What a whirlwind day! Tribeca is shaping up to be really informative and interesting on so many levels. It’s also a great workout to hoof it from the Clearview Chelsea to the AMC Loews Village 7 and back again. Monday happened to feature three films that, though contemporary in setting, lack the technological imprint of our modern world. Cell phones, computers, texts and tweets are virtually non-existent in these three pieces.
Hide Your Smiling Faces is a contemporary drama that looks as if it could be set in any time from the 1950s to the present. The film revolves around two young brothers played by Ryan Jones (a great young talent who I had the pleasure of meeting during auditions for a recent film) and Nathan Varnson. The director Daniel Patrick Carbone, gets excellent performances out of his young leads. The film unfolds like a blend of The Tree of Life and Stand By Me, as death encroaches on a seemingly idyllic rural summer and the boys react in violently different ways.
The Pretty One stars Zoe Kazan as two very different twins: Laurel, the shy homebody and Audrey a sophisticated LA real estate agent. Except for the cars and a few references to music, this film sits in a timeless almost storybook place where Laurel masquerading as Audrey (it’s a long story) learns to find her own independence. Indie fave Jake Johnson (New Girl, Safety Not Guaranteed) shows up as the love interest and one of my personal favorites John Caroll Lynch (Have you ever seen Zodiac?) puts in great work as Laurel and Audrey’s dad.
Lily is a small New York set film about a young woman struggling to resume life as her treatment for breast cancer comes to a close. Actress Amy Grantham co-wrote the script and based it on her own experience overcoming cancer and trying to reclaim her life. In the film, Lily uses cassettes to record street noises and plays records on a turntable. At the talkback, director Matt Creed noted that it was a specific choice not to involve computers and cell phones in the film.
That’s a wrap on Day 5! Is it a coincidence that these three films shunned technology or is this the latest indie film trend? Are writers and directors trying to achieve a timeless quality by erasing modern technology from contemporary stories? We’ll have to see.