VIFF 2013: Stand Clear of the Closing Doors

Monday 30th, September 2013 / 17:51

StandClearOfTheClosingDoorsThis is filmmaker Sam Fleischner’s second effort.

It tells the story of Ricky, played by Jesus Sanchez-Velez, a 13-year-old Mexican-American boy with autism. His family lives on Rockaway Beach in Queens. He goes missing one day when his older sister (Azul Zorilla) fails to pick him up after school and the search that follows makes up most of the film.

The film is quiet, but fraught with tension and suspense stirring only just below the surface. Although the pace is steady, there is a constant kinetic energy onscreen. The audience becomes immersed in Ricky’s head, noticing the things that fascinate him, overhearing snippets of dialogue on the subway, constantly observing. Aspects of the filming techniques feel hallucinatory. Distorted lights and reflections are shown through Ricky’s point of view. Through the days Ricky spends on the subway, he manages to encounter a unique cross-section of the people of New York.

The narrative flows nicely back and forth between Ricky’s odyssey and his family’s desperate search for him. His mother Mariana (Andrea Suarez Paz) blames his sister Carla for his disappearance, and harbors resentment toward their father, who is away at work. She spends hours searching for him on the beach and putting out flyers. As Hurricane Sandy approaches New York, the sense of impending doom increases. The authenticity and quiet desperation of this film make it a definite recommendation.

Showing at International Village #8 on September 30 at 6:45 p.m. and October 2 at 10:30 a.m.

By Carly Smith


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