Thomas Doret and Cécile de France in The Kid With the Bike
Thomas Doret and Cécile de France in The Kid With the Bike

More successful as cinema, Chilean director Cristián Jimenez's Bonsái — adapted from the short novel by Alejandro Zambra and also in "Un Certain Regard" — is a tricky tragicomedy of student-boho life in which deadpan exchanges are enlivened by percussive blasts of teen spirit. This could have been unbearably smug, but the director's unsentimental evocation of youth's eternal present and the movie's funky Santiago ambiance mitigate the preciosity. Bonsái may be familiar, but it isn't banal. The movie is not bad, and these days, "not bad" is the new "pretty good."

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