Tomorrow New Directors New Films starts running at Lincoln Center and at the Museum of Modern Art. I attended one of the press screenings and I thought I'd give you a quick run down on what I saw.
Bukowski is a short playing with Copacabana and is 10 of the best minutes I spent at any of the screenings.The story follows a 12 year old who is reading The Pleasure of the Damned and who decides while on vacation to take on the persona of Charles Bukowski. It's funny and charming and I can't wait to see it again.
Copacabana is the story of a free spirited mother who is forever drifting and forever broke. When her daughter bans her from her wedding, she decides to get serious begins selling time shares. The mother daughter pair are played by Isabelle Huppert and her daughter Lolita Chammah (who has won a place in my heart). How you react to the film will depend on whether you like Huppert or not. She is a selfish twit at times and she is hard to warm to. The film itself is okay. Most of the people I overheard liked the film because of it's star. Sue me I need more than that and had I been watching this on DVD or cable I probably would have hit fast forward.
Hit So Hard is a documentary about Patty Schemel who was the drummer for Courtney Love's group Hole. Its how she moved through the grunge scene and eventually was over taken by drugs and alcohol. As the guy behind me said, it's good, but haven't we seen this before. I have to agree. To me it's a VH1 Behind the Music special with four letter words. I liked it but at the same time I know this film is going to have a hard time reaching anyone but fans of Schemel, grunge or Hole since the film seems to assume you know what they are talking about. I liked it, but if I paid 15 bucks to see this on the big screen I would have been pissed.
Belle Epine is the story of a French girl dealing with the death of her mom. Dad has gone to Canada to deal with the estate and won't come home. Her sister will not stay in the house because she misses their mom so much. Left to her own devices she begins to hang out with some bikers. Running a way too brief 80 minutes the film looks great, has a good sound track and solid performances. What the film doesn't have is a second half that works as the film leaps through events and we are left with hanging plot threads. Good on it's own terms I was left wondering why the film was being shown as part of the series since it just misses the mark. (Actually I suspect, that the reason the film was chosen is the one suggested by the couple sitting behind me at the screening, namely that some one was fond of the actresses' assets.)
For now that's it. I was supposed to go see a second day of films but I had to take a family member to the ER late the night before and it made getting to more films impossible. Not to worry I have every intention of catching more screenings since I've picked up tickets for a few.
Talking to several people at the above screenings the feeling was the three best films to that point were:
Margin Call the opening night film, which was very good. (It's sold out but as two people both said don't worry it's getting a big release)
Incendies which was far and away the best film in the series and a must see. This too is getting a big release.
Black Power Mix Tape which everyone said was a head trip because changes how you see history and the Black Panthers. I have a ticket for this. This is also getting released by Sundance Selects so this will be on available on pay per view.