Friday, May 25, 2012

So Many Films, So Little Time ...

Filmmaker Judd Apatow of Bridesmaids fame, Robert De Niro, Co-Founder Tribeca Film Festival, and moderator Mike Fleming of Deadline Hollywood on stage at the Tribeca Talks Director's Series: 100 Years of Universal.
The 2012 Tribeca Film Festival: So Many Films, So Little Time ...
by Jill Lynne

Whether in literature or film, a great story brilliantly told by a dynamic narrator (writer, director) can be a transcendent experience.

We in New York City are fortunate to host the annual Tribeca Film Festival.

Melissa of "Baked by Melissa" caters all with her delicious petite sweets.
This year’s 2012 Festival spotlighted 89 features, shorts, talks, panels and events — more than enough to satiate the most ardent Cinemaphiles.

Notably, film festivals have become the only place to view specific cinema. With the demise of small art houses, many indies (independent films) never make it into distribution, especially documentaries (made with blood, sweat and tears, and offering only minimal remuneration). 

Frequently, even those films that do find distribution are rarely available in the multiplexes that dot our landscape. 

Films are a passion for me. The average week finds me screening a minimum of five films — in screening rooms (Sony is my favorite!), in theaters, (The Ziegfeld is still the best!), and also on movie channels (Sundance tops the list!)

I believe that film is best viewed collectively, designed for that large screen and enhanced surround-sound — the communal booing of villains, and contagious applause following crescendo finales.
Actor Chris Lenk from the Teddy Award-winning Keep The Lights On, chronicling the decline of a NYC-based gay male relationship due to substance abuse. Director Ira Sachs with actress Jodie Markell of Keep The Lights On.
The young cast-members (and others) of The Playroom — who are neglected while their parents "party." The film comes out of the new Dallas movie scene. The beautiful Molly Parker stars alongside John Hawkes in The Playroom.
Stones In The Sun, an impassioned narrative feature which focuses on the travails of Haitian immigrants in Brooklyn. Filmmaker Haitian-born P. Benoit (L), with her daughter and additional cast members.
Miami-based Sexy Baby filmmakers Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus. The film explores the world of women and pornography. Musician Brittany Hayes with her mother Cheryl. Ms Hayes is featured in the documentary Fame High.
My coverage is unabashedly biased.

Candidly some “tired” overplayed genres have lost interest — neurotic-supposedly comedic-dysfunctional family sagas (more interesting: psychosis and schizophrenia!), action films sporting too many car chases, doomsday dramas offering hopeless futures, vacuous movies seemingly manufactured to demonstrate the newest in digital-plus technology ...

Time is precious! Theater tickets pricey! So please do not waste ours!

Let’s support the educational and the inspirational — with a willingness to go through that tough-stuff if it is indeed purposeful — allowing one to leave the cinema a bit wiser, more learned, and aspiring to do better.

The hilarious and very talented Julia Delpy, writer, director, lead actress in 2 Days In New York, at the Apple store for TFF event.
So Voila!

Following are my FAVES — “Good Faith” recommendations ...

Two Days In New York
Julia Delpy has done it again!
After the success of 2 Days In Paris five years ago, this notable innovator, who hails from a long line of France’s famed film families (her dad plays the granddad), has returned with this hilarious tale of an eccentric NYC-based family hosting their Parisian relatives. Maturing several of the characters from her first winner, she has written, directed, and stars in this charming romp. Chris Rock also "rocks" in this delightful feature.

Interestingly, Delpy — who is equally hilarious in person — notes that she creates “tight-written improvisation that is intended to appear effortless," and that financing is actually more readily available to women in France.

