THE PASTA DETECTIVES
RICO, OSKAR UND DIE TIEFERSCHATTEN
2014, 96 min, Germany, Dir: Neele Leana Vollmar

At the heart of this adaptation of German author Andreas Steinhöfel’s wildly popular children’s book is 10-year-old Rico, the only child of a working-class single mother in Berlin. Although quick to describe himself as a “lowly gifted child” who can’t tell his left from his right and whose thoughts often “rattle around in his head like balls in a bingo cage,” Rico is compassionate and observant, and makes the best of his shortcomings. Often left on his own, Rico spends most of his time close to home or visiting the quirky tenants in his apartment building. One day Rico meets Oskar, a highly gifted younger boy who is obsessed with safety statistics and prone to wearing a helmet. Despite their differences, the two boys complement each other and become fast friends. When Oskar suddenly goes missing, Rico suspects notorious local kidnapper Mr. 2000 and sets out to find and rescue his new friend. With an emphasis on teamwork and friendship, Vollmar’s fresh and endearing take on the classic buddy film is suitable for the whole family. In German with English subtitles.


REQUIREMENTS TO BE A NORMAL PERSON
REQUISITOS PARA SER UNA PERSONA NORMAL
2015, 90 min, Spain, Dir: Leticia Dolera

Everybody tries to fit in, but few people go about it as methodically as Maria de las Montañas (writer-director Leticia Dolera), who hopes to reach normality through a seven-item checklist. Her mentally challenged younger brother (Jordi Llodrà) and overweight friend (Manuel Burque) seem to have most of the bases covered, and the success of Maria’s quest may boil down to just being herself. Brightly colored and boasting a jangly folk score from Luthea Salom, this romantic comedy is, as one might hope from its title, charmingly eccentric. Winner of the Best New Screenwriter, Cinematography and Editing Awards at the Málaga Spanish Film Festival. In Spanish with English subtitles.


THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT
2013, Vega, Baby!, 90 min, USA, Dir: Henry Barrial

Henry Barrial directs the final script by writer Joseph Vasquez (HANGIN' WITH THE HOMEBOYS), a powerful drama about the strength and limitations of family bonds. Hoping to recapture the idyllic days of his youth, Jack (E.J. Bonilla) buys a Bronx apartment building as a home for his extended family. Nostalgia and reality soon collide, however, and Jack’s work in the drug trade adds fuel to the fire. Best Picture winner at the 2014 Phoenix Film Festival.


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