Culture Representation: Taking place from 1990 to 2014, in Seoul, New York City, and briefly in Toronto, the dramatic film “Past Lives” (partially inspired by a true story) features a predominantly Asian cast of characters (with some white people) representing the working-class and middle-class.
Culture Clash: Twenty-four years after moving from South Korea to North America in her childhood, a 36-year-old married woman reconnects with a single man of the same age who could have been her adolescent sweetheart if she hadn’t moved away from South Korea.
Culture Audience: “Past Lives” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in well-acted dramas about missed connections, immigration, and contemplating “what if” scenarios, when it comes to love, friendship and romance.
“Past Lives” beautifully tells a mature and realistic story about love, friendship and heartbreak for two people whose lives have gone in different directions, but they find a way to reconnect. It’s a relationship drama that’s an instant classic. If you’re looking for a movie with a formulaic ending, then look elsewhere. “Past Lives” authentically conveys the unsettling effects of when people begin to wonder if the lives that they have are the lives that they really want, and if past decisions they made were the right decisions.
Written and directed by Celine Song, “Past Lives” (which had its world premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival) is a movie that is inspired by events that happened in Song’s own life. The movie isn’t autobiographical, but it explores many of the same feelings that came about when Song (who is originally from South Korea and married to an American man) was visited by man who was her childhood sweetheart in their native South Korea. Song is a New York City-based playwright whose feature-film debut is “Past Lives,” which opens with a scene that’s based on one of Song’s real-life experiences.
As she explains in the “Past Lives” production notes, she, her husband and her close childhood friend went to a restaurant/bar together during this visit. “I was sitting there between these two men who I know love me in different ways, in two different languages and two different cultures. And I’m the only reason why these two men are even talking to each other. There’s something almost sci-fi about it. You feel like somebody who can transcend culture and time and space and language.”
The opening scene of “Past Lives” does something clever in introducing this potentially uneasy love triangle: In 2014, two men and a woman are sitting side-by-side at a counter in a New York City bar, with the woman the middle. This trio is being observed by a man and a woman nearby (who are never seen on screen), who have a conversation trying to guess how these three people know each other. “Past Lives” (which takes place from 1990 to 2014) circles back to this bar scene later in the movie to show what led to this pivotal conversation between the trio.
After this opening scene, “Past Lives” flashes back to 1990 in Seoul, South Korea, where 12-year-old Moon Na Young, also known as Nora (played by Moon Seung-ah), and is hanging out with her best friend, Jung Hae Sung (played by Leem Seung-min), who’s about the same age as Nora. Hae Sung is a basketball enthusiast, who gently teases Nora because she’s crying over the fact that Hae Sung got first place in a contest that they entered. Hae Sung asks Nora why she’s angry over not getting first place. “I’m always second-place to you, and I never cry,” he says.
Viewers will soon see that Nora is the more talkative and ambitious of this duo of friends. She’s excels in academics and wants to be a writer when she grows up. At this point in Hae Sung’s childhood, he is less certain of what he wants to do with his life. He is well-mannered and throughtful, which are personality traits that carries throughout his life. He’s also not as quick as Nora to reveal his feelings.
In another scene, Hae Sung’s mother (played by Min Young Ahn) tells Nora’s mother (played by Ji Hye Yoon), who both don’t have names in the movie, that Na Young/Nora and Hae Sung look cute together. Hae Sung’s mother implies that these two kids will probably get married to each other when they’re adults. Hae Sung seems to also think that this will be the natural progression of his relationship with Nora.
However, the lives of Nora and Hae Sung will soon go in very different directions. Hae Sung is shocked to find out one day that the Moon family is moving to Canada to try something new in their lives. It’s a relocation that was decided by both parents, although Nora’s father (played by Wong Young Choi), who works in film production, seems to be more of the driving force in this decision. Nora’s father is the one who decided what the English-language first names would be for Na Young and her younger sister Si Young (played by Yeon Woo Seo), who is quieter and more passive than Na Young/Nora. Nora wanted to be renamed Michelle.
Before moving away, Nora tells her classmates that her family is moving to Canada because “Koreans don’t get the Nobel Prize for literature,” which is another way of saying that Nora believes that she has to become part of Western culture to achieve what she wants in life. Viewers can infer that these beliefs were instilled in her by her parents. It also explains why Nora doesn’t go back to visit South Korea after she has moved away.
The first third of the movie ends with a poignant goodbye between Nora and Hae Sung outside on a street near her home, and then the Moon family is shown arriving at Toronto International Airport. The farewell between adolescent Nora and Hae Sung becomes a defining life moment that gets compared to something that happens later in the movie. Nora and Hae Sung don’t fully understand at the time how momentous this goodbye will be in their lives.
The middle section and last-third section of the “Past Lives” shows the adulthood of Nora (played by Greta Lee) and Hae Sung (played by Teo Yoo), who are leading two very different lives. The second-third of the movie begins in 2002, when 24-year-old Nora is a university grad student in New York City. Hae Sung is enlisted in the South Korean military, which is required for South Korean men in his age group. Hae Sung eventually becomes an engineering student.
Nora finds out that Hae Sung has been trying to contact her, by leaving a message on the Facebook page of her father’s production company. Nora is slightly amused and very intrigued, so she decides to reach out to Hae Sung through social media. They reconnect with Skype conversations that are flirtatious with underlying potential for romance. In her 20s, Nora is proud to tell Hae Sung that she’s no longer the “crybaby” that he knew her to be when they were kids.
There’s an unspoken “push and pull” going on in these conversations. Nora and Hae Sung both know that if they start a romance with each other, the issue will inevitably come up about who is going to move to another country to be with that person. It’s an issue that’s the main wedge in preventing this relationship from blossoming.
Nora, who is fluent in Korean and English, is very happy and settled in New York City. Hae Sung, whose English is limited, sees himself as always living in South Korea. Nora tries to motivate Hae Sung to visit her in New York City, but he asks her a question that has a ripple effect on their relationship thereafter: “Why would I want to go to New York?” Observant viewers will notice that Nora doesn’t offer to visit Hae Sung in South Korea.
The last third of the movie takes place 12 years later, in 2014. Nora is still in New York City and now happily married to an American book author named Arthur Zaturansky (played by John Magaro), who is an easygoing and loving husband. However, Nora’s world gets rocked when she hears from Hae Sung after not being in contact with him for many years. Hae Sung, a never-married bachelor, is coming to New York City to visit for a week. And he wants to see Nora. It will be the first time Nora and Hae Sung will see each other in person (not over a computer or phone screen) since they said goodbye to each other as 12-year-old in South Korea.
None of this is spoiler information, because “Past Lives” (which is told in mostly in chronological order) is being marketed around the last third of the film. The movie has occasional flashbacks showing Nora and Hae Sung in their childhoods. The chronological narrative of the movie helps better explain how the relationship between Nora and Hae Sung changed over the years.
Nora’s anticipation for Hae Sung’s visit doesn’t go unnoticed by Arthur, who is trying to be open-minded and not jealous. Arthur knows that Nora and Hae Sung were close friends in a relationship that didn’t blossom into a romantic dating relationship. However, even though Nora doesn’t say it out loud, it’s very obvious that Nora wonders if Hae Sung is her true love/soul mate, the “one who got away.”
