NoBudge 10th Anniversary Playlist • 10-Dec-2018
A Chinese manicurist in Miami attempts to describe feelings she doesn't have the words for. “Agua Viva,” written, directed and animated by Alexa Lim Haas, is a gorgeous, melancholic portrait of a stranger in a strange land. As she quietly goes about her day giving manicures and pedicures in a Florida strip mall, Mei Mei wonders how she ended up here, so far from home, working an invisible job, relying on the whir of a portable fan to swallow up uncomfortable silences. Much of the poignancy in the film comes in the way Mei Mei (voiced by Mengda Zhang) struggles to communicate simple English words, and decipher their meaning (“words are so solid, but my thoughts are so fluid”), and the aching narration blends beautifully with the evocative hand-drawn and painted images of neon signs flickering to life, jellyfish swimming in tanks, and an intimate session of Mei Mei giving a body wax. It’s a stunning piece, unassuming but potent, about not being able to find the words.
Written, Directed and Animated by Alexa Lim Haas. Voice by Mengda Zhang.
Up Next in NoBudge 10th Anniversary Playlist
And Nothing Happened
In the aftermath of an assault, a woman tries to come to terms with the violation, or just get through her day. Director Naima Ramos-Chapman uses an unexpected dose of magical realism to express a poetic response to a loss of dignity. The quiet morning at first feels mundane, but as new details e...
Shelly is a peculiar young woman making a movie about a seahorse named Imogen. She picks up footage at the local aquarium and in her Brooklyn apartment while pursuing a deep sea diving certificate, so she can record the seahorses in their natural environment. We don’t quite trust the intentions o...
I'm currently in the middle of an obsessed phase with Kate Berlant & John Early, two of the funniest/smartest young performers around. This brilliant collaboration, "Santa Monica," written by the two & directed by another new NB favorite Andrew DeYoung, finds Early & Berlant playing c...