New York Times film critic A.O. Scott makes a rare lecture appearance in town this weekend at KAM Isaiah Israel in Hyde Park, 1100 E. Hyde Park, 773-924-1234. Tonight at 8 PM, as part of the Shabbat service, he’ll speak about varying portrayals of the Holocaust in European and American movies. On Saturday at 7 PM, Scott will introduce and lead a discussion of Claude Miller’s drama A Secret, and on Sunday at 10:30 AM, he’ll make a third appearance to take random questions.

In this week’s issue, Andrea Gronvall has a Critic’s Choice for Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata, about a man who loses his job and tries to conceal his predicament from his family. We also have new reviews of Affinity, a lesbian bodice ripper adapted from a Sarah Waters novel; The English Surgeon, a documentary about a London neurosurgeon who travels to Ukraine every year trying to help an overtaxed colleague there; Fast & Furious, the latest installment in the durable gearhead franchise; Gigantic, a quirky indie comedy with Paul Dano, Zooey Deschanel, John Goodman, and Ed Asner; The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, a drama adapted from Michael Chabon’s novel; Observe and Report, the latest Seth Rogen comedy; Paris 36, a historical drama from French directed by Christophe Barratier (The Chorus); and Repo! The Genetic Opera, a goth musical shocker that’s been building a midnight audience at Music Box.

Yes, the season is picking up. But amid all the noise, be careful not to overlook two small, quiet movies of considerable power, one making its first Chicago appearance, the other its last (for a while, anyway). On Thursday, April 16, the Asian American Showcase wraps up at Gene Siskel Film Center with Treeless Mountain, a touching story of two little girls abandoned by their mother with a neglectful aunt; writer-director So Yong Kim is best known for her 2006 feature In Between Days. And this Saturday and Sunday at 1 PM, Facets Cinematheque brings back Lucy Reichardt’s devastating Wendy and Lucy, with Michelle Williams as a young woman stranded in a small town and at the edge of ruin.