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SXSW Film

Paper Covers Rock

D: Joe Maggio; with Jeannine Kaspar, Sayra Player, Juliet Stills

Paper Covers Rock is, at its breaking heart, a simple three-hander: Sam (Kaspar), a woman recovering from a failed suicide attempt; Ed (Player), her well-intentioned but domineering sister; and Sam's young daughter Lola (Stills), who Sam yearns to get back and whose absence defines and drives her descent back into despair. Depression in cinema is often an excuse for mawkishness or shrill overacting, but director Maggio uses it here quietly, delicately, and to debut his philosophy of incidental film: an anti-Dogme 95, where narrative truth is everything. This lends an uncomfortable realism, as the supposedly healed Sam unravels. As Sam, Kaspar captures the fragility of the truly despairing, and her almost wordless performance makes every step of her self-destructive path plausible and heartrending without ever being overblown. If Maggio wanted to make a fearless and touching movie, he managed it.

Friday, March 14, 2:30pm, Alamo Ritz

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