Screening Room: ‘Don’t Call Me Son’

Don’t Call Me Son, the newest film from Anna Muylaert (last year’s incredible The Second Mother), is playing now in limited release. My review is at PopMatters:

The routine for 17-year-old Pierre (Naomi Nero) appear fixed as Anna Muylaert’s Don’t Call Me Son (Mãe Só Há Uma) begins. Each day, shark-like, he fulfills one urge and then the next, dozing through school, ignoring his mother’s motor-mouthed manias, jamming with an amateur garage band, going out to dance, and hooking up with girls. It’s a familiar set-up in stories about adolescents. However, Muylaert breaks up expectations by dropping a provocative twist into the opening scene where, as Pierre has sex with a girl in a nightclub bathroom, the camera makes a point of noticing the garters he’s wearing…

Here’s the trailer:

Screening Room: ‘Aquarius’

aquarius1

In the newest film from Brazilian director Kleber Mendonça Filho (Neighboring Sounds), Sonia Braga plays a retired writer trying to fight off the developers who want to demolish her cozy beachside building and all the memories it contains.

Aquarius, which was part of the just-concluded New York Film Festival, is playing now in limited release. My review is at PopMatters:

The heroine of Aquarius sees the whole world as a stage for her to command. It’s a testament to Sonia Braga’s control that she doesn’t turn this character into a domineering bore, even as she’s at the center of an overly spacious and repetitive narrative with too little to occupy herself…

Here’s the trailer:

New in Theaters: ‘The Salt of the Earth’

One of Sebastio Salgado's iconic photographs in 'The Salt of the Earth' (Sony Pictures Classics)
One of Sebastio Salgado’s iconic photographs in ‘The Salt of the Earth’ (Sony Pictures Classics)

Given a brief Academy Awards run late last year, Wim Wenders’ magisterial documentary about photographer Sebastio Salgado is finally getting a proper theatrical release this week.

My review is at Film Journal International:

“A photographer,” Wim Wenders intones at the start of his elegantly respectful documentary on Sebastião Salgado, “is literally somebody painting with light.” This definition sounds grand, to be sure. But the act of creation that Wenders captures here doesn’t quite seem to resemble painting. Salgado’s work is in some ways the definition of high-concept photography. His rich, lusciously layered, black-and-white shots of teeming gold mine workers, refugees streaming across a desert, or a line of penguins flinging themselves off a glacier are so elegantly composed as to almost defy reality…

Here’s the trailer: