Juanita Wilson’s “The Door” (Ireland, 17m), is a broodingly photographed, icy heart-pounder of a family’s exit from their home after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine. “Instead of Abracadabra,” by Patrik Eklund (Sweden, 22m) is a wide-angle variation on contemporary Nordic film comedy; Tomas (Simon J. Berger) still lives at home, after failing at his dreams of becoming a proper magician. Berger’s portrayal of the fumbling figure amuses. In Luke Doolan’s “Miracle Fish” (Australia, 17m), a 2009 Sundance entrant, a clever-if-tricksy story of an 8-year-old’s birthday wishes for a world without people that seems to have come true. “Kavi” (US-India, 19m), director Gregg Helvey’s USC thesis project, follows an Indian boy who wants to go to school and play cricket is forced to work as a slave in a brick kiln. Neatly constructed activist fiction. Joachim Back’s “The New Tenants” (Denmark-US, 20m), written by Anders Thomas Jensen (“Open Hearts,” “Brothers,” “Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself”) is a gratifyingly cynical dark comedy that starts with “We are just fucked beyond all measure” and “Gross, you just gave her dead-guy flour” and moves to unplanned romance and opportunities for ripe performance. It’s like a 1970s movie from a clever parallel universe. With Kevin Corrigan, David Rakoff, Vincent D’Onofrio, Liane Balaban, Helen Hanft, Jamie Harrold. Program 95m. (Ray Pride)
“Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live Action” opens Friday at Landmark Century.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.