César’s Grill ( 88 minutes, Ecuador/Germany/Switzerland, director Dario Aguirre). Several years after leaving Ecuador for a job in Germany, film maker Dario Aguirre returns to help his father run the family business — a small failing restaurant in a derelict building. And in doing so, Dario strives to establish an emotional bond with his remote father. Much of the appeal of this small film grows from Dario’s personal charm. It does not quite make my must see list, but don’t miss it if you have a chance.
Liv and Ingmar. (83 minutes, UK/India/Norway, director Dheeraj Akolka). Yes, it’s Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman we are talking about here. In particular, Liv. Now long-retired, the Norwegian actress (you thought she was Swedish?) faces the camera to describe her on-off life-long relationship with one of the most revered directors of the 20th Century. And, genius or not, what a controlling bastard he is. Having seduced the star-struck 20-something Liv while they worked on an early film (Persona?), Ingmar keeps her pretty much a prisoner in his home. Although she escapes to make her own career, Ullmann still revels in his adulation of her: “He called me his Stradivarius,” she says. Film nuts will go ape recognizing the various Bergman film clips that appear. I recognized parts of Persona, Cries and Whispers, The Silence, Fanny and Alexander, Scenes from a Marriage, and (I think) Smiles of a Summer Night. This makes my must-see list simply because of its subject matter.