First time getting a ticket package (well, worth it on opening weekend). A great friend that I shared the experience with. Some insight on how to mingle in with the photographers for some great photo opportunities. Tribeca 2013 was a great experience up there with all my film festing experiences. Here is a recap of the who, what, where, and why of it all…
The Unforgettable Moments
These are some of the things I will never forget…
Justin Long & Peter Dinklage. The hearing the two of them banter after the screening of A Case of You was a priceless experience. I hadn’t really seen Dinklage in anything nor see any interview with him up to this point. The guy is always cracking jokes. And yes, Justin calls him Pete.
Zoe Kazan up-close and personal. I was right behind the line of photographers and interviewers on the red carpet of the premiere of The Pretty One, so close in face that I hear her responses to one of the interviews. She comes off as such a sweetheart.
Novelist Mohsin Hamid speaks at The Reluctant Fundamentalist post-screening panel. The guys is kinda brilliant and he studied under some of the greats in contemporary literature (like Toni Morrison). Wish I would have read his book that the film is based on before seeing the movie. For what I have heard, it sets up the story with more mystery.
Cecile de France on filming love scenes with Jean Dujardin. In her words, “He’s very attentive and kind”, which was met with snickering from the audience. I bet. Lucky girl. Though I have to admit that all the steaminess of what the scene should have been did not translate to the screen.
The Missed Opportunities
I missed out on attending some of the special events around the festival including Tribeca Talks discussions. Next time. I can always watch the archived videos though (and you can, too):
Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, and Richard Linklater talk Before Midnight and 18 years of collaboration.
Robert DeNiro, Jerry Lewis, and Martin Scorsese reflect on The Kings of Comedy.
Clint Eastwood and Darren Aronofsky discuss difficult actors and other topics.
Seven screenings in five days. There were good ones, there were bad ones. Here is a brief synopsis of my thoughts on each:
Sunlight Jr (Naomi Watts, Matt Dillon, Norman Reedus)
“It accomplished being both a standout look at relationships that challenge social norms and that draw intriguing parallels to each other and a film that could use some work conceptually.”
The Pretty One (Zoe Kazan, Jake Johnson)**
“The Pretty One stands as a bright, quirky, heart-warming thing of a film that would definitely satisfy on a first watch, a re-watch, and a gorge-watch.”
My time at Tribeca 2013 came to a close with, unfortunately, some film screenings that weren’t really worth my effort. In a way I feel tricked, dubbed even into investing my time. However, that’s the price you pay for going on blind faith at film festivals; you’re not given much more than a three line synopsis and maybe one promo still from the movie to gone on. It’s always a leap of faith, and sometimes that faith doesn’t pan out.
The Moment. All I have to say is that this movie was one of the most uninspired films I have ever seen. The film stars Jennifer Jason Leigh as a woman who works as a wartime photographer, often to the detriment of her relationship with her now grown daughter. After she gets severely injured on a trip to Somali, she meets and begins a relationship with a man she meets in the rehab clinic. Following the destruction of their relationship months later she has a mental breakdown and after being committed to a psych ward, she meets a man there who bares a striking resemblance her ex-boyfriend. The film attempts to delve into her guilt over what may or may not have happened to her ex through multiple reiterations of possible memories and her own suspicious and fears. Sorry but this comes off more like a silly student film than a work of an accomplished filmmaker. My Grade: D-
—> Heineken Green Room Sessions with director Jane Weinstock for The Moment
