Dir. Xiao Jiang. 2004. N/R. 99mins. In Mandarin, with subtitles. Jiang Yihong, Xia Yu.
Writer-director Xiao Jiang's bittersweet tale of growing up in China during the 1970s starts with an inexplicable act of violence: A young woman brutally beats a cinephile cyclist (Xia) after he takes a spill. But when she scrawls a note asking him to feed her fish, he agrees, and finds that her apartment is a shrine to film, complete with her life painstakingly storyboarded on a notepad. The Chinese films Xiao interpolates into the tale may be unfamiliar, but anyone whose own memories are inextricably bound up with movie scenes will feel right at home. (Opens Fri 16; ImaginAsian.)—Maitland McDonagh
Neal n' Nikki
Dir. Arjun Sablok. 2005. N/R. 2hrs. 40mins. In Hindi, with subtitles. Uday Chopra, Tanisha Mukerji.
Is there any subject the Bollywood musical can't gleefully embrace—and subvert? Neal n' Nikki exports the formula to Vancouver, Canada, where Neal (Chopra), the superassimilated son of Indian immigrants, is sowing his wild oats before an arranged marriage. He and Nikki (Mukerji) meet cute in a rowdy bar and fight their mutual feelings till the bitter end. Ostensibly a teen sex comedy—with bikini-clad babes, games of strip poker and naughty jokes—this unapologetically silly film nevertheless finds a way to affirm, more or less, Indian family values. (Now playing; Loews State.)—Tom Beer
Trapped by the Mormons
Dir. Ian Allen. 2005. N/R. 69mins. Johnny Kat, Emily Riehl-Bedford, Brent Lowder.
If you've been waiting for a silent, tongue-in-cheek b&w remake of a 1922 anti-Mormon exploitation film, there's no need to read any further. For those still not sold, Trapped is produced by and stars members of the cheeky Washington, D.C.--based theater group Cherry Red and involves a nave young woman (Riehl-Bedford) who is seduced away from her Mormon-hating parents and fianc (Lowder) by the promises of a sinister LDS preacher (drag king Kat). By film's end, you'll know every sordid detail of the Mormon conspiracy to besmirch innocent American womanhood—but you'll remain uncertain about the gender of at least half the cast. (Opens Thu 15; Pioneer)—Maitland McDonagh