DID YOU READ

Tribeca: Fin.

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Treatment 11?
The complete list of festival winner is here. Selections:

Best Narrative Feature: "Blessed By Fire," Dir: Tristán Bauer (Spain)

Best Doc: "The War Tapes," Dir: Deborah Scranton (USA)

Best NY Narrative Feature: "The Treatment," Dir: Oren Rudavsky

Best NY Doc Feature: "When I Came Home," Dir: Dan Lohaus

Jury Prize: "Voices of Bam," Dirs: Aliona van der Horst and Maasja Ooms (The Netherlands)

Audience Award: "The Cats of Mirikitani," Dir: Linda Hattendorf

The general grumblings about the festival seem to be that it’s looking a little porky around the midsection, and that sure as hell isn’t muscle under there in the narrative programs. indieWIRE‘s Eugene Hernandez kicks off an article on "Toots" and "Rock the Bells," two docs he liked, with:

There has been considerable griping among buyers again at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, with industry-types maintaining that there simply are not enough quality films to warrant the size of the festival’s program. In the case of the event’s doc programming, though, insiders and audiences alike seemed to connect with a number of films this year.

At his blog, he writes that:

Having spoken with a number of film biz insiders and journalists, its clear to me that the festival has to really grapple with the fact that much of the industry seems to look upon their event with a major sense of dread. This year’s biggest complaints remain the size of program, and now insiders are unhappy with the fact that the event takes place all over town. I completely agree with the former concern and disagree entirely with the latter.

At Like Anna Karina’s Sweater, Filmbrain wonders "[D]oes NYC truly need a festival of this size?", and points out that:

During the two weeks of the TFF, there was also the opportunity to see a dozen Naruse films, Melville’s "Army of Shadows," an impressive African Film Festival, an Altman retrospective, and not to mention the releases of "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu," "Three Times," and "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance." Were two hundred additional films really necessary?

At half the size, the festival would still be large enough to be classified a "big" event, and would have forced the selection committee to pare down the selections — some of which, quite frankly, didn’t belong in an international film festival.

We surrendered to allergies and illness this weekend and gave up on trying to catch a few final films. Spirit: broken. We have to agree with the oversized argument — we understand that program size is an easy way to establish dominance, particularly since the festival is so young: Tribeca! It’s huge! But we saw plenty of things that weren’t worth seeing, and with the size of the program it’s hard to word of mouth to spread about a title that is worthy. We can live with the expansion into midtown. We can live with the incongruous, glossy big-budget premieres. But it does the smaller films a disservice to be tucked away in a massive selection of mid-level films mostly distinguished by having one or two recognizable names attached.

If you’d like to glance over coverage, we suggest Aaron Hillis at Premiere, Andrew O’Hehir at Salon, who in a fit of weariness launches into a very funny rant about how the "mockumentary must be stopped," while also suggesting that the problems plaguing American indie narrative cinema stem from the fact that "[m]ost younger filmmakers these days have no background in the old-fashioned narrative traditions, like literature or drama, let alone in the Freudian and/or Marxist theories of personality and society that underpinned them for most of the 20th century." And there’s also Bilge Ebiri and Logan Hill at New York, who’ve fearlessly plowed through an impressive selection of films (Hill writes of "Fat Girls": "A lot of the Tribeca selections feel as if they’ve been filmed by 20-year-olds, but this promising debut actually was." Heh.).

We did manage to see one last film which we liked quite a bit: Jan Svankmajer‘s "Lunacy," which purports to be a horror film (inspired by two Poe stories and the Marquis de Sade), but is really just another example of Svankmajer’s deadpan (and often very funny) surrealism. Jean, a gaunt, naive young man (Pavel Liska), is on his way back from his mother’s funeral when he’s waylaid by the Marquis (Jan Triska), who offers him a ride and is soon making him the butt of a series of cruel jokes. Eventually, the Marquis convinces Jean to overcome his fears of madness (his mother went insane) by voluntarily checking himself into a chaotic asylum run by one of the Marquis’ friends.

Scenes are punctuated by interludes in which Svankmajer puts his distinctive stop-motion technique to use on meat products. Pieces of steak inch across the floor; cow tongues crawl across the table and attempt to lap up beer. At once whimsical and disturbing, they’re the unforgettable takeaway image from the film, though as lingering is the underlying sense of urgency. In the asylum-as-political-allegory, things are either run by a terrifyingly strict Dr. Coulmiere or the ridiculously lax Dr. Murlloppe, but it’s clear that both are as insane as any of their patients.

+ 2006 Award Winners (TribecaFilmFestival.com)
+ TRIBECA ’06: The Doc Is In: "Toots" and "Rock The Bells" (indieWIRE)
+ tff (eugonline)
+ Tribeca Report 2 – The Misses (Like Anna Karina’s Sweater)
+ Tribeca Updates (Premiere)
+ Tribeca roundup: Further hints of apocalypse, one American indie worth seeing (at last) and Just Say No to the mockumentary (Salon)
+ Tribeca Scorecard (New York)

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.