What Nora does say out loud to Arthur is this defensive response when Arthur wonders if Nora is still attracted to Hae Sung: “I don’t think it’s an attraction. I think I just missed him a lot. I miss Seoul.”
It’s not that Nora doesn’t love Arthur. It’s just that Nora knows her emotional connection with Hae Sung goes much deeper that what she has with Arthur. Hae Sung is a reminder of Nora’s past, but he’s also an example of a future she could have had but chose not to have. After Hae Sung arrives in New York City, the time that Nora and Hae Sung spend reconnecting are mostly on platonic dates to various places in New York City. During a few of the conversations in these get-togethers, Hae Sung brings up the concept of past lives determining future lives.
“Past Lives” shows how two people who could be passionate soul mates might not be compatible when it comes to marriage and life goals. Unless someone wants a long-distance or unconventional marriage, part of the commitment of marriage is spending time living together. Curiosity is a huge reason for Nora’s willingness to meet up with Hae Sung. What does he really want from her? And has he changed his mind about living in the United States?
These questions linger during the most memorable conversations in “Past Lives,” until Nora gets some definitive answers. But the emotional heart of the story has to do with the unanswered “what if” questions that Nora and Hae Sung have about their lives. Lee and Yoo are stellar in their performances as Nora and Hae Sung. These two co-stars skillfully depict showing the restraint of two characters who don’t want cross boundaries into inappropriateness but have the openness of two formerly close friends who are eager to reconnect.
As for that bar conversation featured in the movie’s opening scene, it realistically shows how Arthur feels like a “third wheel” when he’s around Nora and Hae Sung, who frequently speak to each other in Korean. Arthur knows a little bit of Korean, but he’s not fluent in the language. Magaro is quite good in a role that is meant to be a supporting role, but it never looks diminished or undervalued. Feeling like the “odd man out” is as awkward for Arthur as it is intentionally uncomfortable for viewers to watch.
Unlike other movies that would turn this love triangle into heavy melodrama or unrealistic comedy, “Past Lives” is about how people who are emotionally mature adults can navigate this tricky situation. A sign of great acting is when viewers can sense what the characters are thinking but are not saying out loud. The biggest truths of “Past Lives” are in those unspoken moments, with a lot of these truths showing themselves in the movie’s very last and unforgettable scene.
A24 will release “Past Lives” in select U.S. cinemas on June 2, 2023, with an expansion to more U.S. cinemas on June 23, 2023.
Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Power and Justin K. Thompson
Some language in Spanish with no subtitles
Culture Representation: Taking place in New York City and in the fictional multiverse called the Spider-Verse, the superhero animated film “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” features a racially diverse cast of characters (black, white and Latino) representing the working-class and middle-class.
Culture Clash: American teenager Miles Morales, who is one of many spider characters in the Spider-Verse, encounters various heroes and villains in the Spider-Verse.
Culture Audience: Besides appealing to the obvious target audience of comic book movie fans, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” will appeal primarily to people who don’t mind watching animated movies that have an inconsistent visual style and a very muddled plot.
Just like a tangled web from a scatterbrained spider, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is a convoluted mess. This overstuffed movie takes too long to define the plot. It’s a barrage of inconsistent visuals that often look like ugly comic-book graffiti. And it’s a huge disappointment as a sequel to 2018’s Oscar-winning “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (based on characters from Marvel Comics), a visually stunning, highly entertaining film that showed tremendous potential as the next great “Spider-Man” movie series. Superhero movies are supposed to tell viewers within the first 30 minutes what the story is going to be about and who the villain is, but the 140-minute “Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse” fails to deliver those basic elements until the movie is more than halfway done.
“Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse” (directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Power and Justin K. Thompson) also commits one of the worst sins of a movie sequel: It’s very unwelcoming to newcomers. People who didn’t see or don’t know what happened in “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” will be confused from the very first scene of “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.” And even if viewers saw and remember “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” they will have their patience tested by how the overly long “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” jumps from one subplot to the next without much explanation or resolution. Characters appear, disappear for long stretches of time, and then might or might not reappear with any meaningful context on what they’re really supposed to be doing in this movie.
In “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” Miles Morales, also known as web-slinging superhero Spider-Man (voiced by Shameik Moore) is a student in his last year of high school. Miles is the movie’s central character, and he seems to be just as confused by what’s going on in his world as may viewers will be. Miles (who lives in New York City’s Brooklyn borough) is one of several people or creatures who have a Spider superhero alter ego. In the Spider-Verse, these various Spider iterations can time jump and appear in other universes, depending on if they have the power to do so, or are sent there by someone else. Unlike the teenage Peter Parker in the “Spider-Man” franchise, or even the Miles Morales in “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” the Miles in “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is barely shown in school or interacting with his schoolmates.
That’s not what’s irritating about this movie. What’s irritating about “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is that it’s so enamored with the concept of various Spider beings, it overloads in introducing these characters but doesn’t have much real character development for them. There are moments of wisecracking jokes (the movie’s comedy is best appreciated by teenagers and adults), but these quips don’t make up for the rest of the uninspired plot and dialogue. And the movie’s big climax just drags on and on, like a rambling stand-up comedian who doesn’t know when to get off the stage.
Miles’ main ally in “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is Gwen Stacy (voiced by Hailee Steinfeld), a teenager who’s close to Miles’ age and who might or might not be his love interest. Gwen has a superhero alter ego named Spider-Gwen, who was the last person known to see the adult Peter Parker (voiced by Jake Johnson), also known as the most famous Spider-Man, before Peter died. (This death scene is shown as a flashback of Spider-Gwen at Peter’s side when he dies in a massive urban wreckage.) Gwen’s widower father George Stacy (voiced by Shea Whigham), who’s had a rocky relationship with Gwen, is determined to arrest Spider-Gwen, not knowing that his daughter is really Spider-Gwen.
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” has such a poorly constructed narrative, the only backstory that viewers get about Gwen is her vague voiceover narration in the movie’s opening scene: “I didn’t want to hurt him, but I did. He’s not the only one.” After the flashback of Parker Parker dying in the wreckage, Gwen says in a voiceover: “I never really made another friend after that—except one, but he’s not here.” That other friend, of course, is Miles Morales. But only Spider-Man experts or people who saw “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” will know what Gwen is babbling about in this opening scene.
Gwen is the drummer for an all-female rock trio called the Mary Janes. (The band’s name is a cheeky nod to Mary Jane Watson, who is Peter Parker’s girlfriend in other “Spider-Man” stories.) The beginning of the movie shows the band rehearsing and then Gwen quitting in anger. Why? Don’t expect a good explanation, except she appears to be angry over Peter’s death but she can’t talk to anyone about it. It’s a scene that’s ultimately pointless, like many other scenes in this long-winded film.
After her temper tantrum, Gwen goes home, where she has a bratty attitude with her father, who tells her that the police have gotten a break in the Peter Parker/Spider-Man death case. George says to Gwen: “Too punk rock to hug your old man?” She then quickly hugs him, and all seems to be forgiven. But as soon as you know that George and his police colleagues have made progression in their Peter Parker death investigation, you know what’s eventually going to happen.
