This week’s roundup includes my review of “Hilma,” Lasse Hallström’s biopic of Swedish artist Hilma af Klint, and reviews of two rereleases: Japanese master Shohei Imamura’s classic, “Warm Water Under a Red Bridge,” and Finnish director Mikko Niskanen’s “Eight Deadly Shots.”

Special Screening of the Week
Hilma (Juno Films)

Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) was a Swedish artist barely appreciated or known in her lifetime; only recently have her unconventional paintings received attention, as writer-director Lasse Hallström shows in his straightforward, intelligent biopic. Presenting her as a fiercely independent free spirit who was attracted to women, more strikes against her along with being an artist, Hallström sharply defines her as a trailblazer with her own principles who pushed back against those who uncomprehendingly attacked, ignored or belittled her. The director has scored a coup with the title role: the younger Hilma is played by his daughter Tora Hallström, who is guilelessly natural, while the older Hilma is played by Hallström’s wife and Tora’s mother, the formidable Lena Olin.

On April 5, Scandinavia House in Manhattan is hosting the NY premiere including a Q&A with the director and his two stars. ( The film opens later this month.

In-Theater/Streaming Releases of the Week
Warm Water Under a Red Bridge (Film Movement Classics)

Shohei Imamura’s documentary-like portraits of the underbelly of Japanese society are filled with underdogs who are allowed to display their genuine humanity. His last feature, made in 2001 (Imamura died five years later, at age 80), is of a piece with his other films: shot through with sardonic humor and humane observation, it follows a middle-aged Tokyo office worker who goes to a small village where he meets and has a sexual relationship with a woman who shoots out a geyser of water during sex, whenever she’s “full,” as she tells him. Simultaneously realistic and symbolic—which the title wittily alludes to—what in lesser hands might have been contrived or stilted becomes a wonderfully offbeat romantic comedy of manners, carried along by Shin’ichirō Ikebe’s inventively boisterous score.

Eight Deadly Shots (Janus Films)

This five-hour, four-part 1972 Finnish miniseries is a truly remarkable discovery: the heretofore obscure director Mikko Niskanen—who also wrote and stars as the protagonist—has made a stark, illuminating chronicle of ordinary people living ordinary lives as the crushing banality of their existence is underlined by a shocking crime. Based on a true story, Niskanen’s film provocatively concentrates the weight of its human drama—and the mindnumbing sameness of these lives in a rural village consisting of church, family, manual labor and drinking—into a vortex where the duration of time itself means nothing.

Enys Men (Neon)

On a remote Cornish island studying a rare flower, a nameless female volunteer begins hallucinating that mold from the plant is also growing on her body along with her seeing other people—or is it all really happening? Mark Jenkin’s heavyhanded piece of psychological horror has its moments—there’s a crude effectiveness to his one-man operation (he directed, wrote, photographed, and wrote the music)—but it often comes off, deliberately but self-consciously, like a too-clever experiment. The local standing stones on the island provide the evocative title (which is Cornish for “Stone Island”), but this look at a descent into isolation and possible madness never satisfyingly coheres.

Fugue (Dekanalog)

Polish director Agnieszka Smoczyńska, whose disturbing debut, 2015’s “The Lure,” marked her as someone to watch, in 2018 made this equally unsettling study of an amnesiac middle-aged woman who’s returned to her husband and son after a two-year disappearance—she tries desperately to fit (even if she cannot remember if she was ever with them before) but cannot be just a dutiful wife and loving mother. Smoczyńska dramatizes ugly truths about our memories and relationships in uncomfortable scenes that lead to an unsurprising but still devastating finale; it’s enacted with lancingly truthful subtlety by Gabriela Muskała.

Imagining the Indian (Ciesla Foundation)

With racist team logos, nicknames and mascots around for decades, some battles that Native Americans have waged against entrenched owners and willfully oblivious fans have been partly won—the Cleveland Indians are now the Guardians and the Washington Redskins are now the Commanders—but there’s still a long way to go, as this informative documentary shows. Directors Aviva Kempner and Ben West have collected a lot of archival and contemporary material alongside substantive interviews with commentators from all walks of life (most impressive in their perceptiveness are Joely Proudfit and Mary Kathryn Nagle) to tell a still-ongoing struggle, as witness the Atlanta Braves’ tomahawk chop or the Chicago Blackhawks’ logo.

In Viaggio—The Travels of Pope Francis (Magnolia)

Using archival footage, director Gianfresco Rosi has fashioned an intriguing if somewhat diffuse documentary about Pope Francis’ foreign trips throughout his papacy, from Cuba and Rio to Armenia and Iraq, and how he speaks his truth no matter how difficult for him to say (the priest molestation scandals) or for others to hear (the Turkish government was upset at his remarks on the Armenian genocide). We glimpse Francis speaking in several languages to appreciative, often adoring audiences and visiting places as diverse as Canada’s indigenous first nation settlements and the urban battlefields of Africa, but Rosi provides little more than glimpses without much context—the footage could have been thrown together in any other order. Even his use of film clips (some from his own singular documentaries) alongside the Pope’s own journeys comes off as arbitrary, almost willfully offbeat.

4K/UHD Release of the Week
Plane (Lionsgate)

Bluntly if boringly titled—why not at least “Plane Hit by Lightning”?—this by-the-numbers actioner follows a resourceful pilot who, after safely crash-landing his plane on a Philippine island swarming with rebels, teams with a convicted murderer on his flight to free his passengers after they’re kidnaped for ransom. Director Jean-François Richet makes much of this routine but at other times there’s excitement, while Gerard Butler gives a gruff action-hero performance—it’s a serviceable time waster for those so inclined. It does look terrific in 4K; extras are three on-set featurettes.