a second generation of women. Though the war is long over, Fausta continues to battle and confront the fears that robbed her of her childhood and her sense of physical self, and she must face the sorrowful secret that is hidden inside of her. Fausta, in her simple ways, becomes the embodiment and metaphor of hope for all these women and their collective, fear-based trauma. In THE MILK OF SORROW, Peruvian director Claudia Llosa (Made in USA) has created a truly unique and moving cinematic experience, balancing grave subject matter with an elegant lyricism and unexpected bursts of comedy.
Set in the New York City of today, but in a grimier, more unfriendly version than the one glimpsed in modern Hollywood films, DADDY LONGLEGS is the story of a Manhattan projectionist, Lenny (Ronald Bronstein), who has custody of his two sons (Sage and Frey Ranaldo) for two weeks a year. Though perhaps one of the worst non-horror film fathers ever featured in a movie, Lenny is also entirely compelling and at least partially empathetic, thanks to the intimate camerawork and Bronstein’s excellent performance. The comedy comes almost entirely from Lenny, who at times resembles a louder and more ornery version of Woody Allen, and when the film is funny, it’s often very funny. A real sense of danger enters the picture when Lenny’s unorthodox parenting comes to the fore. As an added bonus, DADDY LONGLEGS also features what is easily the best dream sequence in years. It’s rare to see a first film that so effortlessly hits so many notes, but Josh and Ben Safdie, working from autobiographical material, have made a film that feels true.