The films of Matias Piñeiro are, we are told, above all other things “clever”. Arthouse confections structured, however loosely, as riffs on Shakespeare’s plays, the Argentinian-born director’s works straddle a line between creative reimaginings and film school twee. Hermia and Helena is my first Piñeiro (grain of salt and all that), but if it’s any indication, I’m coming down decidedly on the side of the latter.
Sieranevada is a chronicle of false starts and interruptions. Clocking in at nearly three hours and rarely venturing out of a single, cramped apartment, writer/director Cristi Puiu‘s ultra-realist epic of Romanian family dysfunction is simultaneously hilarious and insufferable, filled with complicated interpersonal back-stories, old grudges, and meals that can’t seem to get started.
After some kind words about our fair city and an enthusiastic celebration of the communal theater experience he holds so dear, Gray closed it out by saying:
Well, that’s probably enough.
Brillante Mendoza‘s films, social realist to the core, tend to focus on marginalized people in Manila struggling to get by in gritty circumstances. The prolific Filipino auteur (24 credits in 11 years) won the Best Director award at Cannes for his Kinatay, and the electrifying Ma’ Rosa continues in a similar thematic vein.