Hoberman: Highlights From “New Directors/New Films,” Including SXSW Winner “Gimme the Loot”

Hoberman: Highlights From “New Directors/New Films,” Including SXSW Winner “Gimme the Loot”
Film still from "Las Acacias"
(Courtesy Alta Definicion Argentina)

“New Directors/New Films,” the annual Museum of Modern Art-Film Society of Lincoln Center showcase for emerging artists, opens tonight at MOMA with "Where Do We Go Now?", a Lebanese musical that puts a contemporary spin on Aristophanes's "Lysistrata." As usual, ND/NF is rich in movies that have accrued kudos at various festivals en route to New York.

“Las Acacias,” winner of the Camera d’Or for best first film last May at Cannes, is an excellent example of what I’d call a sit-doc. Argentine director Pablo Giorgelli put his camera inside a truck making the thousand-mile trip from Asuncion, Paraguay to Buenos Aires, to tell the story (or perhaps the parable) of a gruff teamster engaged to transport an illegal Madonna and child across international boundaries. Screening Thursday, March 22, at Lincoln Center and Saturday, March 24, at MOMA, it’s a road movie without music or fast cutting and acting that’s synonymous with being.

A movie that’s all about acting, Adam Leon’s first feature "Gimme the Loot" won the feature competition last week at SXSW. As reported here, it’s a funny, smart-mouthed, high-energy comedy about Bronx graffiti writers that’s less a remake of the ‘80s indie hit “Wild Style” than a movie in the doomed caper tradition of “Big Deal on Madonna Street.” Not without some dubious stereotypes, the movie transcends them thanks to Leon’s adroit direction and infectious self-enjoyment of its ensemble cast. It’s showing Friday at Lincoln Center and Sunday afternoon at MOMA and, since SXSW, has been picked up for distribution by IFC/Sundance.

Finally, Welsh director Gareth Huw Evans’s Jakarta-set, high concept, ultra violent action flick "The Raid: Redemption" has been revving up audiences at every festival where it’s scorched the screen (Toronto, Sundance, SXSW). It will be doing the same Thursday at MOMA and Lincoln Center in advance of Friday’s opening. I’ll have a bit more to say about it before then.

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