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Up To Date

Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' February 15-17

Fares Sokhon
Sony Pictures Classics
Director Nadine Labaki casted untrained actors Boluwatife Treasure Bankole, left, and Zain Al Rafeea in her heart-wrenching film, 'Capernaum.'

If you take Punxutawny Phil's word for it, we're expecting an early spring , but the warm light at the end of the tunnel seems far from sight right about now. After two sunny days the roads are covered again in snow, making this weekend the perfect time to take in a movie. And don't worry about scrolling through your television guide. Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary Film Critics have a selection of flicks, some Oscar-nominated, for you to check out. 

Steve Walker

"Capernaum," R

  • This extraordinary Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film from Lebanese director Nadine Labaki opens with a 12-year-old boy asking a judge to let him sue his parents for being born, then flashes back to the complicated circumstances that prefaced his request.

2019 Oscar Nominated Short Film Showcase: Documentary Shorts

  • A strong collection examining such subjects as end of life care, the refugee crises in Europe, and a chilling, prescient peek at a Nazi rally held in New York in 1939.

2019 Oscar-Nominated short films: Live Action Shorts, R

  • This year's harrowing nominees center around a theme of imperiled children: "Fauve," about two boys whose playful hijinks turn tragic; "Detainment," a controversial British film about two 10-year-olds suspected of murdering a toddler; "Mother," where the title character's phone call with her 6-year-old grows ever more frantic; and "Skin," showing the unsurprising result of being raised by white supremacists.

Cynthia Haines

"Capernaum," R

  • A troubled boy who lands in jail after running away from home and commiting a violent crime asks a judge to let him sue his own parents for their failure to look after him.

Shoplifters," R

  • The "resourcefulness" of a Japanese family of small-time crooks comes into question after they take in a beleaguered young girl they find in the cold.

2019 Oscar Nominated Short Film Showcase: Documentary Shorts

  • These worthy nominations take on a host of agonizing topics from the past and present: In "Lifeboat," the desperate voyage of refugees as they seek a new beginning, "End Game" shows the heart-wreching planning that goes into end-of-life care; and in "Black Sheep," a Nigerian family moves to Essex in hopes of leaving racism behind, but find themselves in an apartment complex full of racists.
Since 1998, Steve Walker has contributed stories and interviews about theater, visual arts, and music as an arts reporter at KCUR. He's also one of Up to Date's regular trio of critics who discuss the latest in art, independent and documentary films playing on area screens.