FESTIVALS | TRIBECA

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“Memories of a penitent heart”

[Documentary]
Directed by Cecilia Aldarondo

I’ve restarted this review four times because I can’t quite figure out how to marshal my thoughts on Cecilia Aldarondo’s "Memories of a Penitent Heart." Some documentaries strike you because they focus on interesting topics like wars, science, or bizarre people. Some are necessary historical documents, capturing footage of transformative moments that changed the course of humanity. "Memories of a ... more >

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“Here Alone,” TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

Alone in the post-apocalypse woods. What will you do?
Lucy Walters and Adam David Thompson
Directed by Rod Blackhurst

I think reading Max Brooks’s World War Z on the A-train as I commuted to and from the Tribeca Film Festival put me in the wrong frame of mind for the Rod Blackhurst-directed "Here Alone." The film takes place in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, yet there are only a few scenes with any zombies in them. The entire feature is a meditation on loss and loneliness as it follows Ann (Lucy Walters), ... more >

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“Courted,” (“L’Hermine”), TRIBECA

"Courted" got nominated thrice for France's César
Fabrice Luchini, Sidse Babett Knudsen and Eva Lallier
Directed by Christian Vincent

I’m not too fond of the English title for Christian Vincent’s new courtroom drama. “Courted” sounds too much like a smarmy romantic comedy, emphasizing the idea of courtship and love. While there is certainly a romantic subplot in “Courted”, it it only a small piece of the film’s puzzle. Its original French title is much more appropriate: "L’Hermine." Translated into English, it means “ermine,” ... more >

“Elvis and Nixon,” TRIBECA FESTIVAL

One of the best films this year
Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey
Directed by Liza Johnson

Michael Shannon doesn’t really look like Elvis Presley. For one thing, his face is shaped all wrong, his cheeks are too long and deeply creased. If it weren’t for the crazy haircut, the suits, and the sunglasses one would never think that Shannon was supposed to be The King. But then, neither does Kevin Spacey look like Present Richard Nixon. And yet through the sheer strength of their ... more >

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Tribeca Festival, a sense for nostalgia and curiosity in “Obit”

On the sausage-making art of writing an obit
[Documentary]
Directed by Vanessa Gould

It’s always the films about death which end up being the most life-affirming, isn’t it? Vanessa Gould’s "Obit" follows a group of unsung reporters who work the obituary column at The New York Times. Frequently given only a couple hours' notice before their columns must go to press, these men and women race against the clock to capture the entirety of human lives within the span of a few hundred ... more >

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Tribeca, “Bad Rap”

The other face of Black America
[Documentary]
Directed by Salima Koroma

Asian-American rappers have it rough from the very beginning. Hip-hop culture is one of hyper-masculine machismo and aggressive sexuality. How are Asian men supposed to be taken seriously when they have been so perpetually desexualized and neutered in mainstream American media? How are Asian women supposed to be received when they don’t fit the bastardized porn star beauty standards expected of ... more >

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TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL, “Bugs”

Crunch
Directed by Andreas Johnsen

It would have been so easy for Andreas Johnsen to make his new documentary “Bugs” a harmless, twee film about two Westerners traveling the world searching for edible insects. The set-up seems ripped straight from the Travel Channel or the Food Network: chef Ben Reade and researcher John Evans scour the globe sampling as many of the 1,900 species of consumable insects as possible. In Kenya we watch ... more >