For Ellen

After an overnight long-distance drive, Joby (Paul Dano) has a special meeting—with lawyers and his ex-wife. A struggling musician with the prerequisite tattoos, slimy hair, goatee, and his head firmly floating in the clouds, Joby hasn’t been around to be a dad. Now is his last chance to fight for shared custody of his daughter, Ellen.

Treeless Mountain

Evoked by early childhood memories, the story of a precocious journey to maturity comes into focus with exquisite simplicity in So Yong Kim’s gentle masterpiece, Treeless Mountain. An observational portrait of a young girl coming to terms with loss and abandonment, Treeless Mountain is made of the same substance as cinema-vérité, but it is woven in a dreamlike quality, making it seem like a horrific fairy tale that is at the same time painfully realistic. Six-year-old Jin (Hee Yeon Kim) and her younger sister Bin (Song Hee Kim) live on the edge of disaster, but they are not aware of it. In the small apartment where they reside with their single mother, the menacing sounds of the outer world, disturb their precarious cocoon. One day (ominously foreshadowed by Jin wetting the bed), their mother packs all their belongings. For Jin, the days of going to school are over. Mommy is gone, leaving her and Bin in a hostile home with their alcoholic Big Aunt (Mi Hyang Kim) and a piggy bank to slowly fill with tinkling coins and shining hopes. Once the bank is full, their mother will be back. [Synopsis courtesy of the Toronto International Film Festival]

Lovesong

Sarah (Riley Keough), a young mother, raises her precocious daughter in their country home while feeling abandoned by her husband, who perpetually travels for work. When Sarah’s old friend Mindy (Jena Malone) comes to visit, they decide to take a road trip, and after an alcohol-infused heart-to-heart, a long unspoken intimacy emerges between the longtime friends. Later Sarah is unable to articulate her thoughts about her husband or Mindy, and Mindy makes the decision to leave the trip and go home. Three years later, the two women are reunited for Mindy’s wedding, and Sarah is forced to reconcile the reality of her feelings. [Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]