Braden King’s first fiction feature, “HERE,” is an oblique but uncommonly mature romance between adults, set in the expanses of Armenia, as an American cartographer (Ben Foster) works to match the lay of the land with the eye in the sky, to choreograph Google Maps and his own wanderlust. He meets an Armenian photographer (Lubna Azabal) who’s returned from her larger world of Parisian galleries and artistic dreams. “Big world, small country,” she says wryly on their second-chance meeting. Co-written and directed by former Chicagoan Braden King—once a bartender at Ukrainian Village’s Rainbo Club—and scored by Michael Krassner and Califone’s Tim Rutili, “HERE” has an ambling, aleatory quality as they traverse a gorgeous, little-populated landscape. Their nuanced emotional and sexual grappling—wistful, hopeful—is marked by suddenness and surprise, as fleeting as clouds, as inevitable as dusk and dawn. It’s as intimate as conversation, as flickering as a smile, as tender as a crushed heart. The beautiful photography is celluloid glory; cinematographer Lol Crowley’s credits include “Ballast.” 126m. 35mm widescreen. (Ray Pride)
“HERE” plays Saturday and Wednesday at Siskel.
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.