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Small Screen | “Red Riding” Threesome and “I Love You, Mommy” in Your Home

Small Screen | "Red Riding" Threesome and "I Love You, Mommy" in Your Home

In a relatively slow week for specialty releases on the small screen, the UK’s “Red Riding” trilogy and Stephanie Wang-Breal’s Silverdocs award-winning “Wo Ai Ni (I Love You), Mommy” are given a chance to shine. The “Red Riding” trilogy, based on the novels by David Peace, chronicles crime and the spotty investigations that follow across ten years in West Yorkshire. The films (Julian Jarrold’s “Red Riding: 1974” (criticWIRE rating: B+), James Marsh’s “Red Riding: 1980” (criticWIRE rating: B), Anand Tucker’s “Red Riding: 1983” (criticWIRE rating: B), which were made for Channel 4 in the UK and released in the U.S. as three separate films available to view in theaters or on cable VOD through IFC, are available this week on DVD. Though Christopher Campbell at Spout revealed that there was a problem with the first installment’s instant streaming on Netflix, that problem has since been rectified and we all, indeed, have the chance to see all three films instantly on Netflix. You can also hear from each of the films’ directors in an interview indieWIRE had with the trio here.

Writing in The New Yorker, David Denby calls the series “a mammoth, sensationally violent and beautiful five-hour movie.” He goes on to say, ” Most of the trilogy is about the wavering attempts to get at the truth of botched police investigations—ineptitudes that the novels and the movie turn into an interlocking system of corruption. You don’t see any of the murders, but there are shadows of death everywhere: pale corpses, brutality and cynicism, and hints of perversion and obsession—a sense of violation fouling the terrain. One writer, Tony Grisoni, did the adaptation, but each film has a different director and a different look.”

Coming to PBS’s POV doc series tonight is Stephanie Wang-Breal’s “Wo Ai Ni Mommy (I Love You), Mommy),” which has won honors at San Francisco and New York’s Asian-American film feasts and at Silverdocs this summer. In my FUTURES profile with the film’s director, I noted the film’s underdog status, “Reading a description of it, the film certainly does not look like the kind of film that wins awards.  It’s story is small and accessible; it speaks softly, but it has a lot to say.” My profile continues, “‘Wo Ai Ni Mommy’ tells intimately a story that today is commonplace, that of a young Chinese girl being adopted by American families.  In this film, Fang Sui Yong is adopted by the Sadowsky, a Jewish couple who live on Long Island and already have children, one of which is also a Chinese adoptee.  When she is taken in by the Sadowsky, Fang Sui becomes Faith and, with the help of her mother Donna, shifts from speaking Chinese to speaking English.  The camera, deeply ingrained into the Sadowsky familial fabric, shows intimately the effort Donna in particular makes to acculturate Faith into her new American life.  Both Donna and Faith are big characters, forthright and bold in every scene, the perfect subjects to highlight the intricacies of interracial international adoption.”

Also coming home on DVD this week are the Michael Caine star vehicle “Harry Brown” (criticWIRE rating: B) and a re-release of Agnès Varda’s series of three short films on the power of the photograph, “Cinevardaphoto.” In his B review of “Harry Brown,” Emmanuel Levy starts, “Though it will inevitably draw comparisons to similarly themed recent films like ‘Gran Torino’ and ‘Taken,’ director Daniel Barber’s “Harry Brown” presents its own take on a lone man who turns to violence in order to seek justice. Buoyed considerably by Michael Caine’s reserved, empathetic performance as the titular avenger, this despairing drama is ultimately less interested in revenge fantasies than it is in exploring themes of aging and urban crime.” Writing in

Other discs to get releases today include: Tyler Perry’s couples-trouble sequel “Why Did I Get Married Too?,” Mo Perkins’s “A Quiet Little Marriage,” Jim Burroughs’s water doc “Water Wars,” and the week’s most amazing title: “Batons, Bows, and Bruises – A History of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.”

Bryce J. Renninger, an indieWIRE contributor in the New York office, is also the shorts programmer for Newfest and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Media Studies at Rutgers University. He can be reached via Twitter.

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