SXSW Film Reviews

A wholly originally, wholly beautiful rumination on memory and rootlessness

The Slow Business of Going

D: Athina Rachel Tsangari; with Lizzie Martinez, Daniel Aukin, Sandra Carter, Mike Martin, Steve Moore. (35mm, 101 min.)

Petra Going makes a living out of making nowhere her home. She leapfrogs the planet -- from Tokyo to Manhattan to Havana to Prague -- making observations for the Global Nomadization Project. It's a neat hook (every night in a different city) but The Slow Business of Going is never gimmicky. It's a stunning directorial debut from Austin-based UT film professor Athina Rachel Tsangari, who doesn't shy away from a challenging structure and narrative (one scene is played out wordlessly, with only Looney Tunes-like sound effects that recall the glory days of silent comedy). Slow Business is also a brilliant display of multimedia work: animation, provocative still photos, and dreamy Super-8 pieces. Initially the film feels more like an impressive experiment in parts, like a series of shorts, which has prompted a few detractors to deem the film just too damn arty. But if you see this often funny and visually startling film through to the end, then the pieces finally, thrillingly, all fall into place and the film makes sense as a whole. More than makes sense, really -- Slow Business rattles the brain for long afterward. The acting is occasionally spotty (by a cast of mostly amateurs), but Lizzie Martinez (as Petra) is a delight in this wholly originally, wholly beautiful rumination on memory and rootlessness. (CC, 3/16, 9:30pm)

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

sxsw film, The Slow Business of Going, athina rachel tsangari, lizzie martinez

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