It’s the last day of the Tribeca Film Festival, and I bought tickets to the 11:45pm So Complicated for 7 short films, and the 3pm Green Hat by 刘奋斗, the screeplay of 爱情麻辣烫. It’s our first time to a film festival, and it’s sure worth the money ($10 each ticket)!
So Complicated is part of the family program at the festival, and all the shorts are about growing joys and pains of teenagers. At the end 6 directors that were there had a Q&A session. Here’s a recount of each film.
1. Young Artie Feldman, Director: Erik Moe, U.S.A. 6 min
This is the best of all shorts. It’s the story of a boy named Artie Feldman who is an extremely talented agent for fastfood workers. He finds jobs for his “clients” at all kinds of fastfood places selling burgers and tacos alike, and bargain for their salary and benefits. Ridiculous as it sounds, the film really make you believe it’s real and in no time Artie will be a super star agent. The director wasn’t there, otherwise I would ask him if it’s based on a real life story, maybe even his own.
The film is very fast-paced (great editing). Artie talks all the time, with a dorky assistant managing his schedule and patching in calls at his home. At the beginning he’s negotiating with a burger shop manager for the salary of a client. He asks for $8.25 an hour, but the manager only agreed to pay about $6. Artie didn’t get what he wants, but wait and see. Then we see Artie making and breaking a few other deals, and hit a low point when a guy doesn’t want him to be his agent, throwing the tagline “I’m not in show biz, I’m in food biz”. Finally we see the burger shop manager again, shocked by some photos taken by Artie’s assistant showing him kissing someone not his wife, and had to give in to Artie’s deal of $8.25/hour plus benefits.
Hilarious, great tempo, great storyline. A wonderful treat.
2. Terra, Director: Aristomenis Tsirbas, U.S.A. 7 min
This is the only CG film. The story is that an alien girl named Terra builds her own telescope disregarding the rule on the alien planet. Her father tries to stop her as well as some law enforcement, but Terra is determined to use her telescope to see an object coming towards her planet, which turns out to be a gunship with a USA flag with hundreds of stars. The film ends there, but we all know what’s gonna happen to Terra’s planet.
The CG is ok, with nice alien landscape and facial expression. The storyline is kind of stereotypical, but the imperial USA ship is a good punchline. The director said it’s a tiny part of a feature CG film that he’s been brewing for years, and 9/11 changed his thoughts (I think that’s just a polite way of saying if he showed it after 9/11 he’d be booed like a traitor).
3. Little Losers, Director: Rena Ferrick, U.S.A. 17 min
A stereotypical but delicate film about one day of a lonely smalltown girl’s life. She delivers paper, hides her elder sister’s boyfriend, babysits, looks for the little boy all around, befriending a boy just moved in. The pace is slow, the children actors sometimes not very natural, but the storytelling is smooth. Nice little film.
4. Gretchen & the Night Danger, Director: Steve Collins, U.S.A. 26 min
The longest, boring sometimes. Too much use of Beethoven’s Moonlight sonata, although deliberatedly. Gretchen looks like 30 instead of a teenager. She can’t stand her biker boyfriend treating her like trash, but she just can’t break up with him, and had to lie to her caring but careless mother all the time. In the end she learns to choreograph, and created a surprisingly wonderful dance showing her paradoxical relationship with her boyfriend.
Sometimes the shot is out of focus without a good reason. The lighting doesn’t look nice. Good story, still.
5. The Climactic Death of Dark Ninja, Director: Peter Craig, U.S.A. 12 min
A funny scene about a bunch of teenage boys making the “climatic” scene of a ninja movie with nothing going right, something the director did himself, as he confessed. The camera moves smoothly, but the actors seem a bit fake.
6. I Was a Mathlete Until I Met Margo Marris, Director: Joe Denk, U.S.A., 18 min
A stereotypical high school scene, where the funky Margo Marris moves in town and the boy falls for her. Almost the whole story is told by offscreen voice, leaving little room for the camera and dialogue.
7. Great Lengths, Director: Dara Resnik, U.S.A., 20 min
Another stereotypical story about a boy converting to Jewish for the Jewish girl he loves. He finally bails out at circumcision, but she comes back to him for his efforts anyway. The director says it’s based on her and her boyfriend’s real life experience. The film is nicely made, though.
We went to Lily’s for a quick lunch, took a walk to the riverside, watched some kids play a baseball game (it’s fun! We should do it sometime), then headed back for the Green Hat. It’s a very strange movie, sometimes brillant, sometimes way too slow, sometimes nonsensical. It’s like 爱情麻辣烫 in a very twisted way. It started out with a short clip from a cul-revol documentary showing Chairman Mao and millions of Red Guards at Tianan Men, everybody wearing a green hat. What followed is two stories about love and betrayal.
After the movie, we couldn’t resist the fine weather so we decided to take a walk to the storied Brooklyn Bridge. It’s a long nice walk from Tribeca to the middle of the bridge. I need to learn more about the history and myth of the bridge, otherwise it’s just a plain old looking structure.
Afterwards we went to Sweet and Tart in Chinatown to cap off the afternoon. A great trip would never be complete without great food. Wonderful afternoon, wonderful City.