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A Separation

“He is a good, decent person,” a woman says about the man sitting next to her.

Project X

Imagine, if you will, the late youth-comedy specialist John Hughes making a movie about the Vandals invading and sacking fifth-century Rome, combined with a suburban-kids-level comic version of Nathaniel West’s Day of the Locust, and you’ve got a rough idea of what Nima Nourizadeh’s Project X is like. The vandals here are an almost wholly white mob of ostentatiously over-privileged adolescents in an LA suburb, and it isn’t Rome they trash (modified-limited spoiler alert!) but a residential block in North Pasadena.

Treeless Mountain

The best thing about this second feature by Korean-American filmmaker So Yong Kim is less what it does as what it doesn’t do: It takes a potentially bathetic situation but avoids playing it for sentimentality. It follows what appears to be a year in the lives of two young girls living in Seoul. Jin (Hee-yeon Kim) is six years old and enjoys being in school, even if she already has been shouldered with the responsibility of getting her younger sister Bin (Song-hee Kim) home from day care. Their mother (Soo Ah Lee) is unable to cope, and so she sets off to find the girls’ long-absent father, leaving them in the hands of his sister (Mi Hyang Kim).

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