Playing Catch Up

The Lunchbox
The problem with seeing a film right before it closes is that there’s little immediate impetus to write about it. That’s the only problem with The Lunchbox, which is a wonderful, gentle, and yet frustrating film because of its poignancy.

Who knew that a mistaken delivery could have such consequences? My favorite quote from the film is, “Sometimes the wrong train takes you to the right destination.” And, so it is.

It’s not dismissive to say that it’s a bit like a less heartbreaking, Indian version of Wong Kar Wai’s masterful film In the Mood for Love. I have enough love for both of these films. No DVD release date has been announced, but The Lunchbox is well worth the wait.

The Lunchbox

Finding Vivian Maier
If you’re interested in street photography, character studies, or mysterious documentaries, this film will more than hold your interest. Co-director John Maloof (working on the film with Charlie Siskel) bought a treasure trove of negatives and worked to track down the mysterious woman who took them over decades and decades.

Only when he finds an obituary for Vivian Maier and starts tracking down some of the families she worked for as a nanny does the story begin to take shape. Even with the fascinating pieces Maloof uncovers and shares, Vivian Maier maintains some of her secrecy and mystery even as her photographs are printed and appreciated by an ever-growing audience.

Would someone who worked as hard as Maier did to maintain her privacy want this exposure? The evidence is mixed about whether or not she would have shared her art if the reception she is receiving now were guaranteed before, but it seems more than likely that she would have been horrified by what others have to say about her and by the lengths Maloof has gone to in trying to piece her story together.

While incomplete, the result is not overly speculative, and the film is as satisfying in its own way as her evocative photographs. Highly recommended.

Vivian Maier

This is basically the story of a man talking on the phone during an hour and a half journey. Writer-director Steven Knight (known for writing gritty films like Dirty Pretty Things and Eastern Promises) pulls off a compelling story under enormous self-imposed constraints. Lots of credit goes to Tom Hardy in a remarkable performance as Ivan Locke, a man facing multiple crises at work and on the domestic front, and to cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos for keeping things visually interesting inside the car. Locke is definitely worth seeing.



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