Shine could easily be called The Salsa Kings Dance With Pride and Love. Anthony Nardolillo devotes a sizable chunk of his first film to dance numbers, and there’s an infectious joy to these scenes, more about the characters than does the creaky melodrama that frames them.
The Orwellian image of totalitarianism is bleak and urban, with thought police lurking around every corner. Sunny rural Cuba seems a world away, but in Carlos Lechuga’s delicate drama, ideological rigor has seeped into everyday life.
The intoxicating A River Below contains elements of immersive nature documentaries and shocking wildlife exposes, but director Mark Grieco’s profile of two driven conservationists tells a more slippery tale.
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.
In Spanish director Cesc Gay’s unsentimental weepie Truman, the passage of time becomes pliable. Tomás (Javier Cámara) arrives in Madrid with a deadline: four days to convince his oldest friend Julián (Ricardo Darín) to resume treatment for the lung cancer that’s spread throughout his body.