Attend Tribeca Film Festival From Your Own Home

The 12th Annual Tribeca Film Festival takes place April 17-28 in lower Manhattan, and it brings together film fanatics and filmmakers from the world over. But what if you’re one of the unlucky folks who can’t make it to New York City in a couple weeks for the cinematic festivities. Well, Tribeca Film Festival has you covered: film fans in the United States will be able to experience the festival with video-on-demand offerings, the Tribeca Online Festival, and the #6SECFILMS Vine Competition.

During the festival’s run, four films from the lineup—What Richard Did, Greetings from Tim Buckley, Fresh Meat, and The English Teacher—will be released nationwide via video on demand. Additionally, the Tribeca Online Festival will offer free streaming of feature-length and short films, including Alias Ruby Blade: A Story of Love and Revolution, Lil Bub & Friendz, Farah Goes Bang, RPG OKC, Delicacy, The Exit Room, and A Short Film About Guns. Online viewers can vote for the best feature and short films, with the winners receiving $16,000. 

A new digital initiative at this year’s festival includes the launch of the #6SECFILMS Vine Competition. Filmmakers can submit in one of four categories—#genre, #auteur, #animate and #series—using both the category hashtag and #6SECFILMS. Shortlists in each category will be viewable for the public on April 17 and will compete for cash prizes of $600. Submissions are now open through midnight on April 7. Winners will be announced by the Tribeca Online Festival on April 26.

“We are always looking for ways to expand our community and engage new audiences,” said Geoff Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer of Tribeca Enterprises. “For the past three years, viewers nationwide have been able to take in a selection of Festival films and activities, even if they aren’t able to make it to Tribeca. This year we have expanded the opportunity for the public to participate in the Festival not just as observers, but also as creators through our first ever Vine competition, which is open to anyone with an imagination and a Vine app.” It’s hard to imagine these new initiatives will be anything other than a success, and one can hope that other major film festivals will open up opportunities for those who can’t travel to Park City or Cannes to participate in the love of emerging cinema. 

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Movie Madness: Reviews of March’s Cinematic Picks

Jeff, Who Lives at Home
This unexpected little comedy begins with the title character, played by a predictably schleppy Jason Segel, monologuing about his religious devotion to M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs, a movie that preaches that fate lies in coincidences. It’s a mantra that dictate’s Jeff ‘s daily routine: zone out in mom’s basement and wait for something cosmic to happen. That something turns out to be a phone call—a wrong number, no less— that sets Jeff on a quest for higher purpose. But before any catharsis can be had, Jeff runs into his blowhard brother (Ed Helms) at the local Hooters, and gets tangled up in his marital woes. (This, of course, is all meant to be.) Together, they embark on an odyssey of mutual self-discovery, while in a parallel story, their mother (Susan Sarandon) chases epiphanies of her own in what feels like a separate movie. Directors Mark and Jay Duplass (Cyrus), who once worked within the boundaries of nanobudget filmmaking, are now being bankrolled by Paramount, and they’ve got the dramatic and uplifting climax to justify it. Tears will be shed in the audience and on the screen, but in less than 90 minutes, they’re admirably earned.Ben Barna

The Deep Blue Sea
After a decade stuck in financial gridlock, Terence Davies, the embattled hero of British art cinema, returns with this adaptation of the 1952 Terence Rattigan play, a story of repressed passions in a postwar England where even kisses must be rationed. Rachel Weisz gives a luminous performance as Hester, a tortured housewife who leaves her paternalistic husband (played by the portly Simon Russell Beale) for a hot-headed RAF pilot (Tom Hiddleston) still struggling to re-enter a society that no longer needs him. But Hester needs him, and Davies artfully studies the complexities she faces, trading in a life of comfort for transcendent sex (and a tiny room in a boarding house). Nods to melodramas from the ’40s and ’50s adorn the film, as do Davies’ own signature touches: pub sing-alongs, lyrical tracking shots, and of course, that shockingly floral wallpaper. For the director who won admiration through authentic portrayals of postwar Liverpool, it’s a triumphant return to form. But while his earlier films were as personal—and structurally free—as a family album, the tale of doomed passion at the bottom of The Deep Blue Sea risks becoming a touch too hoary, even as self-conscious homage, to be fully satisfying.Josh Sperling

