BAMcinemaFest, which kicks off its tenth year tonight, has become a real money- and time-saver for New Yorkers – it saves you the expense of traveling to the spring film festivals, instead bringing the best of those fests to Brooklyn. This year’s slate includes the New York premieres of new films from the directors of Winter’s Bone and The Wolfpack, plus a dizzying array of four-star indies from Sundance, SXSW, Full Frame, and True/False. It all starts tonight with the bonkers opening night movie Sorry to Bother You (our Sundance review is here) and continues through July 1st; here are a few titles we heartily recommend.
Leave No Trace (Centerpiece)
Will (Ben Foster) and daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie) have been living off the grid for longer than we know, and the fascinating early sections of the new drama by Winter’s Bone director Debra Granik are mostly concerned with their rituals and routines: how they live in the woods, dependent only on each other, running occasional discovery “drills” that amount to games of hide and seek, but with much higher stakes. One day, inevitably, it’s not a drill – and after a period of separation, they find themselves living a life of something like normalcy. It punctures their bond, ever so slightly but irrevocably, and the push-pull of retreat vs. adaptation provides Granik with her juicy central conflict. Foster’s performance is a model of control (he spends much of the film totally reserved, yet right on the edge of panic) and McKenzie is an extraordinary discovery, carrying the picture’s trickiest moments, as the only person in the relationship capable of articulating its delicate truths.