MOVIES | IN THEATERS NOW

Three from this year’s Sundance: “A NEW KIND OF WILDERNESS”; “THE BLEACHER” and “ALL WE CARRY”

“A NEW KIND OF WILDERNESS”
Director: Silje Evensmo Jacobsen

A tear-jerking documentary follows an Englishman living a pristine life in the Norwegian forest with his wife and family. However, when the matriarch succumbs to cancer, the family must decide how to honor her wishes to remain on the land as the children begin to come of age. A battle between modernity and a more idyllic life is fought not only for the family itself but for a disappearing way of life (featured image: still from the film).

 

“THE BLEACHER”
Dir: Adam Wilder, Nicole Daddona

A genuinely trippy animated short follows a woman pursuing a lost sock in a laundromat machine. That’s about all the plot you’ll get, but the experimental nature of directors Wilder and Daddona ensures the viewer a pleasing and rather wild ride of fantasy.

 

“ALL WE CARRY” (San Francisco Jewish Film Festival WinterFest 2024)
Director: Cady Voge

Cable news pundits are fond of screaming about the border, and politicians love to stoke the outrage. Documentarian Cady Voge has made a fascinating and sweet film about a young couple from Honduras, Magdiel and Mirna, who trekked through Central America and Mexico to the U.S. border, where they were apprehended and processed. Mirna has a relative in Seattle, so the couple and their young son Joshua settle there, awaiting their immigration hearing for asylum. It would take years. Without papers or legal status, the couple cannot work. Thus, they are aided by the generosity of their neighbors and a local synagogue that funnels food, clothes, and, for Magdiel, handyman odd jobs to stay afloat.

Magdiel and Mirna have never met Jewish people before, and several of the congregation are themselves only one generation removed from Holocaust victims and/or survivors who came to America—so despite their differing religions, a common humanity is shared. One of the synagogue members allows them to live rent-free in a house he owns, granting them a measure of security few other migrants know. Their son Joshua attends school, and Mirna becomes pregnant again. The couple has disputes about money, and Mirna wishes they might attend therapy together, but Magdiel resists, perhaps unwilling to face the trauma foisted upon him by his father’s murder in Honduras by narco-traffickers. Meanwhile, they learn English as best they can, make friends, and celebrate holidays—and endure COVID-19—just like the rest of us, all the while awaiting their day in court.

Voge has made a wonderful document, taking the waves and waves of immigrants seeking a better life in America and distilling it down to one lovely family. If these were the types of stories shared instead of the crime-riddled scare tactics favored by talking heads, the necessary debate over immigration might be different, but here we are. This is an outstanding film. The next showing of “ALL WE CARRY” is at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival’s WinterFest during February 24-25.