I went to see five films this year at the Tribeca Film festival. As a whole, I found the festival to be really well run. It is also impressive how quickly it scaled up from beginning in 2001.
I chose the five films based on timing, of course. For me, that is the key to life. Out of the five films that I saw, two were really great, one was well done but I didn’t like it, another one was so strange that I am still not sure what the film was about and the last one was so dark it creeped me out.
The first film was Trucker, which is a really great film on so many different levels. Incredibly transparent characters which makes the film so real. If it comes to your local film house, go see it.
The second I saw was called, Life in Flight. When people make films in NYC, they should at least attempt at getting the neighborhoods right. If you live in the West Village, you don’t take your kid to Central Park to play every afternoon. The film is about an architect who doesn’t communicate with his wife and ends up in a two year long ( unrealistic ) negotiation about joining a large development company that would make him very wealthy. He realizes that is not what life is about or at least his life and in the end he walks away from this supposed one time opportunity. He wife is pissed, his kid is pissed but somehow he has seen the light. The characters are shallow and the movie is not inspiring. Thumbs down.
Third film was Savage Grace that stars Julianne Moore. I believe the film comes out in the theaters at the end of this month. A true story about the Baekeland family, the Grandfather, Leo, discovered plastics. I didn’t realize this story was real until the very end when you find out what happens to the characters after the film. I felt uncomfortable throughout the film. Pretentious characters living all over Europe trying to live the life fantastic. Over time, the mother not only destroys her son but destroys herself as she takes her son for her lover. Totally creepy film.
Fourth film was 57,000 Kilometers which was so bizarre that I still can’t figure out what the film was about.
The last film was Baghdad High. A total winner. Four boys, a Christian, a Kurd, a Sunni and a Shiite, who document their last year in High School. These boys are all friends who live in a relatively mixed neighborhood of Baghdad. You learn about each of them, their interests, their musical tastes and even their political views. There were 600 kids in the all boys High School at the beginning of the year and one third leave Baghdad before the end of the year. Watching four seventeen year old grow boys up in a city under war is eye opening. We read about the war in Iraq every day through the eyes of journalists and politicians but to see real life through the eyes of kids is a completely different story. At the end of the day, they are still teenagers which is certainly a universal language. I really loved this film. It can be seen on HBO on August 6th.
My favorite part of the film festival is at the end of each film, the audience spends time listening to the Directors talk about their film. There is a question and answer session. Baghdad High was the best one. They spoke for about 40 minutes and the dialogue was really interesting.
One of many wonderful things in NYC is the opportunity, through the Tribeca Film festival, to see a variety of films that you might be one of a few people to see or could be the first person to see the next indie block buster.