STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING DOORS, his ode to the New York City subway system and the immigrant families who use it, cinematographer and now filmmaker Sam Fleischner thrusts us into the life and mind of Ricky, a teenage kid who is clearly somewhere on the autistic spectrum (maybe Asperger Syndrome plus) as he strikes out on his own to experience... well, the world of the subways. We also meet his family: a sister, for whom Ricky is mostly a chore; his mother, who earns the family's keep cleaning apartments of the 1 per cent; and an absentee father who initially is heard only via phone. Oh, yes: though it is unclear whether or not the kids were born in the USA, mom and dad are definitely undocumented illegals.
Andrea Swarez Pas, below) and semi-detest her clueless, disinterested employer; we also understand (though we may not much appreciate) her very American-educated daughter (Azul Zorrilla) and her attitude toward mom and brother; and finally we even understand the family's father (Tenoch Huerta) and his position. Macho and undocumen-ted don't seem to coexist easily here in millennial North America.
Jesus Sanchez-Velzez, below) is all you could ask in the role), but rather the kind of sameness that sets in regarding what Ricky appears to see, feel and express. (The sub-plot of a kindly shoe store clerk -- played by Marsha Stephanie Blake -- who helps mom make signage and interact with the police, comes off as a little too much like vamping.)
Rose Lichter-Marck and Micah Bloomberg, the screenplay moves back and forth in standard fashion between Ricky and his distraught mom and (eventually) sister and father.
Wah Do Dem, has managed to give us, and Ricky, a very real taste of the New York subways -- from the speechifying Jesus freaks and break-dancing kids "entertaining" their captive audiences to the rude/crude/uglies (like the young man who pours some kind of liquid over Ricky's head) and even a few nice folk, too. All of this is quite bracing. For awhile.
Oscilloscope, opens this Friday, May 23, in New York City at the Cinema Village.