Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Few Dispatches from Tribeca Film Festival



So far at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, I've seen five films. The closest that has come to blowing me away is Yossi, the latest film from Israeli director Eytan Fox; I explained what I liked about it in this House Next Door review. Unfortunately, there are no more screenings of the film scheduled at the festival, so you fine people will have to wait for either a future theatrical release or a subsequent home-video appearance to see it. But it's definitely worth your time.

Your Sister's Sister, the latest film from Humpday writer-director Lynn Shelton, is also worth your time—at least, up until its third act, which becomes a bit too plot-heavy and melodramatic for my taste. But all three of its lead actors are terrific, and there are other admirable aspects to it, as I tried to explain over at Slant Magazine here.

Less worthy of your attention is Postcards from the Zoo, a terminally boring hunk of whimsy from an Indonesian filmmaker who goes by the name of Edwin. One-and-a-half stars to go along with this Slant Magazine review? I think that's the lowest star rating I've given at that site!

Two films I've seen at Tribeca which I didn't review, but which are of varying degrees of interest: Sleepless Night and Cut. The former is a French action thriller that, like the recent Indonesian film The Raid: Redemption, has generated a lot of positive buzz since its world premiere at Toronto last year. Gareth Evans's film offers up an abstract ballet of violence and choreography; Frédéric Jardin's film, however, features actual human interest underpinning its fiendish plot complications and twisty morals. Both are enjoyable in their own ways (and I wrote so about The Raid when I saw it at South by Southwest last month), but given the choice between the two, I would opt for Jardin's film without question.

As for Cut, Iranian filmmaker Amir Naderi's brutal Japanese-language poison-pen letter to cinephilia—well, the film leaves me with deeply mixed feelings, but as frustrating and sometimes grueling as the experience of watching it was, it still sticks in the memory, for better and for worse. As a bitterly ironic riposte to recent nostalgic old-movie valentines like Hugo and The Artist, it has a certain crude, pummeling effectiveness. As Roger Ebert said about The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, I can't quite recommend it, but I wouldn't discourage you from seeing it.

More to come at Tribeca...

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