Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

Why the Good Narratives at the Tribeca Film Festival Are Away From the Spotlight

Photo of Eric Kohn By Eric Kohn | Indiewire April 22, 2013 at 9:53AM

Real life offers many stories worth telling and an increasingly affordable means of telling them, so it comes as no great surprise that great documentaries circulate more prevalently with each passing year. As usual, the sizable program at the Tribeca Film Festival is especially strong with non-fiction offerings. Highlights so far demonstrate an extraordinary range in the program: Sean Dunn's poetically mournful "Oxyana" captures an entire town in West Virginia addicted to prescription drugs; Matt Wolf's "Teenage" delivers an astute collage of sentiments that gave rise to the modern teenager in the aftermath of World War II; "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me" captures its hilariously vulgar and entertaining subject in all her defiant and occasionally self-destructive glory.
0
"Stand Clear of the Closing Doors."
Tribeca Film Festival "Stand Clear of the Closing Doors."

Real life offers many stories worth telling and an increasingly affordable means of telling them, so it comes as no great surprise that great documentaries circulate more prevalently with each passing year. As usual, the sizable program at the Tribeca Film Festival is especially strong with non-fiction offerings. Highlights so far demonstrate an extraordinary range in the program: Sean Dunn's poetically mournful "Oxyana" captures an entire town in West Virginia addicted to prescription drugs; Matt Wolf's "Teenage" delivers an astute collage of sentiments that gave rise to the modern teenager in the aftermath of World War II; "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me" captures its hilariously vulgar and entertaining subject in all her defiant and occasionally self-destructive glory.

But the Tribeca Film Festival isn't exclusively a documentary festival on par with True/False, Hot Docs, Silverdocs or Full Frame. Alongside a handful of festival favorites like "Before Midnight" and David Gordon Green's "Prince Avalanche," Tribeca strives to deliver new American cinema on par with other festivals produced on a similar scale. However, over the course of its dozen years in existence, the festival has struggled to compete for world premieres that haven't already been lured by Sundance or South by Southwest. Even as its program has steadily improved, the quality of Tribeca's narratives remain its biggest sore point.

While it arguably offers a bigger platform for filmmakers than the scrappier SXSW, the Austin gathering maintains a greater draw for micro-budget indies, some of which travel overseas to Cannes in May. Located just a month ahead of the French festival, Tribeca is somewhat awkwardly situated on the calendar, but still feels the pressure of many festivals to attract stars to fill its red carpets and please its sponsors.

"Adult World."
Tribeca Film Festival "Adult World."

Faced with a limited range of options, the festival winds up with a number of tepidly received titles that nevertheless benefit from flashy premieres: This past week, "Junebug" director Phil Morrison unveiled a long-awaited followup, "Almost Christmas," starring Paul Rudd and Paul Giamatti, and faced near-universal derision in subsequent reviews. "Sherrybaby" director Laurie Collyer's similarly delayed return to feature filmmaking, the Naomi Watts vehicle "Sunlight Jr.," fared only a little better. Clark Gregg's "Trust Me," in which he also stars, faced a slew of mixed reactions. And don't get me started on "Adult World," a thoroughly terrible coming-of-age story in which an aspiring poet, played by Emma Roberts, attempts to apprentice herself with John Cusack as a bitter, reclusive scribe. It's as bad as it sounds, the sort of lazily scripted "comedy" that fuels condescending perceptions of American indie clichés.

But if you can forgive the presence of such mediocrity in the context of the demands faced by festival programmers, there are actually a number of much smaller, quieter narratives populating the lineup this year. While they might benefit from better exposure in the program, the handful of stories that have stood out provide a welcome alternative to the glitzier selections.

Considering its location, Tribeca might benefit from creating a program of features exclusively dedicated to the city's thriving filmmaking scene; if such a section existed, the breakout this year would undoubtedly be narrative competition title "Stand Clear of the Closing Doors," the accomplished sophomore feature from Sam Fleischner ("Wa Do Dem"). Partly inspired by the seminal Coney Island child-on-the-lam drama "The Little Fugitive," Fleischner's astute tale follows a Latino teen with Asberger's Syndrome named Ricky (Jesus Sachez-Valez), who wanders off and leaves his mother frantically searching for him during the days between Halloween and the arrival of Hurricane Sandy last fall, an event that inadvertently played a role in the film's remarkable, ominous finale.

Fleischner's naturalistic approach frequently adopts a documentary-like feel as Ricky remains tethered to the subway system for days at a time and undergoes a series of colorful encounters with the city's diverse population. Though never quite the sum of its parts, the movie brilliantly inhabits its young, confused protagonist's mind, conveying the precise means by which New York's urban details come alive for him.

This article is related to: Reviews, Tribeca Film Festival, Bluebird, Stand Clear of the Closing Doors, Run and Jump, Adult World






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More