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The Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Turns 5 

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CHUTNEY POPCORN

Indian-American lesbian Reena lives with her pretty white girlfriend, takes photos and does Mehndi henna designs for a living, all to the dismay of her mother, who can't help comparing Reena to her perfect, just-married sister, Sarita. When Sarita discovers she's unable to have children, however, Reena decides to become a surrogate mother, and upsets the lives of all around her. This feature debut from writer-director Nisha Ganatra (she also plays Reena) is pleasantly entertaining, with fine performances and a hearty dose of smart-mouthed wisecracking. But for all her allusions to touchy subjects -- the push and pull between lesbian lifestyles and traditional hetero roles, immigrant families suspended between two cultures -- there's not much that disrupts the film's urban-lite setting and undercurrent of middle-class comfort. The film's title is dead on. (Screening with The Mischievous Ravi; Saturday, April 17, 9 p.m., Harmony Gold; Sunday, April 18, 11 a.m., Laemmle 2) (H-DD)

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