Based on the bestselling novel by Jane Harper and directed by Robert Connolly, The Dry follows Aaron Falk (Eric Bana), a federal agent who returns to his hometown to investigate a gruesome homicide. What looks to be a murder-suicide, leaving a father, mother and son dead and an infant child an orphan, is slowly unraveling to be something quite different. Falk is no stranger to the community but is ultimately unwelcome given his connection to the mysterious death of a teenage girl some 20 years ago. The story alternates between the two mysteries as Falk finds himself trying to solve both.
An enthralling drama, perfectly paced, the mystery unfolds so methodically that it keeps its viewer enthralled. Eric Bana carries this movie beautifully. A must-see for any true crime fanatic.
Mickey (Sebastian Stan) and Chloe (Denise Gough) are two thirty-something American expats living abroad in Athens, Greece. On one alcohol-fueled night, they meet at a party and their attraction is instant. After waking up naked on the beach the next day, Mickey and Chloe are inseparable. Chloe decides to stay behind with Mickey and they give a romantic relationship ago. The story follows them on a series of Fridays all leading up to an important Monday when Mickey will be able to resume shared custody of his son.
Directed by Argyris Papadimitropoulos, Monday meanders, which matches its beach-side vibe but does not necessarily make for an engaging plot. Chloe and Mickey are complex characters which makes them interesting but they require a particular type of viewer to sympathize with them and their journey. With that said, Denise Gough is a fantastic actress and adds gravitas to an otherwise breezy story. Worth watching for her performance.
Any woman who has grown up in a culture that prizes male heirs over female children know all too well the pain of being a father’s disappointment. Diana had a great relationship with her Vietnamese father during her childhood in the Czech Republic. However, when, after three miscarriages, her mother finally got pregnant again, their relationship came to an abrupt end. Diana’s father left the family, looking to start again in hopes of continuing the bloodline with his name.
Love, Dad/Milý Tati is a heart-wrenching short film about a young girl who remembers her dad and the bond they had before it was cruelly taken away. It’s beautiful, poetic and deeply melancholic. Directed by Diana Cam Van Nguyen, it tells the story through letters, memories and gorgeous cut paper art.
I was quite moved by this 13 minute film. I’m the third of a string of daughters born to a man who desperately wanted a son. I was lucky that my father never expressed any form of disappointment in only having daughters but I did feel the pang of guilt when the family name died with him.
Love, Dad/Milý Tati premiered at the 2021 AFI Fest as part of their Shorts Competition.
Based in Mexico City, forensic cleaner Donovan Tavera does the work that few others are willing to do. With the highest respect for the deceased, Tavera will come into a home and clean up the aftermath, offering loved ones one of the final steps in the healing process. Directed by Louise Monlaü, The New York Times documentary short The Death Cleaner/El limpiador, paints a portrait of a unique businessman who offers a compassionate service. This short is available to watch on YouTube (player embedded below).
The Death Cleaner/El limpiador premiered at the 2021 AFI Fest as part of the Shorts Competition.
The confederate flag flies boldly in front of Edisto River Creamery & Kitchen in Orangeburg, South Carolina. In a time when other markers of the South’s confederate past were being torn down, the owner of the creamery sought to take down this confederate flag. However, the flag pole and its commemorative marker sit on a tiny plot of land owned by a vocal member of a local Sons of the Confederacy chapter. Meltdown in Dixie is a short documentary directed by Emily Harold, chronicles the legal battle that ensued between the flag opposer and the flag owner. The creamery is now permanently closed but during filming it was open and struggling with backlash from the local community. The documentary treads very carefully, not casting judgement on either side and giving everyone a platform to speak. If anything it offers an insight into a disturbing mindset that still persists today.
Meltdown in Dixie premiered at the 2021 AFI Fest as part of their Meet the Press programming.