Suppose you’re 11 years old and you find out that the man who raised you is not your “real” father. What feelings emerge? Surprise, anger, confusion? For Kattaka, it’s a terrible shock—enough to make her storm out of the room, slam the door, and wish her parents were dead. In “Winter’s Daughter,” Kattaka learns that her bio-dad is a Russian sailor (Alexei), whose ship was in town, but has since left. Determined to track him down, she embarks on a journey with Lena, a dour older neighbor, and a young friend in Lena’s “old banger” (an old VW minibus-type vehicle). From Berlin to Gdansk, and then to Lena’s hometown. A good story, well-told (B+). I especially loved the opening shots: the juxaposition of Alexei’s cargo ship cutting through the sea as Kattaka slices through the water in a pool to achieve a personal best in freestyle swimming.
“The Soul of Flies” is an endearing Spanish comedy about two brothers who never met traveling to the funeral of the father, whom they also never knew. We meet them waiting at an abandoned train station for a train that stopped running years ago. The driver of a passing car offers them a ride to the next town. Much of the journey is on foot, until the duo save a narcoleptic potential suicide with a motorbike from completing the deed. The one-liners may be obvious, but the delivery is spot on! And the scenery is gorgeous, as are the brothers. I’m giving this one an B+.
I was psyched (no pun intended) to like “Of Two Minds,” but in the end I found it tedious. The people who were interviewed for the film are too good-looking, too intelligent, and too accomplished for me to feel their pain, though I’m sure it is very real to them. Perhaps what disappointed me the most was that there was nothing new to learn from this film, and that’s what I usually expect from a documentary—something to delight and amaze, and enlighten me. B- for this one.