Möbius. You watch the trailer and get excited for a movie that has the potential of being a sort of mixed between a trippy, intellectual film that was more than it seemed and a spy thriller on par with The Bourne Identity. You then actually watch the movie and find out its more of a sappy love story than an actual spy movie and not even a good one at that. Möbius centers around the intersection of the Russian and American intelligence agencies to retrieve vital information on the untoward dealings of Russian businessman (Tim Roth) using an international finance wiz as a mole (Cecile de France). The film relies on heavily on everyone double crossing everyone else, seducing jet-setting locals (I HAVE to get to Monaco one day), and trilingualism (French! Russian! English!) in order to masquerade as a worthwhile, 21st century spy/finance thriller. When that doesn’t cut it, tries to build up the inconvenient, under-wraps relationship between the lead undercover Russian intelligence officer (Jean Dujardin) and de France’s character, giving us some of the worst love scenes and unconvincing romancing ever. Möbius is one of those movies where lead actors are so much better than the material they are given as well as being stronger when they are apart and not acting together. If it wasn’t for Jean Dujardin, who struts sexily in and out or rooms, wears a suit (or not wear much of anything) so well, and delivers his lines with such thoughtfulness (I contend that he is a good actor), I wouldn’t have had anything that get my through scene after scene. My Grade: C-
—> Behind the scenes photos of the making of Mobius
Tribeca In Pictures (#2)
My experiences with the Tribeca Film Festival 2013 though my camera lens:
1. Sunday brunch at Southern Hospitality, a BBQ joint in Hell’s Kitchen co-owned by Justin Timberlake; 2. Sam Rockwell and his (odd) poses for the photogs before the premiere of A Case of You; 3. The cast of A Case of You at the post-screening discussion 4. Alice Eve and Neil LaBute discuss Some Velvet Morning; 5. Justin Long on the red carpet; 6. A glimpse at Kiefer Sutherland pre-screening of The Reluctant Fundamentalist; 7. Both Mira Nair (director) and Mohsin Hamid (novelist) discuss both mediums of The Reluctant Fundamentalist;; 8. Cast and director of The Reluctant Fundamentalist field questions from the audience; Kate Hudson looks great!
More of my photos from TFF 2013 -> Tribeca in Pictures (#1)
As I was by myself for the rest of the festival, much of my third day was spent walking around the city, particularly a trek between Tribeca and SoHo and back again. If I ever was fortunate enough to live in Manhattan (and I say that to mean ‘have alot of money’) I would definitely live in this area of the city. One thing to note though; independent bookstores in SoHo (and I really try and support these) sure don’t believe in plugs for your computer or free bathrooms. One charged 25 cents to use the restroom. True story.
One screening on this day, and that was this film which originally premiered at the 2012 Venice Film Festival. Based on the Mohsin Hamid novel, the film is directed by Mira Nair, the filmmaker behind a similar book adaptation on the Eastern cultural experience in America - The Namesake. Set post-9/11, The Reluctant Fundamentalist opens with Pakistani-born Changez in his home country, a teacher at a local school who is being accused of being having dealings with a Islamic fundamentalist group who has recently kidnapped a fellow teacher. Changez is confronted by an American investigative journalist (Liev Schrieber) to divulge the extent of his involvement; he agrees to if he is willing to hear his whole story. From there we are taken back through the last 5 years or so of his life starting from his leaving from his home city of Lahore, Pakistan to being a golden boy at Princeton to being recruited to work on Wall Street as a financial analyst as the protege for a hot shot he longs to become (Kiefer Sutherland). The is the embodiment of the pursuit of the American dream. He meets photographer Erica (Kate Hudson), the liberal bohemian white woman he comes to have a relationship with and who comes to represent another step in the assimilation into American culture. Then 9/11 happens. And his world is rocked. And all of the external things and all the internal conflicts we would think would happen to a Middle Eastern-born Muslim happens. Even surprising revelations like Changez having a momentary feeling of awe at the site of the planes hitting the Twin Towers. And there begins not only a clash between where his alliances lie or whether a side truly has to be defined but really the idea of unwanted infiltration vs. peaceful assimilation.