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” also shows that Miles’ home life is affected by his superhero antics. A lot of time in this movie is spent on repetitive and not-very-interesting subplots about Miles’ parents—Jefferson Davis (voiced by Brian Tyree Henry) and Rio Morales (played by Luna Lauren Velez, previously known as Lauren Velez)—getting annoyed and worried because Miles is constantly tardy or absent from places where he needs to be. A running “joke” in the movie is that Miles’ parents keep adding to the number of months that they say Miles is grounded.
Miles pops in and out of a meeting that he’s supposed to have with his parents and his school principal (voiced by Rachel Dratch) to discuss his plans after high school. The principal is worried that Miles might be squandering his potential, since he’s been skipping classes. And there are some racist overtones when the principal says she wants to fabricate a narrative for Miles’ college applications by saying on the applications that Miles (who is Afro-Latino) is a poor, underprivileged kid with a rough childhood. (He’s not. Miles actually comes from a stable middle-class family.) Fortunately, the principal’s awful idea is nixed.
In the meeting, it’s mentioned that Miles wants to go to Princeton University to study physics. Rio gets upset because she thinks New Jersey is too far away from Brooklyn. (It’s not.) And then, Miles is out the door before the meeting is over because he has to attend to some secretive Spider-Man superhero business. His plans for what he wants to do after graduating from high school are never mentioned again in the movie. It’s just a time-wasting scene.
n “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Miles’ relationship with his parents looks authentic. In “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” Miles’ relationship with his parents looks fake and rushed. There’s a very disjointed sequence where Miles is late for a rooftop party that his family is having to celebrate Jefferson getting promoted from lieutenant to captain at the New York Police Department. The death of Jefferson’s thieving criminal brother Aaron, which was shown in “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” is treated as an quick afterthought in “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.” Miles introduces Gwen to his parents in this rooftop party sequence, which keeps getting interrupted by Gwen and Miles going in and out of the Spider-Verse.
During this very sloppily told and often visually unappealing movie, other characters show up, disappear, then show up again, and might disappear again, with the movie never clearly defining who some of them are and what is purpose of these characters. A villain who comes and goes with no real significance is Adrian Toomes, also known as The Vulture (voiced by Jorma Taccone), who gets into a battle with Spider-Gwen. Don’t expect the movie to give an explanation of who The Vulture is and where he came from, because it’s never mentioned in “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.”
Miles later thwarts a convenience store robbery by Jonathan Ohnn, also known as The Spot (voiced by Jason Schartzman), a portal-jumping villain character with a black hole for a face and who looks like he’s wearing a white full body suit with Dalmatian patterns. The Spot appears and disappears into portal holes, with no explanation for viewers who aren’t familiar with this character from Marvel comic books. The only clue offered is when The Spot tells Miles, “I’m from your past.”
Other characters who are dropped in and out of scenes are Miguel O’Hara (voiced by Oscar Isaac), a mysterious motorcycle-riding character dressed in a Spider-Man costume; Jessica Drew (voiced by Issa Rae), a no-nonsense, highly trained fighter who happens to be pregnant; and Lyla (voiced by Greta Lee), who is Miguel’s artificial-intelligence assistant. A version of the adult Peter Parker shows up, as a married father of a baby daughter named Mayday, who seems to fill the movie’s quota to have a cute kid character in the movie. A LEGO universe is briefly shown as nothing more than product placement for LEGO.
There are also international versions of Spider superheroes. Hobart “Hobie Brown,” also known as Spider-Punk (voiced by Daniel Kaluuya), is a snarling, sarcastic Brit who seems to be influenced by a 1980s-era Billy Idol. Spider-Punk is the only character who does not have a non-generic personality. Margo Kess, also known as Spider-Byte (voiced by Amandla Stenberg), is an American, openly queer computer expert, whose presence in the movie barely makes a difference to the story. Ben Reilly, also known as Scarlet Spider (voiced by Andy Samberg), is a clone designed to look like Peter Parker. Spider-Man India (voiced by Karan Soni) doesn’t even get his own birth name in the movie, which gives him a brief, goofy appearance that reeks of tokenism.
Some of the movie’s animation is deliberately made to look like unfinished sketches from a comic book. There might be some people who like this visual style, but most viewers of superhero movies want to see consistency in the animation style of movies in the same series. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and in “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” have almost entirely different teams of screenwriters and directors—and these difference show to the movie’s detriment. Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman directed “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which was written by Rothman and Phil Lord. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” was written by Lord, Christopher Miller and Dave Callaham.
There are huge parts of the “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” that look like an experimental art project gone wrong. The animation sometimes look jagged, unpolished and blurry. As for the movie’s unfocused plot, it looks like it was made only for the type of people who know Spider-Man inside jokes or who religiously look for Easter Eggs in “Spider-Man” visual content. A typical family with children under the age of 10 who see this movie will probably feel alienated by how so much of the film is cluttered and unclear. And it begs the question: “Why mess up such a good thing?”
Not all of the visuals in “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” consists of animation. There are a few Spiderverse scenes where people appear as cameos in live-action visuals. Donald Glover has one of these cameos. (In real life, Glover famously campaigned to get the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the early 2010s. Andrew Garfield ended up getting the role.) Another cameo is from sassy convenience store owner Mrs. Chen (played by Peggy Lu), who is a minor character in the “Venom” movies, which are connected to the “Spider-Man” franchise. People who haven’t seen the “Venom” movies just won’t know or care about this Mrs. Chen cameo. These cameos are nothing more than stunt casting and add nothing to the plot.
It seems like “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is trying to be an artsy superhero animated film. The problem is that the “Spider-Man” movie brand was made for a wide variety of people, not just comic-book enthusiasts who are obsessive about Spider-Man “canon,” which in comic-book terms means the story as it was originally presented in the comic books. The movie has an annoying tendency to assume all viewers are going to be Spider-Man experts.
And speaking of “canon,” expect to hear a lot of about “canon disruption” in “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.” Pity any viewer of this steaming pile of pretentiousness who doesn’t have encylopedic knowledge of what is and what is not “canon” in the Spider-Verse. Because yes, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is a very pretentious animated film that is sure to baffle and disappoint many people who think they’re going to see a continuation of what made “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” so special.
Anyone who’s letting children under the age of 10 watch the very messy “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” should be warned that these children will most likely be bored and/or confused, unless all they care about is seeing bright, splashy visuals on screen. The voice cast members for “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” do what they’re supposed to do. But the plot is so jumbled and smug with its fan-servce pandering, by the time the end of “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” announces that the story continues in “Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse” (due out in 2024), many viewers will be thinking to themselves: “No, thank you.”
Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Animation will release “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” in U.S. cinemas on June 2, 2023.
Culture Representation: Taking place in New York City, the comedy film “You Hurt My Feelings” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with some African Americans and Asians) representing the working-class and middle-class.
Culture Clash: An insecure book author gets deeply upset when she finds out that her psychotherapist husband has been pretendng to like her first novel, and this revelation leads her to question his honesty in the marriage.
Culture Audience: “You Hurt My Feelings” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, filmmaker Nicole Holofcener and satire-tinged comedies where people make a big deal out of problems that are very trivial in the real world.
