[Marxism] Stand Clear of the Closing Doors; A World Not Ours | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu May 22 17:13:02 MDT 2014
On 5/22/14 7:03 PM, DW wrote:
> HD Trailer of the film. Watch this yesterday and was enthralled:
I think that Stephen Holden of the NY Times got this right. New Yorkers
should not miss this one or the Palestinian documentary:
A Boy Lost in the Underworld
‘Stand Clear of the Closing Doors,’ a Subway Odyssey
NYT Critics' Pick
By STEPHEN HOLDEN
“Stand Clear of the Closing Doors,” a small miracle of a film, captures
the grass-roots swirl of New York City with an extraordinary sensory
attuning to urban life. Set largely inside the city’s subway system, it
observes the world through the eyes of Ricky (Jesus Sanchez-Velez), a
bright but easily distracted 13-year-old boy with midrange autism who
gets lost underground. Mr. Sanchez-Velez, the untrained actor who plays
him, has Asperger’s syndrome and is a hauntingly plaintive screen presence.
Entranced by a dragon decal on a stranger’s jacket, Ricky follows him
into the subway at Rockaway Beach, Queens, where he lives with his
mother, Mariana (Andrea Suarez Paz), and 15-year-old sister, Carla (Azul
Zorrilla). His father, Ricardo Sr., who is working upstate when Ricky
disappears, is rarely at home but shows up late in the movie to help
look for him.
Mariana is an illegal Mexican immigrant who works as a part-time
housekeeper. Ricky wanders off and disappears when Carla neglects her
daily task of walking him home from school, to go shopping. Mariana is
furious. Even in ordinary times, Ricky is a handful for whom school
officials lack the resources to devote the attention he requires.
As the movie jumps back and forth between mother and son, Mariana
becomes increasingly panicked, while Ricky gradually crumples into
himself, growing hungrier, his only sustenance a bag of potato chips he
buys with his last four quarters and a banana given to him by a homeless
man. He also becomes dirtier. After a futile search for an unlocked
bathroom, he urinates in his seat, and other passengers comment and
begin to avoid him. It isn’t clear how many days and nights he remains
Throughout the movie, you are forcefully reminded that time spent on the
subway may be the ultimate New York grounding experience. You feel the
city’s collective pulse as the entire spectrum of humanity pours around
you. The movie captures the complicated mixture of loneliness,
exhilaration, fear and curiosity of subway travel, which even in the
quietest of times can be a hallucinatory experience that seeps deep into
Directed by Sam Fleischner from a screenplay by Rose Lichter-Marck and
Micah Bloomberg, the film has such an infallible ear for subway sounds,
riders’ remarks and panhandlers’ spiels that it is next to impossible to
distinguish overheard conversations by nonactors from scripted dialogue.
It also finds an intense, gritty beauty in the patterns of tiles and
pipes that Ricky studies fixedly as he rides from one end of the system
to the other and back, stopping more than once at Times Square.
Ricky is an uncommonly imaginative artist with an entire notebook of
drawings depicting dragons like the one on the stranger’s jacket. A more
ethereal beauty is glimpsed in the subway lights and in reflections on
car windows as the trains swoosh by one another. Now and then, the film
pauses to study a colored image as though gazing through half-closed eyes.
“Stand Clear of the Closing Doors” sharply distinguishes Ricky’s
dreaminess with Mariana’s hard-edge desperation. The emergency forces
Mariana out of her shell, and she befriends Carmen (Marsha Stephanie
Blake), a saleswoman from a shoe store Ricky frequents who accompanies
Mariana to a police station and helps her distribute fliers.
The movie was three-quarters of the way toward completion when Hurricane
Sandy hammered the Rockaways. Mr. Fleischner’s home was destroyed, and
the subway closed for over a week. He had to rethink the ending.
“Stand Clear of the Closing Doors” is all the more impressive for not
overreacting to the catastrophe and making it the main event. It stays
with its characters to a wonderfully witty and understated ending.
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