Director Adinah Dancyger crafts her personal experience growing up with her grandmother into a sharp double portrait, which folds in vital themes like assimilation, identity, and Korean barbecue. Soli, an 8-year-old who’s out of school for the summer, is left in the care of her grandmother in Queens while her mom’s away. As her exposure to more Americanized kids grows, specifically at her under-supervised parks-and-rec summer camp, Soli begins to turn a disapproving Western eye on her grandmother’s old-country habits.The film’s central marvel is the unnamed grandmother character, who emerges in scenes singing karaoke and kvetching about her health over coffee, as independent and spirited, far from the domestic goddesses and treacly wisdom-dispensers to which movies often reduce elder characters. Dancyger clearly benefits here from a closeness to the character’s inspiration in her own grandma, as well as Chung Cha Chang’s unflappable performance. Above all "Chopping Onions" exhibits the compressing power of memory, which crunches the indelible events of a child’s summer down to a potent quarter hour. Dancyger wisely draws the lines of conflict between Soli and her grandmother with careful indirection, tucking them into household affairs like cooking and homework. These potent symbols of home also stand here for a national identity which Grandma represents for Soli, and which the granddaughter, like every immigrant child, must negotiate on her own. -Jonathan Kieran. Directed by Adinah Dancyger.