Casa de Mi Padre
They say you aren’t fluent in a foreign language until you can tell a joke in it, so you’ve got to admire Will Ferrell for having the guts to try. The concept behind Casa de mi Padre—and no, not just the title is in Spanish—has the potential for brilliance: export the actor’s trademark deadpan to a Mexico of rancheros, drug traffickers, and telenovela romance. Ferrell plays the dim-witted Armando Alvarez. When his brother Raul (Diego Luna) returns home with a curvy new fiancée (Genesis Rodriguez) and shady schemes to save the family hacienda, the brothers find themselves at war with a vicious kingpin (Gael García Bernal), and with each other, over a woman’s heart. Ferrell has made a career parachuting straight-faced into quotidian scenes and mopping up the laughs. But Casa mines its humor from a new and risky place: the world of the subtitle. There is a reason foreign films are so serious—jokes don’t translate to that sullen font on the bottom of the screen. It’s no surprise then that the best gags in the film rely purely on physical slapstick. What is surprising is how hilarious Bernal and Luna can be hamming it up as narcotraficantes in alligator boots. But when Ferrell tells a DEA agent, “not all Mexicans are drugtraffickers,” you realize that the only one who isn’t a drug trafficker is, well, a gringo.JS

Despite its charms, French filmmakers David and Stéphane Foenkinos’ debut effort is undermined by a rote script, which relies too much on Audrey Tautou’s star power to prop it up. Adapted from David’s novel of the same name, Delicacy has bursts of whimsy in an otherwise familiar tale. Nathalie (Tatou) and François (Pio Marmaï) meet and fall irreversibly in love, until he is suddenly (but somehow not) rubbed out in a freak accident. The rest of the film traces Nathalie’s recovery efforts as it hops three years into the future, and we rediscover her as a grim careerist. Soon, she clumsily falls for a relatively unattractive Swede (François Damiens), who, let’s be honest, is a few leagues beneath her. (She’s damaged yes, but she’s also Audrey Tatou.) There’s a strange lack of passion for a movie about it, and its two leads never seem to fully connect. We hate to get down on a film with a core that is hopeful, sweet, and easy to swallow, but after digesting it, we’re still left feeling hungry.Hillary Weston

Being Flynn
Nick Flynn’s book Another Bullshit Night in Suck City was, as its title (sort of) implies, a gritty, honest look at homelessness and addiction in America, as seen through the eyes of the author and his father—eventually. They reconnect when the elder Flynn checks into the Boston shelter where his son is employed. Paul Weitz’s film adaptation has a sanitized title and is ultimately a sterile biopic, filled with a predicable story arc and done-to-death voiceover from both Nick and Jonathan Flynn (played by Paul Dano and Robert De Niro, respectively). Neither Nick nor Jonathan are portrayed as being completely moral or despicable, and their equal footing keeps the film from veering into sanctimonious territory. Being Flynn boasts an impressive supporting cast that includes Julianne Moore as Nick’s mother and Olivia Thirlby as his co-worker and girlfriend. Both shine as underused characters who serve primarily as feminine inspirations for Nick’s ultimate maturation. While the film doesn’t add much to the canon of movies chronicling troubled father-son relationships, it does feature a surprisingly lighthearted soundtrack by Badly Drawn Boy, who famously wrote music for Weitz’s About a Boy.Tyler Coates

Tragic in tone and scattered in execution, Tony Kaye’s latest film feels more like you’re being emotionally gutted than mentally stimulated. With an ensemble cast of Hollywood vets, from Blythe Danner to James Caan, it’s the actors’ commitment to the work and their brief but dynamic performances that supersede the lackluster script. Detachment tells the story of Henry Barthes (brilliantly played by a weary-eyed Adrien Brody), a downtrodden substitute teacher who takes a temporary position at a failing high school. Barthes, a somber man plagued by flashbacks of his mother’s suicide, is an empathetic and gifted teacher, desperately trying to connect to his students while dealing with his dying grandfather and the teenage prostitute he’s taken in. Shot by Kaye himself, the film cuts between the narrative, interviews with Barthes, and morose animated blackboard drawings used to illustrate darker urges. Ultimately, the film doesn’t know whether to be a scathing critique of the public school system or the story of one man’s struggle to find meaning. Kaye has a lot to say but never fully realizes his point, creating a passionately bleak drama that throws it all in your face, one painful blow at a time.HW

The Raid
Not only does The Raid push the body count of Asian action cinema to new heights, but it also moves the genre south, leaving the skyscrapers of the usual tiger economies behind in favor of a rundown, crime-infested tenement deep in the Jakarta slums. With its main course of unadulterated violence, this is Die Hard for the gaming generation, with just enough of a premise—a SWAT mission gone awry, a fresh-faced rookie, brothers on opposite sides of the law—to take us from one scene of carnage to the next. And like any first-person shooter, the hero literally levels up from floor to floor, boss to boss, moving from guns to serrated knives to machetes, and finally, to some proper hand-to-hand combat. Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda provides an amped-up soundtrack, while the Welsh-born, Indonesia-based director Gareth Evans strikes a thrilling balance between masterful martial-arts choreography and the more helter-skelter rawness at the adrenalized heart of the film. And despite our hero’s assured survival, Evans builds a claustrophobic dread so powerful that when the tension suddenly snaps, it’s about as visceral as movies get.JS

