Goodbye First Love
First love is not an un-essayed topic in film. It may be the most over-essayed, in fact, but French director Mia Hansen-Love brings a delicate combination of immediacy and an arm's-length distance to the screen as she traces almost a decade's worth of scar tissue built up on a young girl's heart. Minutes become hours, hours become days, days become weeks as 16-year-old Camille (the lovely Lola Creton) breaks apart emotionally while waiting for a letter from her first love, Sullivan, who seems to have forgotten her as he backpacks around South America. But Hansen-Love doesn't hold Camille up for ridicule for her love-sick teen silliness in this fly-on-the-wall drama. Everyone's been there, so instead, the picture painted almost causes a collective sigh of relief at a shared, intimate moment of helpless awkwardness. (available now through video on demand)
Celine Sciamma's unflinching childhood drama stars newcomer Zoe Heran as a 10-year-old girl named Laure who, upon moving with her family to a new city, convinces the new group of kids that she falls in with that she's really a boy named Michael. She disguises herself with short hair and boyish tank tops and a little sister who is good at fibbing, but carefree summers always have to be paid for eventually. Tomboy is a tough and often uncomfortable film to watch (think My Life as a Dog commingled with a less aggressive Fat Girl), but it's a thoroughly rewarding look outside of the walls of the normal emotional prisons that adolescence constructs around us. (available now)
Special Features: Behind-the-scenes featurette
Harold and Maude
Criterion Collection Cocaine is a hell of a drug, and it did a hell of a number on director Hal Ashby, who ruled the 1970s with a solid decade of eccentric brilliance, earning seven Oscars from 24 nominations for films like Shampoo, The Last Detail and Being There. But perhaps the best of the bunch is the one that received no Oscar nominations at all: 1971's beautifully delicate Harold and Maude, featuring Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon as the most unlikely couple to ever be in cahoots together. Gordon's Maude is the Grand Dame of the Manic Pixie Dream Girls, one that none have ever lived up to, and Cort sets his world on fire with a pair of wickedly bright downcast eyes to match a wicked sense of the macabre. Modern auteurs like Wes Anderson and Gus Van Sant owe an awful lot to Ashby for making this film. (available now)
Special Features: Audio commentary, Hal Ashby seminar, Cat Stevens interview
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