Indie Beat: Much Ado About Summer Movies (But Not Those Kind!)

U.S. Editor; Los Angeles, California (@benumstead)
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My summer movie season started two weekends ago when I saw Before Midnight twice in two days, and continued in earnest this past Sunday with Carlos Reygadas beguiling Post Tenebras Lux (which, if you live in LA, and want something challenging, I urge you to see at Cinefamily before it leaves this Thursday). The next movie I really want to see is Man of Steel. Heck, I'm sure most of us really want to see Man of Steel. Now, of course I am going to sound like a broken record in saying this, but... there's a lot more out there than Man of Steel. Obviously.

So today at Indie Beat, I'd like to highlight five independent films I find readily fascinating and that just may be worth your time and dollars. The selection is a mix of flicks that are making one last lap 'round the festival circuit before getting a release, and a few that will very soon be seeing a limited theatrical release and/or a VOD release in the U.S. Some of these films are rather sweet and gentle, others are bitter and dark. All feel authentic in their various tenors of voice and world and character building. For being authentic to one's vision is as close as we're going to get to being original in this day and age. I think that is actually a rather extraordinary and lovely thing, and also probably a conversation to have another day.   

For those of you that live outside the U.S. or are not near one of the fests mentioned, please let us know in the comments some of the alternative choices that you are excited to catch in your neck of the woods.  

Exit Elena

Nathan Silver’s second feature is a dark comedy that teeters on the fine line between the personal and professional. Kia Davis as Elena, a newly trained live-in nursing aide, brings a weighted and tempered curiosity and all too comical (and thus very human) reluctance to the proceedings. Cindy Silver as Elena’s employer just wants to be her friend, or more dangerously so, a surrogate mother. Silver’s film (which he co-wrote with Davis) hits particularly close to home for on several fronts, from the personal to the professional, thus proving that, heck, there may be no fine line at all, it’s just all awkwardly mashed together. In the tradition of late Bunuel absurdities and the forthright, often times brutal humanity of John Cassavetes, Exit Elena tackles being young and getting old, being alone and getting desperate with a sensitivity and care that is impressive -- undoubtedly, one of my favorites this year.

Exit Elena opens at the reRun in Brooklyn, July 12th and also plays Lincoln Center's Indie Night, July 25th

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