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“MAYBE HE REACTS THIS WAY BECAUSE HE REGRETS WHAT HE DID.”

GIRL TALK {BY AL HOFF} What happens when a 15-year-old girl has an affair with her mother’s boyfriend, as depicted in The Diary of a Teenage Girl, the debut feature from Marielle Heller, adapted from Phoebe Gloeckner’s graphic novel? Perhaps not the hysterical freak-out you’d expect.

Minnie (Bel Powley) shops for comix.

CP APPROVED

This more sweet-than-sour coming-of-age dramedy is set in mid1970s San Francisco. Aspiring artist Minnie (Bel Powley) lives with her free-spirited, somewhat lackadaisical mom (Kristen Wiig) and her layabout boyfriend, Monroe (Alexander Skarsgard). Mutual flirting between Minnie and Monroe leads to a sexual relationship, enjoyed and sustained by both. (Diary snapshots a time and place in which adults acted like children and children acted like adults.) Minnie records her thoughts on poorly hidden cassette tapes, running the gamut of adolescent joys and miseries: She’s independent and insecure, confident and confused, thrilled and terrified. Mostly, she wants to be wanted, and is unsure of how to secure this. British TV actress Powley plays Minnie’s mix of vulnerability and moxie perfectly. Some viewers may take exception with Diary’s largely non-judgmental approach to this relationship. Yes, it’s inappropriate and will surely end in some tears, but Diary takes another tack: People, especially teenagers, do dumb things — but growing up is defined by mistakes, and what is learned from them. Starts Fri., Aug. 28. AMC Waterfront and Manor

Seeing clearer? A survivor of the 1960s Indonesian genocide

MEMORY HOLES {BY HARRY KLOMAN}

I

N THE ACT of Killing (2012), Joshua

AHOFF@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

Show Me a Hero,

a six-part miniseries currently on HBO, which tracks the municipal and community strife when, in the late 1980s, Yonkers, N.Y., was court-ordered to build low-income housing. Also recommended for anybody who likes quality ensemble dramas.

{PHOTO COURTESY OF PAUL SCHIRALDI/HBO}

Urban-policy nerds should search out

Oppenheimer asked the perpetrators of the Indonesian genocide of the 1960s to don costumes and makeup and to re-enact the things they had done so many years ago following a military coup — and, almost incidentally, to reflect upon it all. The result was a quirky documentary disturbing in its mannered nonchalance. Now, Oppenheimer takes us back to Indonesia for the more straightforward The Look of Silence, wherein survivors share memories of the genocide and confront the people who perpetrated it. Early on, we see one elderly witness examined for eyeglasses to restore her vision, and then a little girl fools with a pair and giggles. “Playing with glasses?” her father tells her. “You’ll regret it.” We see a blind old man sing a silly song about a sexy girl. These are foundational metaphors as thick as the doctor’s test lenses.

The doctor is Adi Rukun, the film’s serene protagonist of sorts, born in 1968, three years after the rise of the junta that killed his brother. His mother recalls those days as she cares for her husband, age 103, who’s literally just skin and bone. As children learn lies about the past in their classroom, Rukun tries to teach one child the truth.

THE LOOK OF SILENCE DIRECTED BY: Joshua Oppenheimer In Indonesian, with subtitles Starts Fri., Aug. 28. Parkway and Regent Square

CP APPROVED In a brief moment of historic footage, we hear about Indonesia’s financial promise — dashed by the military overthrow of the country’s Communist government. But otherwise, the leisurely Look of Silence is exquisitely filmed in the present day of

a tropical paradise lost, its tranquility an ironic counterbalance to the turmoil it recalls. The bulk of the film revolves around Rukun questioning his brother’s killers, soliciting only excuses, denials and veiled threats. “You ask deep questions,” one says to him, catching on to his interrogation. Referring to his participation in the earlier film, he adds, “Joshua never asked such deep questions.” One aging assassin tells the story of ripping someone’s guts out and cracking his skull like he’s reminiscing about an exhilarating barroom brawl of his young manhood. “Maybe he reacts this way,” someone observes, “because he regrets what he did.” Or maybe he has no conscience, for what else could account for millennia of human cruelty? In the end, Oppenheimer teaches us nothing about why people do such things. And that’s the point: The reasons are as immutable as all of the lives that every genocide takes. I N F O@ P G HC I T Y PA P E R. C OM

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Profile for Pittsburgh City Paper

August 26, 2015  

Pittsburgh City Paper Volume 25 Issue 34

August 26, 2015  

Pittsburgh City Paper Volume 25 Issue 34