Mpls. St. Paul International Film Festival reviews, week one

  • Updated: April 3, 2014 - 3:00 PM

‘afternoon of a faun’

Short reviews of some of the first-week offerings.

friday

HELI

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1:30 p.m.; also 4:45 p.m. April 11 (Mexico)

Amat Escalante was named best director at last year’s Cannes Film Festival for this unflinching take on Mexico’s drug war and its repercussions on innocents unfairly tangled in its web. It deals with the issue in a circuitous way, delving into the lives of a working poor family. Heli lives with his wife and baby as well as his father and preteen sister. The sister is dating a police cadet who steals drugs during his training. Things spiral out of control. The imagery is equal parts ugly and beautiful as the tale descends into a nightmare most could never conceive. (105 min.)

ERIK MCCLANAHAN

stay then go

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7 p.m. (USA)

At first, Minneapolis filmmaker Shelli Ainsworth’s semi-autobiographical look at what it’s like to be the mother of a young man with autism seems like a slight if touching tale whose audience might not reach far past those who share the same experience. But a didn’t-see-that-coming surprise kicks things up a notch, and subtle performances by Janel Moloney (“The West Wing”) as the mother, Marion, and Matt Kane as her son, Eddie, elevate the story to a more nuanced reflection on parenting, sacrifice, grief and letting go. (103 min.)

Kristin Tillotson

sHARON ISBIN: TROUBADOuR

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7:30 p.m.; also 1:45 p.m. Sun. (USA)

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  • What: More than 200 features, documentaries and shorts. Plus related events. • When: April 3-19. • Where: St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 SE. Main St., Mpls.

    Tickets: Single tickets and multi-film passes are available, 612-331-7563, or www.mspfilmfestival.org. Web: Listings, capsule reviews and stories at startribune.com/mspiff.

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