CULTURE

Low-key wins over steamy sex

«Eager Bodies,» by Frenchman Xavier Giannoli, depicts a love triangle: Under the surface you see the female in different roles; erotic (a woman falls in love), bowed by pain (cancer driving her crazy), poised for a fight (the jealousy of a betrayed woman). «Little Men,» by Nariman Turbayev, relates the «death» of two small-time crooks on the streets of Kazakhstan’s capital, Almaty. They realize the bankruptcy of their dreams as they take advantage of the gullible to sell stolen goods. «Anna and the Others,» by Argentina’s Celina Murga, shows young Ana’s return to her hometown. There is almost no action at all in this very low-key film, with its strong undercurrents and highly specific location. The 30-year-old director never loses sight of her heroine as she gradually builds up a climactic chronicle of a quest where the journey itself is more significant than the result. «The Brown Bunny,» by America’s Vincent Gallo – provocative on the surface conservative in reality – shows biker Bud Clay reaching the end of a silent journey around America like a desperate angel ready to humiliate his wife. He flaunts his penis in an over-the-top oral sex scene because he holds his wife responsible for the breakup of his family. «Before Things Change,» by Portugal’s Luis Fonseca, begins forcefully: It shows a divorced woman, mother of two, who bares her soul in front of Fonseca’s camera. The film is both direct and richly narrative as it weaves among the debris of a broken home. «Girlie,» by Czech Benjamin Tucek, looks at the relationship between a 17-year-old fatherless girl and her mother. Young Ema wanders the city streets at night, flirting and commenting on everything and everyone, while her mother bows under the weight of loneliness and futility. A somewhat chaotic film that is saved by the heroine’s youthful freshness and the plot’s modern narrative.