Movie Diary 5/24/2022

I’m on a jury for the Brooklyn Film Festival again this year, watching 12 competition movies; as in previous years, I thought I’d list them without making evaluative comments here (the festival begins on June 3, and we haven’t voted yet).

Balloon Animal (Em Johnson, 2021, USA). A coming-of-age tale for a circus performer, a young woman whose father runs the circus. Is there life after being a magician’s assistant and a purveyor of balloon animals?

Dreamlife (Melvin Moti, 2020, Netherlands). A man submits to a sensory-deprivation experience deep in a cave, a situation that allows the movie to utilize a battery of disorienting effects.

Learn to Swim (Thyone Tommy, 2021, Canada). A Toronto jazz musician navigates various difficulties in a non-linear portrait that plays with surrealism.

Pour l’amour (Andrzej Mańkowski, 2021, Poland). A woman in an unhappy marriage with a drunken husband finds little help from the local clergyman – but the internet offers an escape, of sorts.

Ragged Heart (Evan McNary, 2021, USA). In the music scene of Athens, GA, a promising young singer dies, leaving her burned-out father and others to what to do with their loss – and the song she left behind.

Shambala (Artykpai Suyundukov, 2021, Kyrgyzstan). The vagaries of a fatherless childhood, in this case set in the midst of a stunningly beautiful foresty countryside.