If you’re a fan of comedies that poke gentle fun at somewhat spoiled protagonists, then “You Hurt My Feelings” (written and directed by Nicole Holofcener) is the type of movie that perfectly fits this description. It’s a low-key and realistic comedy about people who live in the bubble of being privileged and neurotic New Yorkers. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is an actress queen for this type of character. This movie isn’t for everyone, but the performances are entertaining. “You Hurt My Feelings” had its world premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.
In “You Hurt My Feelings” (which takes place in New York City), Louis-Dreyfus portrays Beth Mitchell, an insecure book author who is constantly seeking validation from people around her. The person whose opinions and respect that Beth values the most is her husband Don Mitchell (played by Tobias Menzies), who is an easygoing psychotherapist. Don is very laid-back and tolerant, while Beth is uptight and judgmental. Even though Beth and Don have opposite personalities, they’ve had a very long and happy marriage.
At least that’s what Beth thinks, until she finds out something that shakes her to the core: Don has been pretending to like the book that Beth is currently working on: her first novel, which is also her second book. Don is one of the few people whom Beth has let read the manuscript for this book. She’s already feeling insecure because her first book (a memoir detailing the verbal abuse she got from her now-deceased father) was not the bestseller that Beth hoped it would be. The memoir wasn’t a total flop, but it had sales that were lukewarm.
Adding to Beth’s unease about her first novel is the less-than-enthusiastic response from her book agent. Not long before Beth found out that Don doesn’t like the manuscript, her agent Sylvia (played by LaTanya Richardson Jackson) told Beth during a lunch meeting that Sylvia doesn’t really like the manuscript either and thinks it’s not as interesting as Beth’s memoir. Sylvia commented to Beth in this meeting that there’s a lot of competition in the book publishing industry, which is always looking for “new voices.” Beth interprets this comment as Sylvia telling Beth that she’s old.
Why is Beth so insecure? It’s mentioned about midway through the movie that her father did a lot of emotional damage to her with his verbal abuse. He often called her “shit for brains” when Beth was a child. It’s a phrase that Beth says out loud to herself when she’s having moments of very low self-esteem.
Beth’s world is fairly insular, since most of the people interacts with are family members and work colleagues. She teaches a creative writing class to people who are mostly in their 20s and 30s. Beth encourages her students to take risks in their work. It’s advice that Beth doesn’t always follow for herself. The movie later shows how Beth can be hypocritical in other ways.
Beth has a younger sister named Sarah (played Michaela Watkins), an interior designer who’s battling her own insecurities about her career. Sarah is married to a frequently unemployed actor named Mark (played by Arian Moayed), who’s frustrated that he hasn’t been able to land starring roles and get work more often. Mark also happens to be Don’s best friend. (People from Don’s side of the family are never mentioned in the movie.) Beth and Sarah have a cranky and forgetful mother named Georgia (played by Jeannie Berlin), who might be showing signs of early onset dementia.
Don and Beth’s only child is a 23-year-old son named Eliot (played by Owen Teague), who works at a marijuana dispensary. Even though Beth occasionally smokes marijuana, she tells Eliot that she’s uncomfortable with his job, because she thinks there’s potential for danger on the job, and she thinks that college graduate Eliot (who is an aspiring playwright) isn’t living up to his potential. Beth thinks it’s also why Eliot’s girlfriend Alison (who’s never seen in the movie), an aspiring lawyer, seems to be drifting away from Eliot.
“You Hurt My Feelings” is made like a compilation of scenarios that show different personal angles of Beth and her loved ones. Beth finds out about Don’s true feelings for her manuscript when she and Sarah spontaneously eavesdrop on Don and Mark in a sporting goods store. The way that Beth reacts is as if Don betrayed her in the most hurtful manner possible. Beth begins to wonder if she even she even knows Don at all.
The movie goes back and forth between showing Beth’s interactions with people, as well as the therapy sessions that Don (a doctor with his own practice) has with some of his clients. These therapy sessions seem to be in the movie to show how Don approaches problem-solving in his clients’ personal relationships, compared to problem-solving in his own personal relationships.
The movie’s opening scene shows Don in a therapy session with a bickering married couple named Jonathan (played by David Cross) and Carolyn (played by Amber Tamblyn), who say hateful things to each other. (Cross and Tamblyn are spouses in real life.) Don passively sits and listens, even though Jonathan and Carolyn clearly want the type of therapist who will give them advice on what to do about their marriage. And as time goes on, viewers see that Don’s non-confrontational style can be a detriment in his own marriage.
An early scene in the “You Hate My Feelings” shows a wedding anniversary dinner that Beth and Don are having together at a restaurant. Don gives Beth a pair of gold leaf earrings as his anniversary gift. Beth gives Don a black V-necked shirt. They both smile and seem happy with these gifts during this romantic dinner. Later in the movie, it’s shown that these gifts are symbols of much deeper issues in Beth and Don’s relationship.
Louis-Dreyfus is the obvious standout in a movie where her Beth character is the main focus of the story. However, Watkins and Berlin also give terrific performances that skillfully balance realism with talented comedic timing. Menzies plays his part well as a somewhat bland but loyal husband, while the other cast members are part of the overall believability in their roles, which could easily have been played as caricatures.
Of course, many viewers won’t feel too sorry for Beth, because she has the type of comfortable life that many people would like to have: She’s healthy. She’s surrounded by people who love her. And she doesn’t have worry about basic needs, such as food or shelter.
But truth be told, a lot of privileged people who have charmed existences in real life can’t see beyond their own trivial problems because they really have no reason or motivation to do so. The closest that Beth wants to acknowledge any type of “real world” suffering is volunteering with Sarah at a charity that gives away free clothes to underprivileged people. If Beth’s worst problem is finding out that her husband doesn’t like her latest book, then that’s a pretty good life to have.
The movie admits it at one point when Don comments to Beth about how she’s reacting to him not liking her novel: “The whole world is falling apart, and this is what consumes you?” Beth replies, “I know the whole world is falling apart … but this is my small, narcissistic world, and I’m hurt.” For all the neuroses and self-absorption on display, a movie like “You Hurt My Feelings” serves as a reminder that people who seem to “have it all” can still find reasons to be miserable if they’re not completely happy with themselves.
A24 released “You Hurt My Feelings” in U.S. cinemas on May 26, 2023.
Culture Representation: Taking place mostly in New York City, the comedy/drama film “Love Again” (based on the novel “Text for You”) features a predominantly white cast of characters (with some Asians and African Americans) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.
Culture Clash: Two years after her fiancé died in a tragic car accident, a children’s book illustrator sends lovelorn text messages to his old phone number, which is now being used as a work phone number by a music journalist, who begins dating her, but he doesn’t tell her that he’s the one who’s been getting her text messages.
Culture Audience: “Love Again” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners and fans of the book on which the movie is based, but most viewers with enough life experience will be turned off and bored by this predictable and lackluster love story.
The painfully unfunny, boring and very outdated “Love Again” is a fake-looking romantic comedy/drama that also wants to be a Céline Dion commercial. The romance looks forced and unnatural. Everything is an embarrassment for everyone who made this junk. This movie is so dull and lacking in charisma, it makes anything on the Hallmark Channel (which churns out generic romance movies on a regular basis) look exciting in comparison.
