April 29, 2009

Further Reports From Film Camp

Over the last few days, I've either squirreled myself away in movie theaters to watch a few films in the Tribeca Film Festival or retreated to a room to write about them. When I'm not in the theater or writing, I take long walks, and fortunately, I've needed those transitions to figure out what I want to say. I'm also an emotional mess after watching some films, so I truly need to walk them off. A film that I wrote about this week, Only When I Dance, made me cry so much that I thought I would embarrass myself in the theater.

During these interstitial walks between films, I've been taking many photos, mostly in the Tribeca neighborhood. The image here is from this morning. It's a little park below Canal that I often cut through while walking south along West Broadway. It would appear that some blue sprite or Tinkerbell-like creature lives there.

Soon, I'll share more from the walks through Tribeca. In the meantime, excerpts from two longer essays on Reframe.

• "The Longest Miracle:" A Discussion of Inherit the Wind

"On Saturday afternoon, April 25, 2009, the Tribeca Film Festival hosted a special screening of Stanley Kramer's Inherit the Wind (1960) at the SVA Theatre on W. 23rd St. Based on the play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee from 1955, the film dramatizes the events of the Scopes trial of 1925, pitting two fiercely capable attorneys, William Jennings Bryan (the fictional character is named Matthew Harrison Brady, played by Fredric March) and Clarence Darrow (likewise, Henry Drummond, immortalized by Spencer Tracy) into a battle over the teaching of evolution in the school room. "

• Race, Class, Gender, and Ballet

"The word "moving" does not even begin to characterize Only When I Dance, a new narrative feature directed by Beadie Finzi and presented at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival in the World Documentary Competition. A real-life character drama of two aspiring teenage dancers from the poor favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Isabela Coracy and Irlan Santos da Silva, the film follows their journey through the pressures, expenses, and prejudices of the professional dance world. While the goal is the same for both dancers - to show their talent in international competition in order to launch a professional career, the conditions of their color, class, gender, and the persistence of culturally constructed ideal body types affect the perceptions of their potential in different ways. Fierce aspirations, self-imposed discipline and supportive families, while powerful, do not guarantee success. Director Finzi shows us the emotional weight of these heavy journeys. "Heartbreaking" comes closer to the film's true description."

Image: Tinkerbell in Tribeca. morning, April 29, 2009

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