Any Day Now
The Heineken-Award Winner!
Lest-we-forget, at this critical time when hard-fought-for laws of social justice are threatened, this important narrative takes place in the San Francisco of 1979. It is a heart-wrenching tale of one wonderful gay male couple’s struggle to adopt a Down’s syndrome child. Actor Alan Cumming (who has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his LGBT work) plays the adorable cross-dressing performer, undoubtedly delivering one of his most riveting roles ever.
Heineken Award-winner Any Day Now team: Director Travis Fine, with lead actor Isaac Leyva, who plays the neglected young Down's syndrome boy Marco, yearning to be adopted by a remarkable gay couple in 1975 San Francisco. Alan Cumming plays the wonderful Rudy, a gay aspiring singer/cross-dressing performer seeking to adopt Marco.
Booker’s Place
A Mississippi Story
The Documentary form at its best!
This enlightening story returns us to 1965 when the father of filmmaker Raymond De Felitta (City Island ...), Frank Fe Felitta, made an NBC News film focused on the tensions resulting from the struggle for Civil Rights in the Mississippi Delta.

Highlighting a controversial candid interview with a local African-American waiter, Booker Wright, who “tells-it-like-it-is,” invokes Southern outrage.

In 2012, Raymond returns to the scene to explore the impact of his Dad’s original Docu, Booker’s consequent murder, and the manner in which the South has transformed.
Writer Yvette Johnson, the granddaughter of the late Booker Wright, featured in the documentary Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story, which details the struggle for Civil Rights in the Mississippi Delta of 1965 and the consequent transformation of the contemporary South. Director/Filmmaker Raymond De Felitta, Booker's Place, whose father, Frank De Felitta, made the original 1965 NBC News documentary featuring Booker Wright.
Let Fury Have The Hour
Filmmaker, artist and author Antonino D’Ambrosia offers up this insightful documentary collage of the counter culture’s creative artistic response to the conservative politics of the Regan era and the 1980s.

It is a tale told through a pastiche of interviews with artists, writers and filmmakers — from skateboarders through John Sayles. D’Ambrosia’s vision revolves around the importance of collective action as opposed to contemporary self-absorption. The title Let Fury Have The Hour is taken from a song by The Clash.
Antonino D'Ambrosia's Let Fury Have The Hour focuses on the collective creative response to political socio-economic repression. Acclaimed Indian actress Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) discusses her Lead role in Trishna, the Michael Winterbottom-directed tragic tale of the relationship between a rickshaw owner and the son of a real-estate developer.
Future Weather
The ever-interesting Lili Taylor stars, along with the terrific Amy Madigan in this fascinating narrative, which commendably focuses on two female scientists — a science teacher, and a dedicated, 13-year-old aspiring student (wonderfully enacted by Perla Haney-Jardine as Laduree). Presenting a factual view of the impact of global warming as well as a non-sentimental look at the cycles of abuse and neglect through three generations of women, the film is a product of the developing Philadelphia cinema scene. True to its message, the filmmakers (Director Jenny Deller, Producer Kristen Fairweather) allowed no plastic water bottles on the set.
Future Weather's gifted actress Perla Haney-Jardine, who plays a young aspiring scientist. Environmentally-focused Future Weather's three of four female lead actors Marin Ireland, Amy Madigan, and Lili Taylor.
Highly entertaining, this historically accurate story is based on the invention of the electric dildo in 19th century London. Artfully acted by an excellent cast — Felicity Jones, Rupert Everett and Jonathan Price – Director Tanya Wexler will have you giggling.

As Luck Would Have It
Vivacious Actress Salma Hayack illuminates this amusing farce revolving around the desperation of the unemployed — particularly her husband — played by Spanish comic Jose Marta.

One Nation Under Dog
This soon-to-be-aired HBO release presents a heartfelt look at the complex relationship we, as human beings, have with canines. The documentary traverses from the sweet through the horrific — from the synchronistic parallel between beloved pets and their dedicated owners, through the tragedy of puppy mills and abandonment, ultimately leading to the annual euthanizing of over 4 million of Man’s best friends.

There were a multitude of great films I did not see, and others that I could not sincerely recommend.

So many films ... so little time.