By Regina Weinreich – The Huffington Post – 5/31/2014
Petra Costa, a Brazilian filmmaker explores, in one of the most poetic films of the year, Elena, the life and death of her big sister. A dancer and actress who came to New York to pursue her art, Elena made tapes and kept diaries of her emotional state leading up to her suicide. These serve as voiceover for images of the girls’ early life. Particularly moving is the story of their mother, Li An, a revolutionary who was saved from political action, and perhaps death, as a result of her pregnancy with Elena. At times, it is hard to discern one from the other, Petra, Elena, Li An. But in the graceful movement of this film, it hardly matters. Grief is resonant. Which is why IFC decided to divide profits from three days’ ticket sales to three organizations devoted to healing, one of which is David Lynch’s foundation for transcendental meditation, a co-host of the Tribeca Grand Hotel premiere with Cinema Tropical. Tovah Feldshuh, Danny Strong, Patti Lupone, Dan Hedaya, and Ralph Gibson were among the guests. Tim Robbins was to have introduced, but was waylaid in Los Angeles. Mary Jane Marcasiano introduced instead.