Forgiveness of Blood, Garcia, Rundskop, Girl Model

FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD

Where: Empire Capitol 6

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When: Sunday, 9: 15 p.m.

Rating: ****

Joshua Marston, best known for Maria Full of Grace, his remarkable feature debut about Colombian drug smuggling, is back in top form with this riveting drama about an ongoing land dispute that triggers a blood feud between rival clans in rural Albania. As retribution for a tragedy is sought using the provisions of an ancient legal code, Marston does a superb job of putting the historical tradition into perspective while also generating escalating tension at a slow burn. It's how he chronicles the devastating impact of the sins of a self-centred father on the family, now under virtual house arrest since the altercation made them a target for revenge - especially on an otherwise typical modern teenager Nik (Tristan Halilaj) with his own adolescent issues and Marston's naturalistically evocative portrait of this menacing milieu that makes this such an exceptional achievement. terrific performance capturing both the hapless title character's misplaced nobility and hopelessness.

GARCIA

Where: Odeon

When: Today, 7: 15 p.m.

Rating: ***

Director Jose Luis Rugeles makes a strikingly assured feature debut with this by turns darkly comic and intermittently poignant tale of a penny-pinching Colombian factory watchman who surprises his wife Amalia with the new home he promised her on their wedding day. His ungrateful wife is less than impressed with this old rundown farm, however, having dreamed more of an urban dwelling. Complications mount when she's suddenly kidnapped, and Garcia is ordered to kill another man's wife for her return, prompting him to conspire with a drunken, amoral coworker - a former cop with other priorities. The bizarre surprises that ensue are at once hilarious and strangely heartbreaking, thanks mainly to Mexican actor Damian Alcazar's

RUNDSKOP (BULLHEAD)

Where: Empire Capitol 6

When: Today, 2 p.m.

Rating: ****

The title of Belgian director Michael R. Roskam's dark, disturbing drama about gang violence that erupts over cattle hormone trafficking is a metaphor for the psyche of Jacky, a brooding, beefed-up Flemish farmer played to brutal perfection by Matthias Schoenarts. His internalized performance as this testosterone-pumping raging bull with a tragic past is a riveting highlight of this intricately plotted mob movie - one that demands rapt attention, and a strong stomach. The film's dark, intense complexities make it a relentlessly gripping and visceral experience despite some jarring comic interludes involving two bumbling mechanics. But beware - the violence and slaughterhouse imagery can be nauseating.

GIRL MODEL

Where: Empire Capitol 6

When: Today, 9: 45 p.m.

Rating: ***

Yuck. This is how you might feel after watching this unsettling, revelatory documentary about Russian teen girls being sent off to the potentially lucrative Japanese modelling meat market with false hopes. Opening shots of skinny teen girls in cheap swimsuits being herded like cat-tle, photographed and superficially evaluated - comments range from "her hips are too big" to "we'll put her on a diet" - set the stage for willowy 13-yearold model Nadya's heartbreaking journey. It takes her from Siberia to Tokyo, where she morphs from innocent hopeful to damaged commodity. Filmmakers David Redmon and Ashley Sabin wisely step back, letting the facts speak for themselves as model wrangler Ashley Arbaugh, a cynical former teen model herself, acts as our tour guide into an ugly world where she persists in peddling a dream she gave up long ago.

MARECAGES (WETLANDS)

Where: The Vic

When: Today, 7: 15 p.m.

Rating: *** 1/2

French-Canadian director Guy Edoin reveals himself as a major talent to be watched with an impressively insightful film that doubles as an evocative, effectively slow-paced snapshot of the hardscrabble existence of rural Quebec farmers and a compelling meditation on family relations and sexual identity. Pascale Bussieres is in top form as a sexy and earthy mourning mother and recovering alcoholic attempting to survive economically amid a severe drought, cope with an unforeseen tragedy and reconcile with her brooding, guilt-plagued teenage son (Gabriel Maille).

Edoin illuminates his drama in refreshing shades of grey, faltering only as he proceeds toward a somewhat abrupt conclusion that is perhaps too palatable for comfort.

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