The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina, 2009, Sony Pictures Classics) is an Argentinean crime drama about an unsolved rape/murder case set primarily in the 1970s against the backdrop of “the Dirty War.” The main character is Benjamin, a retired court investigator whose life becomes consumed by the need to solve the case. Director Juan José Campanella takes a classic “whodunit” and weaves a complex narrative that transcends the crime genre. Available on Vudu and Google Play.
City of God (Brazil, 2002, Miramax) is a coming-of-age film set in the Rio de Janeiro slums. Spanning decades, it chronicles the lives of Rocket, an aspiring photographer, and Li’l Dice, a blood-thirsty, revolver-wielding murderer on a quest to become the boss of the neighborhood drug trade. It’s dark but also wonderful. Director Fernando Meirelles takes a story about senseless violence and inescapable poverty and through dark humor, stylish camera work, and a funky soundtrack, saves the film from unrelieved horror and the viewer from complete despair. Available on iTunes.