Scott Marks 4:30 p.m., Dec. 5
Mathieu Demy's Americano (which he wrote, directed, and stars in) is a loving tribute to his parents, divine cinematic beings Agnes Varda and Jacques Demy. Don't worry, though; even if you can't screen Lola, The Model Shop, and Jacquot de Nantes in advance, Americano stands on its own as an assured piece of filmmaking. Middle-aged Martin (Demy) moved to Paris with his father at age eight and retains no childhood memories. When news of his mother's death arrives, Martin reluctantly returns to L.A. to help put her estate in order and carry out Mom's final wish of finding "Lola" (Salma Hayek), a woman who, in his absence, functioned like a daughter to her. Not everything works — a series of dubbed, full-frame flashbacks work to add a touch of charm and then lead nowhere. But ultimately, Demy (with the assistance of cinematographer Georges Lechaptois) finds an even balance between his father's romanticism and his mother's "subjective documentary" to make this a journey that is both deeply personal and well worth taking. With Geraldine Chaplin, Chiara Mastroianni, and Carlos Bardem (three actors who also boast famous relations). 2011.
— Scott Marks