nytimes.com - 9 days ago
Review: ‘Alina’ Is the Work of an Indie Film Veteran, New at Directing
Ben Barenholtz has been a film distributor, exhibitor and producer, who has influenced the careers of David Lynch, John Sayles and Joel and Ethan Coen.
He has even been credited with inventing the concept of the midnight movie at Chelsea’s long-gone Elgin Theater, which he ran. Alas, the self-financed “Alina,” his first fiction feature as a director, looks like the work of someone just starting out. This fish-out-of-water story goes to predictable places in unconvincing ways. Alina (Darya Ekamasova), a Russian with a passion for photography, travels to New York seeking her father, whom she’s never met. (Not wanting to alarm her mother, she pretends she’s going to Cuba.) Alina soon discovers the city is full of sharks. She moves in with an old friend (Anna Vlads) and her two roommates, not realizing that when they bring her to a party, they expect her to have sex with the rich hosts.
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