Written and directed by Jim Strouse, “Love Again” is based on Sofie Cramer’s 2022 novel “Text for You.” There isn’t one single thing in this dreadful movie that is clever or surprising. In fact, it’s downright insulting to viewers that the “Love Again” filmmakers expect viewers to think that the mindless tripe that comes out of the central couple’s mouths is supposed to be “witty and charming” dialogue, when it’s the exact opposite.
“Love Again” (which takes place mostly in New York City) begins by showing children’s book illustrator Mira Ray (played by Priyanka Chopra Jonas) meeting up with her 34-year-old fiancé John Wright (played by Arinzé Kene) for a lunch date at a local café. John’s occupation is not mentioned in the movie. Mira and John exchange some lovey-dovey talk and make plans to meet up later.
Less than a minute after John waves goodbye to Mira while he’s walking on a sidewalk near the café, Mira hears the horrific sound of a car crash. As soon as you hear the crash and see Mira’s alarmed reaction, you just know that John was hit by a car. It’s later revealed that John was killed by a drunk driver at that moment.
The movie then fast-forwards to two years later. Mira has moved back home with her parents, who live in an unnamed city and state. Wherever they live, it’s within driving distance of New York City. Mira has taken a leave of absence from her job. The movie implies that Mira hasn’t been doing much with her life but moping around the house because of her grief over John’s death.
Mira’s perky younger sister Suzy Ray (played by Sofia Barclay), who was Mira’s roommate in New York City, has been leaving voice messages for Mira and begging her to move back to New York City so they can live together again. Suzy’s messages express concern, then frustration, and then anger. “Mom and Dad want their house back!” Suzy snaps in a message to Mira. After getting this message, Mira finally decides she’s going to move back to New York City and try to move on with her life without John.
At Mira’s job, her boss Gina Valentine (played by Celia Imrie) scolds Mira for drawing depressing illustrations when Mira is supposed to be drawing cheerful illustrations. Gina calls an intern named Molly (played by Camille Hatcher) into Gina’s office and tells Mira that Molly is a student on a scholarship at New York University and was raised by a single mother. Gina says to Mira about Molly, “She’ll lose your job if you don’t figure this out.” That type of unamusing line is what this movie is trying to pass off as “comedy.”
Meanwhile, at the fictional newspaper the New York Chronicle, music journalist/critic Rob Burns (played by Sam Heughan), a 35-year-old British immigrant, wants to start a podcast for the newspaper. However, his boss Richard Hughes (played by Steve Oram), who’s also British, wants Rob’s top priority to be for Rob to get an amazing interview with superstar pop singer Céline Dion. Richard says the newspaper is interested because she’s doing a comeback tour, and young people are discovering her music.
It just so happens that Rob, just like Mira, has a broken heart too. His fiancée Elizabeth, nicknamed Liz, dumped him a week before their planned wedding. The movie is vague about who Liz is, but she’s some kind of celebrity, so the breakup was all over the media. A humiliated Rob has become bitter and says he doesn’t believe in love. Of course, we all know he’s going to change his mind when he meets Mira.
At his job, Rob gets a new cell phone from the company. He’s told that he has to use this phone for work-related purposes. Rob’s gossipy and nosy co-worker Billy Brooks (played by Russell Tovey) warns Rob that this cell phone is probably just a way for their boss to spy on Rob. Rob has another co-worker named Lisa Scott (played by Lydia West), whom he’s somewhat attracted to, but she sees him more like an older brother.
One night, Mira is feeling lonely, so she texts some lovelorn “I miss you” messages to the phone number that John used to have. And guess who has this phone number now? Rob, who is surprised to get these messages from a stranger. He answers anyway, as someone who is confused but sympathetic about why she has contacted him.
On this particular night when Mira sends her first text message to the number that Rob now has, there’s a thunderstorm that knocks out the electricity at the same time in Mira’s apartment and Rob’s apartment. This movie is so corny, the only reason why this power outage happens is to make it more obvious that the phone is lit up with text messages in the dark. Rob doesn’t do what sensible people would do: Tell this stranger to stop texting him and/or block her number, because there would be no “Love Again” movie if the would-be couple and the filmmakers acted sensibly.
And so begins the tedious silliness of “Love Again,” which already reveals in the movie’s trailer that Mira and Rob start having an “emotional connection” online, but it takes a while for them to meet in person. However, it doesn’t take long for Mira to begin “sexting” her online “lover,” by saying things such as she wants to see him naked. Mira sends a barrage of texts that, by any standard, make her look unhinged. The movie tries too hard to convince viewers that Mira’s texts, which cross the line into harassment of a stranger, are all perfectly normal and acceptable, when they’re not.
When Rob and Mira meet in person and begin dating, Rob doesn’t take Lisa’s advice to tell Mira that he’s the person she’s been confiding in through text messages. We all know where this deception is going in the rom-com formula of “Boy meets girl. Boy gets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy finds a way to win back the girl.”
As for singer Dion (who portrays herself in the movie), even though she shares top billing for “Love Again,” she’s only in about 25% of the movie. And now that it’s been revealed that Dion wasn’t actually in the same room when she filmed scenes with her “Love Again” co-stars, it’s yet another reason why this movie looks so phony. Dion’s scenes (which range from bland to awkward) in “Love Again” are mostly cringeworthy, to put it mildly.
For starters, “Love Again” fails to make Dion look charming. In fact, she’s downright rude and inappropriate in many of her character interactions in this movie. At a press conference attended by Rob, she lectures Rob by telling him that he doesn’t know anything about love, just because he asked her about some of her romance-related song lyrics.
To be fair, Rob isn’t exactly courteous either, since he’s openly cynical about Dion’s music at first. She also gets annoyed when he looks at text messages on his phone while she’s answering his question at the press conference. “Love Again” takes a sharp turn into ridiculousness when Rob later does a one-on-one interview with Dion that turns into a therapy session where she tells him what he should be doing in his romance with Mira. Dion also reminisces about her own romance with her deceased husband/manager, René Angélil.
The dialogue in “Love Again” is simply horrendous and full of hokey clichés. There’s a scene where Rob tries to hint to Mira that he’s the one she’s been texting. Rob asks Mira, “Do you think it’s possible to fall in love with someone through their words?” Mira replies, “You know what they say: ‘Actions speak louder than words.'”
Mira has a quirk of asking people “would you rather” questions that make her look shallow and ditzy, because she says she judges people based on their answers to these hypothetical questions. One of these questions is “Would you rather have 10 cats or would you rather have one parrot on your shoulder for 22 hours a day?” (Mira thinks the only “correct” answer is to choose the parrot.) Another question is “Would you rather live your life with silent, uncontrollable gas or loud, uncontrollable sneezing?”
Who over the age of 12 talks like that? And who wants to date an adult who talks like that? Mira also doesn’t like it if anyone answers “neither” to her “would you rather” questions. She expects people to answer her questions as if she’s a prosecutor interrogating someone on a witness stand. Apparently, “Love Again” wants to convince people that this annoying trait of Mira’s is endearing.
As for Rob, he’s no prize either when it comes to his personality. Aside from his job and his monotonous romance with Mira, the most that the movie reveals about Rob is that he likes basketball and that he (just like Mira) is a terrible cook. There are some “red flags” about Rob’s life that would be noticed by someone who “falls in love” with him, if this movie tried to be realistic. For example, Rob never talks about his family, which remains a mystery throughout the story. Rob, like Mira, also doesn’t have any close friends.
