Manana is tired of her family, and one day walks out and gets her own apartment. Everyone tells her this is unacceptable and ridiculous and she’ll come crawling back, but she does not. She still sees her husband and kids and parents, reluctantly, but mostly keeps to herself even when home. Remarkably, the movie allows this to happen, doesn’t condemn or destroy her.

Michael Sicinski on letterboxd:

Nana & Simon’s choice to spatialize Manana’s rebellion allows them to literalize her movement away from the fold, a break which is then compromised by her older brother’s insistence that some dumb lugs in her building “keep an eye on her.” Unbeknownst to Manana, the patriarchy is everywhere. This is made even clearer, in far harsher terms, when some old friends of Manana’s divulge a secret about her past, something that she herself did not know.

That something is that her husband Soso (“ironically but accurately named”) had a long-term affair, something her friends assume Manana already knew, because why else would she have left. In fact, he has a son with this woman, and Manana meets him under the pretense of checking their gas meter. Meanwhile life goes on in the family she has left – one kid has a breakup, the other has a new (pregnant) girlfriend, and Manana’s parents and brother can never stop meddling.

Bilge Ebiri, whose review got me watching this in the first place:

The film unfolds as a series of long takes, as we follow characters in and out of rooms, staying close enough to register individual experiences while always making sure to keep the rest of the world in focus. But the camerawork isn’t that rough, handheld, vérité style we’ve become so used to; it’s fluid without being showy, immediate without being unbalanced.

Codirectors Ekvtimishvili and Gross made a previous feature called In Bloom, which is also about females in Georgia escaping their families. Soso starred in Aleksey German’s Under Electric Clouds, and I have no idea where Manana (Ia Shugliashvili) came from.

Too-young girl in the Pakistan mountains is going to be married off to her father’s rival as a peace offering, so her mom takes her on the run, getting help from a dreamy guy who drives the world’s most awesome truck. Seriously, I wish we hadn’t watched this on streaming so I could show you this truck. The husband/father’s crew and the rival’s crew both search for them, both of them all pissed off.

Lovely bright colors clearly, brightly photographed. Aside from that and the cultural interest, the plotting and editing and music all seemed highly familiar from genre flicks I watched on cable in the 1990’s.

“A poignant tale of the clash between the dreams of a youthful modernity and the strictures of ancient custom,” says Criterion. I guess Albanian blood feuds are interesting and worth making a movie about, but I mostly found this a dimly-lit slog. Poor young Nik is confined to the house – potentially for years – because his uncle killed the neighbor. At the end Nik cuts a deal with the neighbors, is allowed to leave and never return. Criterion again: “but [Marston] never lets us forget that many others in the world are caught in the exact same struggles.”

Marston’s second feature after Maria Full of Grace. His third premiered at Sundance the day after I watched this, about a man “moving to a new state with his wife for her graduate program.” I can’t relate. This won prizes in Berlin alongside The Turin Horse, A Separation, Sleeping Sickness. Cinematographer Rob “Tom” Hardy got attention this year for shooting Ex Machina and Testament of Youth. See also: Life During Wartime, the other forgiveness movie I watched this week.

We managed to watch this despite obstacles (DVD gone missing, Amazon’s lies about runtime). Keaton’s second feature, a vast improvement over his first. Keaton takes a train to brutal, rural America to claim his family estate, which turns out to be a crumbling shack. So instead he focuses on the hot girl who rode the train out west with him (played by Keaton’s wife), but her dad (familiar heavy Joe Roberts) and two brothers are out to kill him because of a century-old family feud.

After a flashback open where Keaton’s dad and Joe Roberts’ brother kill each other, the first half of the movie is mostly the ride out west on a ridiculous wood-fired train said to be based on an actual vehicle. Second half is Keaton, having been invited over by the girl, unable to leave since the men won’t shoot him while he’s a guest in their home. He finally escapes dressed as a woman, then after a mountaintop chase culminating in one of the best stunts in movie history – Keaton swinging on a rope to catch the girl coming over a waterfall – they marry, ending the feud. Watched with Katy as history lesson after the first Story of Film episode, though we mostly forgot to analyze editing and obsess over the 180 degree rule.