Arts Reporter Steve Walker reviews three new films, Alamar, Last Train Home and Nowhere Boy.
Alamar (Screenland Crown Center)
Though the subjects of Pedro Gonzales-Rubio's movie are real people playing themselves, the beautiful film transcends both documentary and narrative forms.
Five-year-old Natan is the charismatic result of a love affair between his Italian mother and Mexican-Mayan father. The film chronicles his annual summertime visit to his father and grandfather, fishermen who live in a modest house on stilts ner the gorgeous Chinchorro reefs.
The movie has such a tranquil yet hypnotic pace that it will make you consider chucking your 9-to-5 for a job cleaning boats and catching lobsters with your bare hands. - Steve Walker
Last Train Home (Tivoli)
Every Chinese New Year, millions of Chinese factory workers leave the huge cities where they're employed and return to their rural hometowns. It's as much of a strain on China's rail system as it is each individual family, like the one profiled in Lixin Fan's extraordinary documentary.
The parents work in a garment factory and have left behind with grandma two teenagers: a boy with a good attitude who is doing pretty well in school and a 16-year-old girl who is so restless and angry that she deliberately breaks her parents' hearts and leaves her village for a back-breaking job herself.
Though your emotions will be twisted in numerous directions, the film makes clear that the onus of poverty is cyclical. - Steve Walker
Nowhere Boy (Tivoli and Glenwood @ Red Bridge)
Female director and artist Sam Taylor-Wood dissects the tumultuous teenage years of John Lennon (Aaron Johnson) with a slight of hand gently cocked toward Greek mythology.
Lennon was taken from his chaotic biological mother (Ann-Marie Duff) at a young age and raised by his stoic but loving Aunt Mimi (Kristen Scott-Thomas). While the former encourages his musicianship (and, it seems, his underage drinking), the latter does indeed come around, and it becomes obvious that both ladies left scars.
Though Johnson looks too buff and contemporary to be a believable Lennon, Scott-Thomas gives a lovely performance as a woman torn between unconditional love and parental instincts. - Steve Walker