‘Elena’ proves the power of documentaries

Depression is something that movies never seem to get right. Perhaps it’s to avoid dragging viewers into a hopeless abyss, or sidestepping the painful truth that no one is immune to the despair. Whatever the reason, filmmakers invariably choose to glamourize depression, either by exaggerating it into a hallucinatory freakshow or diminishing it to tortured brooding. The reality—the unrelenting emptiness—is neither easy to portray nor pleasant to acknowledge. Petra Costa accomplishes both by weaving images and sounds from her childhood into a quasi-mystery story that’s determined to find closure, even if the case can never truly be solved.