Between the gap that once separated the mundane and the minute from the important and the serious there now exists a type of aesthetic experience that forms the link between them; art, under these circumstances, and within the purview of these films, becomes a peculiar form of psychotherapy.
The title of Cristian Mungius new film has the glint of a blighted promisethe ultimate tease. A huddled coldwater monastery is the setting of an ordeal ensnaring former orphan Alina, who has just returned to Romania in a stunted effort to defrock childhood friend Voichita. There are sins to absolve, demons to exorcise.
Vitalina Varela is Pedro Costas seventh narrative feature in 30 years. Watching Costa, one has the impression of someone who has been away for a while reflecting at length upon his experiences, and who every few years dispatches a report about the things hes seen. Theres an epochal sense at work: the hunch of arriving late, of getting older, and of taking stock once and for all.
Arriving with nearly 50 color plates and three essays by editors Toby Kamps, Steve Seid, and by contributor Jenni Sorkin, Silence is the companion to an eponymously exhibition co-organized by the Menil Collection in Houston and the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. At nearly 100 pages, it is a solemn, handsomely produced affair.