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An 8-year-old girl in Manila keeps herself occupied at home while her busy family becomes increasingly fragmented in Nervous Translation. This empathic tone poem enters the headspace of its central character within the first few frames and never zooms back out, successfully replicating how a tricky math problem or the fixing of a well-worn cassette tape can briefly encompass the entire universe. Not for all metabolisms, certainly—the narrative could maybe use just a bit more drama, manufactured or otherwise—but the mood it creates and sustains is impressive. Capturing kidhood without being cloying is no easy feat.

Nervous Translation screens tonight and Sunday at the 44th annual Seattle International Film Festival, which happens through June 10. More recommended SIFF films here; and all SIFF films here.