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100 minutes
With its long takes, nature imagery, and noncommittal narrative, this 2010 debut feature from Costa Rica seems tailor-made for the festival circuit. A young married couple, vacationing on one of the coasts, encounter a little girl who deceitfully tells them her parents are dead, then disappears; the husband is largely unfazed by this incident, but the wife is unsettled. Shooting almost exclusively at eye level with the characters, writer-director Paz Fabrega makes striking use of natural light, but her film plays like a thin version of Lucrecia Martel's The Holy Girl or The Headless Woman: class issues are hinted at but never really explored, and everything is kept as mysterious as possible. This is pretty-looking but reminds us that few things are more overrated than ambiguity. Also known as Cold Water of the Sea. In English and subtitled Spanish.

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