Touch the Sound
Opens Fri Nov 4
Directed by German filmmaker Thomas Riedelsheimer, the unfortunately titled documentary Touch the Sound follows several globe-hopping months in the life of Scotswoman Evelyn Glennie—a world-renowned percussionist who lost virtually all of her hearing at the age of 12. Glennie outlines the fascinating way in which she taught herself to utilize her entire body as an eardrum—fine-tuning her sense of touch in such a way that through subtle vibrations she is able to distinguish variations in pitch and essentially "hear" with her body.
Touch focuses primarily on an improvised recording session in Glennie's abandoned German factory with guitarist Fred Frith; as such, the pacing is similar to the arc of an improv performance: slow, dynamic, and intentional. As much about the act of "hearing" as it is strictly biographical, Touch unfortunately intersperses a crushing overabundance of meditative sound explorations (dripping, rippling water shots, city street sounds, Zen garden raking) within the more compelling narrative. Like most improv performances, Touch never seems to realize when enough is enough. ZAC PENNINGTON
Opens Fri Nov 4
Clinton St. Theater
Kamikaze Girls is a hilarious tale of opposites uniting in friendship as only the Japanese could portray it: with decadent eye candy and wacky dark humor. Momoko (played by J-pop starlet Kyôko Fukada) is a loner disconnected from her modern world filled with pachinko machines and bad '70s track suits. Obsessed with 18th century France, Momoko wears frilly dresses with obscene amounts of puff and lace, and all she seeks out in life is sleep, embroidery, and clothes. However, when she meets Ichigo (Anna Tsuchiya, another J-pop ingénue)—a badass biker babe in an all-girl motorcycle club called the Ponytails—Momoko's world turns upside down.
At first, Momoko tries to ignore Ichigo, who won't stop coming around to talk her ear off. But then they become friends, Momoko learns the importance of friendship, Ichigo learns the importance of being your own person, and it all culminates in a fight where the two girls kick the shit out of the turned-nasty Ponytails. Hell yes! I'm talking about a hot chick fight here!
Bottom line: Kamikaze Girls is fun and witty, not unlike watching The Powerpuff Girls and Ghost World unite and blossom into a world of kitsch, sarcasm, pink hearts, and girls kicking ass. CHRISTINE S. BLYSTONE
dirs. Nuridsany, Pérennou
Opens Fri Nov 4
In 1996's acclaimed Microcosmos, French filmmakers Claude Nuridsany and Marie Pérennou took an extremely close look at insect life. With their latest offering, the team has pulled the cameras back—way back. Genesis tells the story of creation, and not, despite its title, in a Biblical sense. Nuridsany and Pérennou cling to the belief that creation took a long-ass time.
Genesis is loosely narrated by an elderly African man who tells the story of his life, beginning not with his birth but with the beginning of the universe. Though the chronology of the film will be familiar to anyone who believes in science, the unique and lovely thing about Genesis is that it gives a mythical scope to the usually staid and textbook explanation of life (well, according to textbooks outside of Kansas, that is). The film has an incredibly varied and detailed array of footage, including in-utero images from a variety of species, and illustrates the cycles of birth and death, soundtracked by Bruno Coulais' emotional score that veers between bombastic, reverent, and euphoric. Though it drags at times, Genesis is ultimately a welcome assertion of beauty and reason—and a reminder that that universe is capable of creating beautiful complexity all by itself, no intelligent design necessary. ALISON HALLETT