Ogden’s new Art House Cinema 502 is showcasing under-the-radar films. Each week, we’ll take a look at its offerings. ---
Continuing this week is the documentary Queen of the Sun, director Taggart Siegel’s exploration of the reasons behind bee “colony-collapse disorder.” And when it’s actually about that subject—contemplating the impact of pesticides, long-distance shipping to support monoculture farming and other human agricultural practices on bees—there’s some fascinating material. But Siegel devotes only around 20 percent of Queen of the Sun to that material, leaving the other 80 percent as a haphazardly collected bunch of comments from activists and apiarists about how important and amazing bees are, without much direction or forward momentum. The result feels more like a fawning love letter to bees than a real attempt to understand what’s wrong and how to fix it.
Far more engrossing is the Korean drama Poetry, from writer-director Lee Chang-dong. It follows the story of Mija (Yun Jung-hee, pictured), an aging woman raising her teenage grandson. After beginning to experience symptoms that could indicate dementia, Mija begins taking a community poetry class in an attempt to articulate her feelings. The premise could have led to a whole lot of overly literal explications of subtext through verse, but the multilayered narrative keeps revealing new facets of Mija’s character. It’s a terrific performance by Yun, gracefully directed by Lee with a combination of lyrical imagery and dark undercurrents. Like poetry itself, it’s beautiful and challenging to define.
Also featured this week: Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same; Magic Trip; Rubber.