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Category: Movie

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Ms. Green doesn’t bother with the usual nonfiction signposts; there is no accompanying text or voice-over to serve as a guide. Instead, she records one performer after another on various soundstage sets who usually sit or occasional stand facing the camera, reciting (or reading) dialogue or holding forth on the real case. When speaking freely, some offer theories, a few darkly sensationalistic and sinister; a few theorists seem reasonable, but others come across as preposterous. Some seem to sympathize with the Ramseys, while others voice biases against the family. Some participants appear detached; still others register as deeply engaged, speaking about the case with an air of authority.

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As the movie opens, Eyal (Shai Avivi) and Vicky (Evgenia Dodina) have just reached the end of the shiva for their son, whom we learn almost nothing about. Eyal in particular is having trouble with how to mourn and with moving on. He doesn’t want to go to the grave site and fails, despite Vicky’s repeated reminders, to tend to the task of securing the plots next to their son so they can someday be buried there.

This comedy stars Paul Le Mat as a down-on-his-luck man who gives a ride to a bearded stranger (Jason Robards) who turns out to be Howard Hughes. The movie was well received by audiences and critics, including Vincent Canby, who in his review for The New York Times praised Mr. Demme’s efforts: “He is clearly a social satirist in the tradition of Preston Sturges. He’s a filmmaker with a fondness for the absurdities of our existence and for people who have no idea that they’re ‘little’ or teetering on the edge of disaster.”

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