Oblivion (2009) directed by Heddy HonigmannWow. I plucked this out almost out of the blue. I had just talked up Honigmann's Forever, so I decided this doc would be one to see (and it fit in before Tokyo Sonata.) This absolutely charming documentary about Peru as told by the people who live and work around the Presidential Palace in Lima, totally reminded me how subtly brilliant a doc can be. The film opens with a charismatic bar tender fix the national drink of Peru (the Pisco Sour) while he ruminates about the politics of Peru. He equated the recent presidential elections to having to chose between Hepatitis B and AIDS. (The people chose Hepatitis B.) Oblivion did the same thing for Peru as The Big Durian did for Malaysia: put a very gentle human face on the entire country despite imperfections. Each interview and each testimonial offered another piece of the puzzle. Honigmann has an instinct for making the camera (and the presence of the filmmaker) disappear, and making the most personal and eloquent docs. You have one more chance to see Oblivion: don't miss it Wednesday, April 29 at 7:15pm. Highly Recommended.
Tokyo Sonata (2008) directed by Kiyoshi KurosawaAnother semi-full disclosure: I am a big Kiyoshi Kurosawa fan. I've been dying to see this film. Kurosawa's last three films have not been his best, especially Loft. However. His nine features prior to those were nothing short of genius in my book. Tokyo Sonata finds Kurosawa back in very fine form indeed. I'm not going to say too much about the film, because I am being lazy and I will write more later, but Sonata takes the best of Kurosawa the dramatist and the best of Kurosawa the surrealist to make a very amazing film. Tokyo Sonata opens here on May 15. I will be there to see it again! Highly Recommended.