The Return (Vozvrashcheniye)
Dir. Andrei Zvyagintsev; writ. Vladimir Moiseyenko, Aleksandr Novototsky; feat. Vladimir Garin, Ivan Dobronravov, Konstantin Lavronenko, Natalya Vdovina (NR)
Vanya and Andrey are brothers who have spent their youth without a father. One day he shows up out of the blue, having been gone for 12 years, and convinces the boys' mother to let him take them on a fishing vacation so the trio can catch up on lost time.
Things go south quickly: Dad's ideas about how to connect with his kids are questionable, eventually provoking uneasiness and even fear in the boys - although Andrey is working harder to give him the benefit of the doubt, causing a strain with the more wary Vanya. The farther the family gets from civilization, the tenser the situation grows.
Critics and audiences have been impressed with the tale's ability to generate suspense, but many critics see deeper things as well. Dave Kehr, in The New York Times, compared the fable-like tale to the mysticism of Russian master Andrei Tarkovsky. The film will get a regular run in Austin, but to date has no scheduled booking in San Antonio - making TPR's screening the only chance for SA to see one of the year's most intriguing foreign films. — John DeFore
The Return screens at 7:30 p.m., June 22 as part of Texas Public Radio's "Cinema Tuesdays" series, at the Bijou at Crossroads Theater. Admission is $10 members / $12 non-members. 614-8977 or tpr.org for reservations.
The Dreamlife of Angels
Dir. Erick Zonca; writ. Erick Zonca; feat. Elodie Bouchez, Natacha Régnier, Grégoire Colin (NR)
Isa and Marie are 20-year-olds in Lille, France. They both live solitary lives but have very different personalities. Isa is generous and optimistic, traveling from place to place and taking a new odd job at each one. Marie is angry and somewhat unsociable. Her situation comes more from her inability to fit in than from a free spirit. Built on rich dialogue and photography, and acting that accentuates the characters moods and feelings, this film has been a hit at the Cannes, New York, and Toronto International film festivals. — Eric Bradshaw
The Dreamlife of Angels screens at 4 p.m. Sunday, June 20, and 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 23 as part of the Instituto de México's "Ciclo de Cine Internacional" series, at the Instituto, 600 Hemisfair. Admission is free. 227-0123 for more information.
Out of the Closet, Off the Screen: The Life & Times of William Haines
Dir. Fenton Baily, Randy Barbato; writ. Gabrielle Rotello; feat. Chris Allen, Stockard Channing, Christopher Lawford, Herb Gore, Bod Wildman (NR)
William Haines, one of Hollywood's biggest actors between 1926 and 1935 in both silent and talking pictures, is the subject of this film. Several bad pictures hurt Haines' career and though he was given the chance at a comeback, it was on onerous terms: He had to marry a certain actress and give up his male lover, Jimmy Shields. Unwilling to do this, Haines was finally kicked out of Tinseltown, but ended up having what Joan Crawford called, "The happiest marriage in Hollywood." — Eric Bradshaw
Out of the Closet, Off the Screen screens at 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 21 as part of the Diversity Center's "Profiles in Pride" series, at the Sweet Bean Café, 2300 N. St. Mary's. Admission is free. 223-6106 for more information.