El Mar La Mar ★★★½

The opening ("Rio") is *stunning*, probably Skandies material for one of my favourite scenes of the year. It's a whirling prelude to something in a much quiet, darker register, one that's ostensibly experimental yet increasingly familiar, if you've been watching enough fringe cinema to have seen a few documentaries that give you only fragmentary bits of information, hang on shots for a long time, tell stories in narration, and work at a slow (if not glacial) pace. I happen to like this genre, and EL MAR LA MAR ups the ante by making it a monster movie for people who hate monster movies (while simultaneously being a movie that people who like monster movies will hate). But it also has its patience-testing moments, and if you're not a true believer in the genre (does this genre even have a name? spiritual geography?), this won't make you reconsider your biases. (That's why ISLAND OF THE HUNGRY GHOSTS exists, though admittedly that film's a bit more accessible.)