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From New York City to the farmlands of the Midwest, there are 50,000 Chinese restaurants in the U.S., yet one dish in particular has conquered the American culinary landscape with a force befitting its military moniker—“General Tso’s Chicken.” But who was General Tso and how did this dish become so ubiquitous? Ian Cheney’s delightfully insightful documentary charts the history of Chinese Americans through the surprising origins of this sticky, sweet, just-spicy-enough dish that we’ve adopted as our own.
Paul Thomas Anderson joined his close friend and collaborator Jonny Greenwood on a trip to Rajasthan in northwest India, where they were hosted by the Maharaja of Jodhpur, and he brought his camera with him. Their destination was the 15th-century Mehrangarh Fort, where Greenwood was recording an album with Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur and an amazing group of musicians.
In the Mexican state of Michoacán, Dr. Jose Mireles, a small-town physician known as “El Doctor,” shepherds a citizen uprising against the Knights Templar, the violent drug cartel that has wreaked havoc on the region for years. Meanwhile, in Arizona’s Altar Valley—a narrow, 52-mile-long desert corridor known as Cocaine Alley—Tim “Nailer” Foley, an American veteran, heads a small paramilitary group called Arizona Border Recon, whose goal is to halt Mexico’s drug wars from seeping across our border.
In this film, Laerte conjugates the body in the feminine, and scrutinizes concepts and prejudices. Not in search of an identity, but in search of un-identities. Laerte is daughter and son, grandmother and grandfather; father of three, though orphaned of one. Laerte is the one who walks their daughter down the aisle as father and woman; who, even without a uterus, gestates. Laerte creates and sends creatures to face reality in the fictional world of comic strips as a vanguard of the self. And, on the streets, the one who becomes the fiction of a real character. Laerte, of all the bodies, and of none, complicates all binaries. In following Laerte, this documentary chooses to clothe the nudity beyond the skin we inhabit.