Seriously, if the only people you can talk to about your love life are two co-worker acquaintances and a celebrity who’s really a stranger, then you’ve got bigger problems than how to court a love interest. But apparently, the “Love Again” filmmakers want viewers to ignore all of that and make Rob look like he’s a “great catch” as a bachelor. Yes, he’s physically good-looking, but a lot of his personality is quite monotonous and drippy.
Needless to say, Chopra Jonas and Heughan do not have believable chemistry together as an on-screen couple. The movie has some stunt casting with Nick Jonas (who married Chopra Jonas in 2018) in a not-funny-at-all cameo. Jonas portrays an idiotic and vain fitness trainer named Joel, who goes on one bad date with Mira before Mira meets Rob. This bad date happens to take place in the same restaurant and at the same time when Rob thinks he’ll meet Mira due to some miscommunication by text. It’s all just stilted acting and more contrived nonsense on display.
The supporting characters in “Love Again” are mostly hollow and terribly underdeveloped. Mira and Suzy like to hang out at a diner called Roxy’s, which is owned and managed by a widower named Mohsen, nicknamed Mo (played by Omid Djalili), who named the diner after his wife. Mo’s only purpose in the brief time that he’s on screen is to show that Mira actually talks to someone else besides Suzy about Mira’s love life.
“Love Again” tries to look “classy” with references to the opera “Orpheus and Eurydice,” which was part of the love story of Mira and John. The way “Orpheus and Eurydice” is used in the movie is supposed to look intellectually deep and emotionally moving. But it’s all such a pretentious façade in a low-quality movie, because the only music that “Love Again” really cares about promoting is Dion’s music. Various people, including Dion, sing some of her original hits and cover tunes throughout the movie.
During the end credits, the “Love Again” principal cast members are shown doing individual karaoke-styled singing of Dion’s music as part of this non-stop shillfest. Various scenes in “Love Again” also have obnoxious and blatant product placement—particularly of a candy brand that won’t be mentioned in this review, because this candy brand, just like Dion’s music, gets enough hawking in the movie. “Love Again” is such an abomination in a world filled with cheesy movies about unrealistic-looking romances, the title of the movie should be changed to “Never Again” to describe how people with good taste will feel about watching this creatively bankrupt flop more than once.
Screen Gems will release “Love Again” in U.S. cinemas on May 5, 2023.
The following is a press release from the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League:
Nominations in 26 competitive categories for the American Theatre Wing’s 76th Annual Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards® were announced by star of Funny Girl Lea Michele and 2022 Tony Award-winner Myles Frost. The nominees were selected by an independent committee of 40 theatre professionals appointed by the Tony Awards Administration Committee. The 2023 Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing. (The list of nominations follows.)
Marking 76 years of excellence on Broadway, The Tony Awards, hosted by Ariana DeBose, will air LIVE on Sunday, June 11, 2023 from the historic United Palace in Washington Heights, in New York City from 8:00-11:00 PM, ET/5:00-8:00 PM, PT on the CBS Television Network, and streaming live and on demand on Paramount+.
CBS and Pluto TV will present The Tony Awards: Act One, a pre-show of live, exclusive content leading into the 76th Annual Tony Awards. The celebration commences at 6:30-8:00 PM, ET/3:30-5:00 PM PT, on Pluto TV, the leading free streaming television service (FAST). Viewers can access the show on their smart TV, streaming device, mobile app or online by going to Pluto TV and clicking on the “Pluto TV Celebrity” channel (no payment, registration or sign-in required).
Legitimate theatrical productions opening in any of the 41 eligible Broadway theatres during the current season may be considered for Tony nominations. The 2022/2023 eligibility season began Thursday, May 5, 2022 and ended Thursday, April 27, 2023. The Tony Awards will be voted in 26 competitive categories by 769 designated Tony voters within the theatre community.
As previously announced, the 2023 Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre will be presented to Lisa Dawn Cave, Victoria Bailey and Robert Fried. The Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award will be presented to Jerry Mitchell.
The 2022-2023 Tony Award Nominating Committee consists of: Warren Adams, Becky Ann Baker, Pun Bandhu, Brenda Braxton, Christopher Burney, Eisa Davis, Carmel Dean, Jerry Dixon, Dionne Figgins, Kamilah Forbes, Scott Frankel, M L Geiger, Jessica Hagedorn, Raja Feather Kelly, John Kilgore, Kathy Landau, Andrea Lauer, Zhailon Levingston, Jose Llana, Priscilla Lopez, John Mauceri, Jess McLeod, James C. Nicola, Antoinette Nwandu, Peter Parnell, Ralph B. Peña, Nancy Piccione, Bill Rauch, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Susan Sampliner, Dick Scanlan, Kimberly Senior, Rachel Sheinkin, Devario Simmons, Natasha Sinha, Michael Stotts, Reginald Van Lee, Michael Benjamin Washington and Ben Wexler.
The Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards are bestowed annually on theatre professionals for distinguished achievement. The Tony is one of the most coveted awards in the entertainment industry and the annual telecast is considered one of the most prestigious programs on television.
The 2023 American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing. At The Broadway League, Lauren Reid is Chair and Charlotte St. Martin is President. At the American Theater Wing, Emilio Sosa is Chair and Heather A. Hitchens is President & CEO.
For the CBS broadcast, Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss/White Cherry Entertainment are Executive Producers. Weiss also serves as Director.
A limited number of tickets for the 2023 Tony Awards are currently on sale at: TonyAwards.com/tickets.
Sponsors for The Tony Awards include: Carnegie Mellon University – the first-ever, exclusive higher education partner; City National Bank – official bank of The Tony Awards; Playbill; Sofitel New York – the official hotel of The Tony Awards; United Airlines – the official airline of The Tony Awards for over 20 years; Zacapa Rum – the official partner of the Tony Awards; Baccarat – the official partner of the Tony Awards; and Ketel One Vodka – the official partner of the Tony Awards.
