We saw a few movies lately and you should see them too.
Dim Sum Funeral— a Chinese-American mother dies and her four squabbling children have to endure each other for a traditional week-long funeral. Naturally they learn more about each other than they wanted to (though, as the film was made by Canadians rather than Europeans, this turns out not to be as grim as it sounds). Features the cutest lesbian couple ever.
Sita Sings the Blues— Nina Paley’s Flash-animated melding of the Ramayana, ’20s blues singer Annette Hanshaw, and her own personal story, the common theme being the inscrutability of love and heartbreak. Absolutely delightful. One of the highlights is the narration, provided by three modern Indians who half-remember the story. Sita and the blues go together surprisingly well; Nina’s personal story remains perhaps too mysterious.
The Soloist— The true story of an LA Times columnist, Steve Lopez, who befriends a homeless street musician, Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, who studied at Julliard but was torn apart by schizophrenia. I was expecting something soppy, but it’s nicely hard-headed, portraying the columnist as a bit of an asshole (though a well-meaning one), and not skimping on the musician’s dysfunctionality. An attempt to visualize the music is a bit risible, but fortunately doesn’t last long. Lopez’s original articles are quite interesting and offer more nuance than the film (e.g. explaining in more detail why treatment can’t be forced on people).