Home Movies/Out on Digital 8.18
Anthony Weiner was a fighter in Congress, unafraid to challenge colleagues who stood in the way of health care or progress on other social problems. He resigned after making a fool of himself by texting pictures of his penis to internet strangers, but made a comeback as a vigorous candidate for New York mayor—until another sexting scandal erupted. Americans are willing to forgive once, but not twice.
Weiner is a remarkable fly-on-the-wall documentary of that failed comeback. Filmmakers Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg followed the candidate and his wife, Clinton adviser Huma Abedin, as he tried to talk about the issues to a media insistent on talking about sex. Weiner manages to deliver nuance, something the press was incapable of handling. Weiner comes across as a scrappy New Yorker, likable but flawed, committed to a political vision but self-indulgent and dishonest. Abedin’s face speaks to her sorrow, anger and disappointment.
Zainab, a 10-year-old charmer on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, has no idea she’s about to be ripped from childhood and given in marriage to an odious tribal chieftain in a bid to end a blood feud. Dukhtar is the story of her flight to safety, spirited from her father’s clutches by her mother and aided on the road by a truck-driving ex-Mujahedeen grown sick of war. Beautiful cinematography and strong acting elevate the story.
Sentaro (Masatoshi Nagase) trudges every morning to the eatery he manages, sullenly preparing the pancakes he serves to customers. The prospect of softening and brightening his dreary existence arrives in the form of Tokue (Kirin Kiki), a 74-year-old whose determination to work for him finally succeeds on the strength of her bean paste. Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase keeps her study of loneliness and aging in low key for a quietly moving human-scale story.