Fernando Eimbcke’s Duck Season is one of the year’s great surprises – a nuanced, authentic portrait of adolescent ennui and maturation that treats pre-teen emotions with a Jim Jarmusch-ian brand of detached sympathy and bemusement. Set entirely on a Sunday and largely inside a high-rise Mexico tenement apartment, Eimbcke’s directorial debut concerns fourteen-year-old best friends Flama (Daniel Miranda) and Moko (Diego Cataño), whose leisurely, parent-free day of playing “Bush vs. Bin Laden” games of Halo, eating pizza, and drinking large Cokes is thrown for a loop by the arrival of neighboring sixteen-year-old Rita (Danny Perea) – who wants to use Flama’s kitchen to cook – and pizza deliveryman Ulises (Enrique Arreola). What ensues is a series of small-scale vignettes with large-scale reverberations for the boys’ friendship, with both compelled to confront their complicated feelings for each other as they find themselves on a figurative threshold between a comforting past and unknown, uncertain future. Aside from one explanation-overload moment in which Ulises clarifies the film’s title (related to a painting Flama’s divorcing parents are fighting over) and, consequently, Flama and Moko’s migration into a new phase of teenagerdom, Eimbcke never excessively stresses the underlying forces at play; instead, he lets them naturally ooze out from languorous scenarios that he deftly dramatizes via a collection of cleverly composed black-and-white compositions that stress his character’s shifting relationships to one another. Duck Season’s consistently underplayed humor and pathos ultimately, however, owes much to its cast’s naturalistic indolence, the foursome’s amusingly languid (yet sensitive and subtly tense) performances – unlike the building’s on-and-off electricity – giving the action a consistent emotional charge.