This was a busy week as I had 10 Tribeca Film Festival tickets. The movies in this year's festival didn't thrill me in anticipation, but most turned out to be worthwhile.
Just like in "Wordplay" Q&A's we could count on the sudoku question, I've come to expect certain generic topics in all Q&A's: How long was the shoot? What was the budget? What did you shoot it in? (these from film school/industry types - do most people really care if they used 16mm or whatever?) Is the movie going to be released? Where did you come up with the idea? How did (famous star) get involved? Not always the most interesting sessions, but I appreciate the filmmakers showing up. They all did, except the "Quiet Chaos" director who was there previously but had already left.
My selections were almost all at the AMC Village VII. This is near my cousin B's (and it was her birthday Friday), but I never got in touch or arranged to meet. Sorry. I soon felt like a commuter on the C and L trains. The films:
"Hotel Gramercy Park" - This hotel is around the corner from MetLife and we occasionally had luncheons in its faded restaurant. This documentary talks about the property's recent Ian Schrager transformation to a hot boutique hotel. The movie does not forget the longtime owning family and their personal tragedies, as well as a few quirky tenants who stay on through renovation. Best moment: Paris Hilton is turned away from the opening.
"Secret of the Grain" - Uh, I don't know how this was because I didn't set the alarm and missed the 12:15pm showing.
"Quiet Chaos (Caos Calmo)" - Set in modern Rome, this is a lovely portrait of a man and his young daughter coping with his wife's sudden death.
"Fermat's Room" - How could NPLers not like this Spanish thriller that features math/logic problems?
"Two Mothers" - Fascinating documentary about German filmmaker Rosa von Praunheim's search for the adoptive parents he didn't know he had until age 58. The subject was there for an interesting and informative Q&A.
"Baghdad High" - Ordinary high school students in Iraq were given video cameras to document their senior year. The boys were charming and managed to be typical teens in spite of what was going on around them. I had to miss the Q&A to get to the next movie...
..."Bitter & Twisted" - While waiting for the movie to start, some random people around me were talking and they both happened to be Australian. What a coincidence! But not really - the movie was Australian. The storytelling was elliptical and I couldn't really get into this quirky suburban family's woes after one son dies. The reviews were very positive, but I wasn't on the film's wavelength and even considered walking out.
"Yonkers Joe" - I ran into Pen Gwyn the day before and she had tickets to this too, but decided to skip the 10:30am showing. I made it because I was still up from the day before. I took out my contacts for 6 hours during the night, put them back in, and headed back down to the theater. This movie was both gritty (gamblers, con men) and poignant (a Downs syndrome son on the verge of adulthood). Strong performances.
"The 27 Club" - after the Strand visit mentioned in the previous entry, I went to this movie at the Village East Cinema a block east on Second Ave. It's about a fictional rock star who OD's at age 27 like other famous rock stars, and the effect on his longtime friend and bandmate. Joe Anderson is an actor to watch.
"Story of the Red Hills" - I had another hour to kill before this movie, also at Village East. I could have gone back to the Strand but I was woozy from lack of sleep and wasn't sure I could stay awake, so I headed home. I stuck the ticket in a prominent place in the emergency exit gate of the subway. I didn't see anyone take it and for all I know, it's still there. I went home and was soon asleep.
So of the 10 tickets, I only used 8, making the package the same price as individual tickets. Oh well, could have been worse. TFF, if you're reading this, please consider bringing back the Daytimer Pass! Or some pass that doesn't require specific movies that's more reasonable than the $1100 Hudson.
All week, my cough was a problem. I finally bought medicine midweek (I had to immediately return a package expiring 10/07 to Duane Reade, but they were nice about replacing it) and I think the cough is fading at last. Meanwhile, I always had my "American Cannibal" water bottle filled and ready, but still probably disturbed people when I just had to cough (like during the graphic sex scene in "Quiet Chaos"). All the water meant I often had to go to the bathroom, which wasn't great since there usually were lines, and one stall in the limited number available had a door that didn't lock.
I didn't go out of my way (or even not out of my way) to talk to anyone, so there was no homey feeling like there was at Sundance. By now, enough time has passed so that I was not recognized. But I was there for movies, and that was rewarding. Audiences were enthusiastic and all the showings were well attended, but not uncomfortably packed. Only once did I have to sit way up front in a bad seat, and it was my fault for getting there at the last minute.
I was tempted to buy additional ticket packages for night and weekend performances, and I'm still tempted to go to some of the awards showings tomorrow. But I think enough's enough.