North by Current

Director Angelo Madsen Minax / 2021 / USA

Part road movie, part video essay, this lyrical tour-de-force from Angelo Madsen Minax finds catharsis in confronting family drama.

Following the tragic death of his infant niece, visual artist and experimental filmmaker Minax returns to his family’s rural home in Michigan. Revelations of child abuse surface, his sister’s husband is named a suspect, and grief has turned into crisis. Initially seeking to make a film about criminal culpability and the corrupt justice system, he instead finds himself excavating the depths of a troubled personal history.

Armed with his camera, Minax sets out to unpack his family’s turbulent past – his sister’s drug addiction, his Mormon parents’ struggle with his trans identity – while experiencing clarity and cleansing as he delves into the complicated bonds that tie them to one another. Mixing raw, vérité footage and interviews with archival photos and home movies, North by Current is a bold and boundary-pushing work of nonfiction cinema, one that interrogates family, grief, truth and gender identity through an unwavering, compassionate lens.

“Turns a specific portrait of a specific American town into a breathless evocation for an entire class of Americans lost in the periphery … A titanic work.” – Criterion Cast

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