Hermia & Helena

By now a casual specialist of loose and lively riffs on Shakespeare comedies, the young Argentine writer-director Matias Pineiro here ventures, albeit glancingly, into the enchantments and entanglements of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Agustina Munoz stars as a young theater director who departs Buenos Aires for a fellowship residency in New York, ostensibly to translate the play into Spanish. Complications gently ensue, with game turns from a companionable cast full of indie-film notables including Keith Poulson, Mati Diop, Dustin Guy Defa, and Dan Sallitt. This is a chamber drama, but with the chamber windows thrown open to let in lots of fresh air. Pineiro and cinematographer Fernando Lockett have a gracious and easygoing way of following people around, favoring human gestures even amidst periodic flourishes of formal experimentation. It all has a decidedly Bard-like aspect of deeply engaged creative playfulness, though the filmmaker’s voice is fully his own. It’s also a neat trick that this low-key tale of lostness in translation becomes a resonant affirmation of cultural commonality. Wistful Eric Rohmer nostalgists should be delighted to discover Pineiro if they haven’t already, and for that matter so should anyone who’s ever been moved by William Shakespeare.