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Nominations for the 2023 American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards® Presented by The American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League
Best Book of a Musical
David West Read
New York, New York
David Thompson & Sharon Washington
Some Like It Hot
Matthew López & Amber Ruffin
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Music: Tom Kitt Lyrics: Cameron Crowe & Tom Kitt
Music: Jeanine Tesori Lyrics: David Lindsay-Abaire
Music & Lyrics: Helen Park & Max Vernon
Music and Lyrics: Brandy Clark & Shane McAnally
Some Like It Hot
Music: Marc Shaiman Lyrics: Scott Wittman & Marc Shaiman
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog Corey Hawkins, Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog Sean Hayes, Good Night, Oscar Stephen McKinley Henderson, Between Riverside and Crazy Wendell Pierce, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Jessica Chastain, A Doll’s House Jodie Comer, Prima Facie Jessica Hecht, Summer, 1976 Audra McDonald, Ohio State Murders
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Christian Borle, Some Like It Hot J. Harrison Ghee, Some Like It Hot Josh Groban, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Brian d’Arcy James, Into the Woods Ben Platt, Parade Colton Ryan, New York, New York
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Annaleigh Ashford, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Sara Bareilles, Into the Woods Victoria Clark, Kimberly Akimbo Lorna Courtney, & Juliet Micaela Diamond, Parade
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Jordan E. Cooper, Ain’t No Mo’ Samuel L. Jackson, August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson Arian Moayed, A Doll’s House Brandon Uranowitz, Leopoldstadt David Zayas, Cost of Living
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Nikki Crawford, Fat Ham Crystal Lucas-Perry, Ain’t No Mo’ Miriam Silverman, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window Katy Sullivan, Cost of Living Kara Young, Cost of Living
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Kevin Cahoon, Shucked Justin Cooley, Kimberly Akimbo Kevin Del Aguila, Some Like It Hot Jordan Donica, Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot Alex Newell, Shucked
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Julia Lester, Into the Woods Ruthie Ann Miles, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Bonnie Milligan, Kimberly Akimbo NaTasha Yvette Williams, Some Like It Hot Betsy Wolfe, & Juliet
Best Scenic Design of a Play
Miriam Buether, Prima Facie Tim Hatley & Andrzej Goulding, Life of Pi Rachel Hauck, Good Night, Oscar Richard Hudson, Leopoldstadt Dane Laffrey & Lucy Mackinnon, A Christmas Carol
Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Beowulf Boritt, New York, New York Mimi Lien, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Michael Yeargan & 59 Productions, Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot Scott Pask, Shucked Scott Pask, Some Like It Hot
Best Costume Design of a Play
Tim Hatley, Nick Barnes & Finn Caldwell, Life of Pi Dominique Fawn Hill, Fat Ham Brigitte Reiffenstuel, Leopoldstadt Emilio Sosa, Ain’t No Mo’ Emilio Sosa, Good Night, Oscar
Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Some Like It Hot Susan Hilferty, Parade Jennifer Moeller, Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot Clint Ramos & Sophia Choi, KPOP Paloma Young, & Juliet Donna Zakowska, New York, New York
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Neil Austin, Leopoldstadt Natasha Chivers, Prima Facie Jon Clark, A Doll’s House Bradley King, Fat Ham Tim Lutkin, Life of Pi Jen Schriever, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman Ben Stanton, A Christmas Carol
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Ken Billington, New York, New York Lap Chi Chu, Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot Heather Gilbert, Parade Howard Hudson, & Juliet Natasha Katz, Some Like It Hot Natasha Katz, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Best Sound Design of a Play
Jonathan Deans & Taylor Williams, Ain’t No Mo’ Carolyn Downing, Life of Pi Joshua D. Reid, A Christmas Carol Ben & Max Ringham, A Doll’s House Ben & Max Ringham, Prima Facie
Best Sound Design of a Musical
Kai Harada, New York, New York John Shivers, Shucked Scott Lehrer & Alex Neumann, Into the Woods Gareth Owen, & Juliet Nevin Steinberg, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Best Direction of a Play
Saheem Ali, Fat Ham Jo Bonney, Cost of Living Jamie Lloyd, A Doll’s House Patrick Marber, Leopoldstadt Stevie Walker-Webb, Ain’t No Mo’ Max Webster, Life of Pi
Best Direction of a Musical
Michael Arden, Parade Lear deBessonet, Into the Woods Casey Nicholaw, Some Like It Hot Jack O’Brien, Shucked Jessica Stone, Kimberly Akimbo
Steven Hoggett, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Casey Nicholaw, Some Like It Hot Susan Stroman, New York, New York Jennifer Weber, & Juliet Jennifer Weber, KPOP
Bill Sherman and Dominic Fallacaro, & Juliet John Clancy, Kimberly Akimbo Jason Howland, Shucked Charlie Rosen & Bryan Carter, Some Like It Hot Daryl Waters & Sam Davis, New York, New York
Ain’t No Mo’
Author: Jordan E. Cooper Producers: Lee Daniels, BET: Black Entertainment Television, Len Blavatnik, Ron Burkle, Aryeh B. Bourkoff, 59th & Prairie Entertainment, RuPaul Charles, I’ll Have Another Productions, Jeremy O. Harris, Lena Waithe, Tucker Tooley Entertainment, CJ Uzomah, Ann Cox, Gina Purlia, Bob Yari, Marvin Peart, Colleen Camp, Marvet Britto, Jeremy Green, Sue Wagner, John Johnson, Jillian Robbins, The Public Theater, Oskar Eustis, Patrick Willingham, Mandy Hackett
Between Riverside and Crazy
Author: Stephen Adly Guirgis Producers: Second Stage Theater, Carole Rothman, Khady Kamara, Atlantic Theater Company
Cost of Living
Author: Martyna Majok Producers: Manhattan Theatre Club, Lynne Meadow, Barry Grove, Williamstown Theatre Festival
Author: James Ijames Producers: No Guarantees, Public Theater Productions, Rashad V. Chambers, National Black Theatre, Tim Levy, Bards on Broadway, Bob Boyett, Ghostbuster Productions, James Ijames, Cynthia Stroum, Audible, Adam Cohen, Blake Devillier, Firemused Productions/JamRock Productions, The Forstalls, Iconic Vizion/Corey Brunish, John Gore Organization, Midnight Theatricals, David Miner, Robin Gorman Newman/PickleStar Theatricals, Marc Platt, Play on Shakespeare, The Wilma Theater, Colman Domingo, Cynthia Erivo, Andy Jones, Dylan Pager, Roundabout Theatre Company, Oskar Eustis, Patrick Willingham, Mandy Hackett, Sade Lythcott, Jonathan McCrory
Author: Tom Stoppard Producers: Sonia Friedman Productions, Roy Furman, Lorne Michaels, Stephanie P. McClelland, Gavin Kalin, Delman Sloan, Eilene Davidson, Brad Edgerton, Patrick Gracey, Hunter Arnold, Burnt Umber Productions, Cue to Cue Productions, The Factor Gavin Partnership, Harris Rubin Productions, Robert Nederlander, Jr., No Guarantees, Sandy Robertson, Iris Smith, Jamie deRoy/Catherine Adler, Dodge Hall Productions/Waverly Productions, Richardo Hornos/Robert Tichio, Heni Koenigsberg/Wendy Federman, Thomas S. Perakos/Stephanie Kramer, Brian Spector/Judith Seinfeld, Richard Winkler/Alan Shorr
