‘The Year of the Everlasting Storm’ Review: Home Movies

You can’t blame filmmakers for keeping busy during lockdown. The omnibus film “The Year of the Everlasting Storm” assembles pandemic-made shorts from around the globe. But with just two decent segments out of seven, this anthology uncannily replicates the sensation of feeling trapped.

The highlights come first and last. Iran’s Jafar Panahi, who has dealt with the restrictions of filming at home before (he made his extraordinary “This Is Not a Film” in his apartment, defying a moviemaking ban), delivers a sweet, minor document of a cautious visit by his mother, who arrives wearing what looks like full hazmat gear. She video chats with her granddaughter (spritzing the phone with sanitizer first) and negotiates an accord with Panahi’s pet iguana, Iggy.

From Thailand, Apichatpong Weerasethakul (“Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives”) closes out the feature with a nonnarrative short that intermingles the reverberations of tube lights and the buzzing of insects. Weerasethakul recorded the sound himself, and at a point the bugs’ fluttering seems to merge with scratchy spoken words.

The other segments fall into more predictable territory. Anthony Chen (“Wet Season”), whose chapter is set in China, follows two parents and their young son as stir craziness sets in. In California, Malik Vitthal (“Body Cam”) mixes media, using camera phone footage and animation for a short documentary in which the coronavirus complicates an already complicated custody situation. The Chilean director Dominga Sotomayor (“Too Late to Die Young”) and the American David Lowery (“The Green Knight”) barely make impressions.

And Laura Poitras (the Edward Snowden doc “Citizenfour”), working with the London-based research group Forensic Architecture, conjures a paranoia-suffused atmosphere as she shares highlights from an investigation into an Israeli cyberweapons manufacturer. But the brief running time does not allow for sufficient context.

The Year of the Everlasting Storm
Not rated. In Persian, Mandarin, English, Spanish and Thai, with subtitles Running time: 1 hour 55 minutes. In theaters.

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