Day 2 of my 2013 Tribeca Film Festival experience found me and my friend meeting up with some of her friends for Sunday brunch at Southern Hospitality, the BBQ place co-owned by none other than Justin Timberlake. You know with the resurgence of JT the performer (I choose to forgot that period of time there when he tried to act) it’s time to really care about him again. So I wanted to care about him while eating some good old BBQ brisket hash… and drinking mimosas (I’m grown). With the aid of alittle salt, it was actually really really good. And the eatery has a cool Southern BBQ joint feel to it. I do highly recommend it stopping in if you ever find yourself in the New York Times Square area.
I do admit I had alittle too much to drink (taking part in “bottomless” anything can be brutal; especially having the low tolerance for alcohol that I have) but after some needed time, coffee and some street fair perusal, I was in good enough shape enough to head into the late evening and night with two more film festival selections:
Some Velvet Morning. I have alittle experience with the work of the screenwriter/ playwright/ director Neil LaBute. I remember coming to New York five years or so ago and seeing his excellent stage play reasons to be pretty starring Marin Ireland (28 Hotel Rooms) as well as seeing his really underappreciated film The Shape of Things, based on a playand starring Rachel Weisz and Paul Rudd. I have come to love this transition between the two mediums of the stage play and the independent film in working with a sort of one central location/limited actors format. LaBute has a knack for this, and it shows in some of his better works (his lesser acclaimed works like Lakeview Terrace and Death at a Funeral proves that if he veers too far from this, it does not turn out well). This drew me to seeing Some Velvet Morning, that and the combination of premise and the dapper Mr. Stanley Tucci.
Tribeca In Pictures (#1)
My experiences with the Tribeca Film Festival 2013 though my camera lens:
1. Title screen for the Tribeca Film Festival which shows pre-screenings; 2. The beautiful ceiling of the BMCC screening auditorium portraying actors and movie scenes from classic film history; 3. Catching a glimpse of Matt Dillion on the red carpet at the Tribeca premiere of Sunlight Jr; 4. The main cast and crew of Sunlight Jr; 5. Zoe Kazan while she is interviewed on the red carpet before the premiere of The Pretty One; 6. Zoe Kazan poses with Frances Shaw who plays her BFF in The Pretty One; 7. Cast and director of The Pretty One on the red carpet at the premiere; 8. Post-screening panel with main cast and director.
New York City. Tribeca Film Festival. Fourth year. Let’s do this. My first day at Tribeca (Saturday of opening weekend) wasn’t really a full day (I flew in that afternoon) but it was one that had me exploring the place that it all started - the Tribeca (Triangle Below Canal Street) neighorhood that was the namesake of the festival and then heading to spend the evening in Chelsea. This year, my friend from DC was sharing the first couple of the days (and her first time at the festival) with me. I have come to love the idea of sharing these festival experiences with others so if you ever want to join me on the festival circuit, you’re always welcomed.
We first met up to eat at Zutto Japanese American pub in Tribeca (ramen noodle places being all the rage as my friend informs me; she keep on on the cusp of all that is trendy, that one). It was a cool little spot off of Hudson street that could stand in for a date spot on dim New York summer nights. I can’t say that I was actually too impressed with my ramen noodle selection, but if you’re ever in the area, their sweet buns are great enough for me to recommend a pop in. On to the screenings…
Sunlight Jr. The first movie on the schedule was Sunlight Jr, a film that I initially selected for both the director (Laurie Collyer, the filmmaker behind Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Sherrybaby) and thecast. In it is Naomi Watts, whose career I keep following mainly because I am still reeling from her performance in 21 Grams from a decade ago. Even though I have been less than thrilled some of her recent films to date (see: Two Mothers from Sundance 2013), I do think she does know how to see in the pocket of emotional scenes and milk them for all they are worth. Here she is a convenience store (called Sunlight Jr.) clerk with no college education or hopes to get out of her harsh situation. Matt Dillon is her boyfriend, a man in a wheelchair with no use of his legs and lacking the ability to provide for girlfriend he loves. The movie was presented as a look at the lives of these two people who are very much in love and very much in poverty. Needless to say, I knew these was was going to be a movie that left me feeling utterly dejected by the end. But sometimes those are the best ones.