The Lady
Aung San Suu Kyi has given up her family and freedom to advocate on behalf of the people of Burma, who have languished under the rule of a military dictatorship for half a century. While under house arrest, Suu Kyi ignited a fervent democratic movement that may finally be producing meaningful reforms in the country, making this a perfect time for French filmmaker Luc Besson to unveil his powerful and moving biopic of the Nobel laureate. The Lady follows her from her childhood in Rangoon, which is rent by the murder of her highly respected father, to her life as a wife and mother of two boys in England, to her return to Burma in 1988, where she immediately becomes the brightest hope for a people who have known nothing but poverty, fear, and isolation under the junta. Filled with gorgeously shot scenes of the Rangoon skyline and the lilting palms and shimmering waters of her dilapidated lake house, the film is a deft take through Suu Kyi᾽s inspiring life. Michelle Yeoh’s remarkable embodiment of the opposition leader is uncanny, and the depiction of her relationship with her English husband Michael Aris (David Thewlis) is heartbreaking, as he suffers and dies of cancer while being denied a visa to visit his wife one last time. The Lady gives viewers a deep appreciation of a long, relentless, and agonizingly slow struggle that may well be on the brink of success. Its message is simple: If your cause is just, never, ever give up.Victor Ozols

Audrey Tatou Talks ‘Delicacy’ & French Cinema

We fell in love with French actress Audrey Tautou in the titular role of Amelie when it premiered in 2001. In the years since, the petite Parisian has gone on to star in such Hollywood blockbusters as The Da Vinci Code as well as taking on iconic roles like Coco Chanel in Coco Before Chanel. In her new film Delicacy, we’ve fallen back in love with the delicate French beauty in a role that showcases her subtle yet powerful talents as an actress. Written and directed by David and Stéphane Foenkinos and based on David Foenkinos’s novel of the same name, the gentle and whimsical dramedy tells the story of Nathalie, a young woman in love who quickly finds herself a widow. The film jumps from Nathalie’s grieving period to three years in the future when she’s thrown herself into her work and falling clumsily into an unlikely affair with a Swede who no one finds deserving of her love. We caught up with Tautou to discuss what drew her to the role and the difference between American and French cinema.

How did you get involved with the film?
I was very moved by the script when I read it and the character of Nathalie, especially the way she goes through the various stages of what happens to her.

Did you relate to your character at all or see yourself in her?
I can’t say that identify myself with the character, but I tried to understand her and be as close to her as I could. I can’t say I would have made all the same decisions, but I tried.

She’s very human. You see her at very dark point; you see her in love, and it’s all very relatable.<
I tried to be as spontaneous as I could because it’s important to make her realistic in her emotion.

What was it like working with the directors on their first feature?
It was great because it was really their movie, so they knew exactly what they wanted. And they had a great crew. Their jobs on the set were clear. David was the writer of the novel, and he was more focused as the artistic director, and Stéphane was the one who would come to talk to us and say, “That was wrong!”

Did they seek you out for the role?
They told me they wanted me for the film.

Do you find that happening a lot—that people approach you and want you specifically?
I don’t know how it works in America, but in France, the desire comes from the director, and I’m lucky if someone wants to work for me.

What I liked about the film was that the characters were flawed and real people. Did you go approaching that?
When I read the script, I really tried to be as transparent as possible. I really tried not to compose it, you know? It was the first time I didn’t really didn’t learn my lines perfectly. I wanted to allow accidents to come within the scenes. I wanted a real natural rhythm. I think the story is so simple.

There was something very whimsical element to it.
Yes, of course! What I liked about the movie is that they created a very unusual fantasy. I love also how they imagined the transitions from one period of [the character’s] life to the next, I thought that was a really unusual thing. The story takes place during seven or eight years, and what happens in between isn’t always important.

Do you see a difference between French cinema and Hollywood?
Well, you have several different types of cinema in America. It’s very rich. You have the huge blockbusters and you have independent movies. What I really like about American movies is that as soon as you leave a movie you are back in real life. You have American directors who create their personal universe. [In France], we don’t have that kind of money.

Do you want to do more American films?
I’d love to do American movies but I don’t see why they’d hire me. You have to be in the industry, and there are so many wonderful actresses. I speak very little English, so I don’t see why they would need me. But, you know, if they call me, I’ll answer.

But you have been making great films abroad.
Yes! And I’m not frustrated because of the path I’ve taken. I think in France it’s easier to find some great leading female parts. When the movie is on your shoulders in America it’s maybe more difficult, I think.

How did you get into acting in the first place?
I did some theater when I was in high school and enjoyed it, so I went to theater school after. I got some work, but it wasn’t my childhood dream.

What are you working on next?
I’m going to shoot a movie directed by Michel Gondry called Foam of Days, based on a novel by Boris Vian.