The 2016 edition of BAMcinemaFest, the city’s premier indie-film showcase, begins tomorrow night, Wednesday the 15th, and continues through Sunday the 26th. Earlier, we introduced you to the local filmmakers featured in the program; below and on the following pages, our critics offer up their picks through the program’s opening weekend.
Directed by Ira Sachs
In addition to being a touching romance, Sachs’s previous film, Love is Strange, was also a kind of real-estate horror movie, with its two elderly main characters suddenly finding themselves homeless and forced to temporarily live apart after they’re evicted from their longtime New York City apartment. A similar anxiety stirs in his follow-up, Little Men, when Brian Jardine (Greg Kinnear) tries to evict Leonor (Paulina García), a Chilean single mother with a dressmaking business on the first floor of the building Brian and his wife (Jennifer Ehle) now own after Brian’s father dies. Many tense exchanges between the two parties follow… but the film is not so much about them as about their sons, Jake Jardine (Theo Taplitz) and Tony Calvelli (Michael Barbieri), who find their friendship—one with unspoken homoerotic tensions, at least on Jake’s end—tested by their parents’ conflict. As was the case with Love is Strange, Sachs observes these interpersonal dynamics with an evenhanded gaze, refusing to fully condemn any of his characters even when they act in selfish and untoward ways. Sachs’ style in both these films may be relatively more conventional than his earlier work, but thankfully his tender, warmhearted humanity has remained intact. Kenji Fujishima (Opening Night screening June 15, 7:30pm, with introduction by Sachs, Greg Kinnear, Taplitz and Barbieri, and reception to follow; a Magnolia Pictures release in theaters August 5)