Director: Julia Loktev
Year Released: 2006
Meticulous examination of a young, nondescript young woman's preparation to detonate a backpack bomb in Times Square. Loktev is cautious to excise the obvious reasons for her decision (immediate reaction is that she's a Muslim extremist or that the other terrorists are Muslims as well, but that's never made clear), and Luisa Williams' performance is chilling - her character is unflagging in her drive towards self-destruction and no simple psychology can explain her (plus, on a personal note, she looks a lot like my one Calculus T.A. from college). What this film actually manages to accomplish - in its potent, cinéma vérité-style ending in downtown Manhattan - is as legitimately life-affirming a message as the cinema's produced of late, with our anti-hero forced to beg for change to call up her fellow terrorists (and relatives of some sort) and busy trying to evade a horny guy who won't take no for an answer (in other words, New York cares). The conclusion itself also brings to mind the last line of Dorothy Parker's poem "Resume" - 'you might as well live....'