Few things are more heartrending than a parent trying to insulate a child from poverty. In this impressive debut feature by Tze Chun, a Hong Kong woman and her two children are evicted from their home in Quincy, Massachusetts, and wind up squatting in a vacant condominium unit. The father has abandoned them, and the mother struggles to find some kind of marketing opportunity, parking the children in one awkward situation after another while she presses the flesh; when she’s suckered into a pyramid scheme, the family’s little house of cards finally collapses. Chun is a colleague of Half Nelson writer-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (in fact, Boden edited this), and, like their films, Children of Invention shows enormous love and respect for those clutching at the short end of the American Dream. 86 min.