May 2, 2008

Tribeca Film Festival: Film OD

I was given a one day free pass to the Tribeca Film Festival. I was in the midst of boycotting said event, because they rejected my short film. I Want Revenge. But after my free day pass.
I saw 4 features and like 5 shorts. At one point my head was about to explode.
I saw Theater of War, this documentary about war, Brecht and Meryl Streep and artsy New Yorkers who ride bikes and want to express their disgust of war through putting on plays. The problem with the film is that it is all over the place. And no, you don't really get to see la Streep's behind the scenes acting magic tricks, although you get to see her Mother Courage up close and she is the best thing in the movie (although much more likable in character than in person. In person she sounds like a pill).
I was totally underwhelmed by this film, even though its director had much more sense of humor in person than in his movie.
Next, this pretty impressive French movie called 57,000 Miles Away, directed by a young Frenchwoman (please do not expect me to do the homework, I can barely remember what was what). It is totally shot on video, and unfortunately most of it is handheld by a camera operator who seems to have a serious case of the shakes. Either that or he was drinking his espressos with his free hand.
A tripod here and there would have been a welcome relief. However, I thought this movie was super smart, very well written, extremely well acted, provocative, kinky and amazing. It's about how people are obsessed with connecting through technology but quite incapable of relating in person. But it is also about how technology, which supposedly is meant to bring people together, really tears them apart. And it is about the really sinister aspect of laying yourself out for all to see with webcams and blogs and avatars and je ne se quoi plus. Suffice it to say that this is the kind of movie where the most normal and well adjusted person is a transvestite dad. I really liked it.
Then I snuck into one of the short programs, mainly to see how my short compared. I think it compares pretty favorably, though the gnawing question remains, then why didn't it make it. Somebody told me that at Tribeca you have to know someone. In which case a pox on them. But it seems that mine may have put on a good fight and so I can rest easy. I was not extra impressed by what I saw except for a very well done short called The Aviatrix, which was whimsical and ironic at the same time.
Then I saw The Caller. The two reasons why I went into this movie was that it stars Frank Langella and Elliot Gould and who would not want to see them on a screen together? After a while of really non-functioning pretentious, overwrought noir (how can a noir movie have a child in it?), I was rather dreaming of an Odd Couple remake with the two greats, because this movie just yanks your chain pointlessly and was not getting anywhere fast. I actually walked out of it. I love Elliot Gould. He still has this amazing comic timing, this fresh, shlubby delivery, this intelligence. Meanwhile Frank Langella is becoming a master of minimal acting. They rock, Oscar and Felix.
Then I had dinner at Sobaya, and walked around for almost two hours to regain some urgent fresh air. I was about to call it a night, but the Swedish movie held promise, and boy was I happy to stick it out. Let the last one in is one of the most impressive films I have seen in a long time. A masterful, sweet, horrific, funny, taut, amazingly poised mashup of genres. It deserved to win the award it won. It's been three days and I can't get it out of my head. A fantastic film, I hope it gets distribution. I can see someone already buying the rights to make a stupid remake here with Myley Cyrus or whatever her name is, which would be an insult and would have none of the fierce intelligence of this film. If it is playing anywhere near you, run to see it.

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