Director Steve Loveridge has been a friend and collaborator with the rapper M.I.A. since they met as film students, but what saves his first documentary Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. from the pitfalls of an adoring, glossed-over portrayal is the simple decision to take her seriously.
There’s more enthusiasm than skill on display in Yadvi, a leaden biopic made by sisters Jyoti and Gauri Singh to honor their grandmother Rajmata Yadhuvansh Kumari. They use family history to illustrate the decline of Indian royalty during the twentieth century, when princely states were absorbed into the new democracy.
The wistful longing of discontented Japanese salarymen in Shall We Dance? is absent from the bracingly funny Oh Lucy! Setsuko (Shinobu Terajima), an office lady tugging at her restrictive white collar, bubbles with anger and resentment.
Just as the Extraordinary Ordinary People he profiles have devoted themselves to keeping traditional art forms alive, folklorist Alan Govenar has dedicated himself to exalting their work in books and films. His knowledge and affection are contagious.
The atmosphere of mourning in Deepak Rauniyar’s wistful White Sun isn’t just the result of the sudden death of the revered former leader of a remote mountain village. Nepal, as the remaining elders once knew it, died when the monarchy was overthrown after a decade of civil war.