Producers: Max Martin & Tim Headington, Theresa Steele Page, Jenny Petersson, Martin Dodd, Eva Price, Lukasz Gottwald, 42nd.club, Independent Presenters Network, Jack Lane, Library Company, Shellback, Shivhans Pictures, Sing Out, Louise!, Kim Szarzynski, Taylor/Riegler, Tenenbaum/Keyes, Barry Weiss, John Gore Organization
Producers: David Stone, Atlantic Theater Company, James L. Nederlander, LaChanze, John Gore, Patrick Catullo, Aaron Glick
New York, New York
Producers: Sonia Friedman Productions, Tom Kirdahy, Wendy Federman & Heni Koenigsberg, Crossroads Live, Playing Field, Stephanie P. McClelland, Ambassador Theatre Group, Waiting in the Wings Productions, Colin Callender, Gilbert and DeeDee Garcia/Sue Vaccaro, Peter May, Rileyfan, Silverhopkins+/Hunter Johnson, Jay Alix & Una Jackman, Eric Passmore, Thomas Swayne, Elliott Cornelious/SunnySpot Productions, Santino DeAngelo/Cynthia Tong, Craig Balsam, Richard Batchelder, Concord Theatricals, Creative Partners Productions, Marguerite Hoffman, Jessica R. Jenen, John Gore Organization, MGM on Stage, James L. Nederlander, Linda B. Rubin, Seriff Productions, Shivhans Pictures, 42nd.club/Beards on Broadway, AGL Productions/Brad Blume, Hunter Arnold/Red Mountain Theatre, Cue to Cue Productions/Roy Putrino, Jamie deRoy/Janet and Marvin Rosen, Edgewood/Silva Theatrical Group, Dale Franzen/Henry R. Muñoz, III, Deborah Green/Chris Mattsson, Branden Grimmett/DMQR Productions, Christen James/Gregory Carroll, NETworks Presentations/Lamar Richardson, Ron Simons/Adam Zell, Chartoff-Winkler
Producers: Mike Bosner, Jason Owen, AEG Presents/Jay Marciano/Gary Gersh, Jeffrey A. Sine, Richard Smith, Silvia Schmid, Bob Boyett, Jeremiah J. Harris, James L. Nederlander, EST/Emily Tisch, Sony Music Entertaiment, DudaAllen, David W. Busch, Karen Fairchild, HoriPro Inc., Gordon-Helfner, John Gore Organization, Madison Wells Live, S&Co., Terry Schnuck, Jimi Westbrook, ZKM Media
Some Like It Hot
Producers: The Shubert Organization, Neil Meron, MGM on Stage, Roy Furman, Robert Greenblatt, James L. Nederlander, Kenny Leon, Hunter Arnold, John Gore Organization, The Dalgleish Library Company Group, Sheboygan Conservatory Partners, Ambassador Theatre Group Productions, Bob Boyett, Cue to Cue Productions, Janet and Marvin Rosen, The Araca Group, Concord Theatricals, Marc Howard, Independent Presenters Network, Juanita Jordan, Jujamcyn Theaters, Henry R. Muñoz, III, Ostar, Mariah Carey, D.S. Moynihan
Best Revival of a Play
August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson
Producers: Brian Anthony Moreland, Sonia Friedman, Tom Kirdahy, Kandi Burruss & Todd Tucker, Hunter Arnold, Playing Field, The Factor Gavin Partnership, FBK Productions/42nd.club, Jay Alix & Una Jackman, Creative Partners Productions, Harris Rubin Productions, Marguerite Steed Hoffman, Alia Jones-Harvey, Mark Gordon Pictures, Stephanie McClelland, Moore Delman, James L. Nederlander, Seriff Productions, The Shubert Organization, Salman Al-Rashid/Jamie deRoy, Brad Blume/Cliff Hopkins, Jean Doumanian /Fakston Productions, Edgewood/DMQR Productions, Jay & Cindy Gutterman/Caiola Productions, Van Kaplan/Lu-Shawn Thompson, Erik A. King/Finewomen Productions, Marc David Levine/William Frisbie, Syrinda Paige/Kevin Ryan & Diane Scott Carter, Silva Theatrical Group/Tilted, Thomas Swayne/Cynthia J. Tong, Constanza Romero-Wilson
A Doll’s House
New Version by: Amy Herzog Producers: Ambassador Theatre Group Productions, Gavin Kalin Productions, Wessex Grove, Julie Boardman, Kate Cannova, Bob Boyett, Hunter Arnold, Creative Partners Productions, Eilene Davidson Productions, GGRS, Kater Gordon, Louise L. Gund, Los Angeles Media Fund, Stephanie P. McClelland, Tilted, Jessica Chastain, Caitlin Clements/Francesca Moody Productions, Caiola Productions/Amanda Lee, Ted & Richard Liebowitz/Joeyen-Waldorf Squeri, Richard & Cecilia Attias/Thomas S. Barnes, OHenry Theatre Nerd Productions/Runyonland MMP, The Jamie Lloyd Company
The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window
Producers: Seaview, Sue Wagner, John Johnson, Phil Kenny, Audible, Sony Music Masterworks, Jillian Robbins, Jeremy O. Harris, Larry Hirschhorn and Ricardo Hornos, Shields Smedes Stern Ltd., Kevin Ryan, The Shubert Organization, Willette and Manny Klausner, Marco Santarelli, Be Forward Productions, Concord Theatricals, Creative Partners Productions, Invisible Wall Productions, Salman and Moudhy Al-Rashid, TodayTix Group, Ido Gal, HarrisDonnelly, Sally Cade Holmes, Stella LaRue, LAMF Protozoa, Kati Meister and John Sorkin, Meredith Lynsey Schade, Catherine Schreiber, Dennis Trunfio, MCM Studios, 42nd.club, BAMM Productions, CarterMackTaylorWilliam, HB2M Productions, HK-Undivided Productions, MAJIKK Theatricals, Tanker Kollev Productions, Douglas Denoff, OHenry Productions, Plate Spinner Productions, Runyonland Productions, Mad Gene Media, Scrap Paper Pictures, Joi Gresham, BAM, Gina Duncan, David Binder, Elizabeth Moreau
Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog
Producers: David Stone, LaChanze, Rashad V. Chambers, Marc Platt, Debra Martin Chase, The Shubert Organization
Best Revival of a Musical
Into the Woods
Producers: Jujamcyn Theaters, Jordan Roth, New York City Center, Daryl Roth, Hunter Arnold, Concord Theatricals, Nicole Eisenberg, Jessica R. Jenen, Michael Cassel Group, Kevin Ryan, ShowTown Productions, Armstrong, Gold & Ross, Nicole Kastrinos
Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot
Producers: Lincoln Center Theater, André Bishop, Adam Siegel, Naomi Grabel
Producers: Seaview, Ambassador Theatre Group Productions, Alex Levy, Kevin Ryan, Eric & Marsi Gardiner, Interscope & Immersive Records, Erica Lynn Schwartz, Creative Partners Productions, Marcia Goldberg, John Gore Organization, Cynthia Stroum, Tom Tuft, Benjamin Simpson, Nathan Vernon, Brian & Nick Ginsberg, Ruth & Stephen Hendel, Roth-Manella Productions, Chutzpah Productions, 42nd.club, Ahava 72 Productions, The Andryc Brothers, The Array, At Rise Creative, Caiola Jenen Productions, Coles Achilles, deRoy Brunish Productions, Fakston Productions, Federman Batchelder, Level Forward, Pencil Factory Productions, Renard Lynch, Robin Merrie, Rubin Stuckelman, Runyonland Sussman, Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson, Bee Carrozzini, New York City Center
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Producers: Jeffrey Seller, Bob Boyett, Diana DiMenna & Plate Spinner Productions/Aaron Glick, Eastern Standard Time, Roy Furman, Thomas Kail, Jim Kierstead/Benjamin Leon IV, TourDForce Theatrical, Maggie Brohn, Andy Jones
Tony Nominations by Production
Some Like It Hot – 13
& Juliet – 9
New York, New York – 9
Shucked – 9
Kimberly Akimbo – 8
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – 8
The 54th annual Costume Institute Gala, also known as the Met Gala, took place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on May 1, 2023. The event’s theme in 2023 was “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty,” so guests were encouraged to dress in fashion inspired by fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, who died in 2019, at the age fo 85. The Met Gala is an annual fundraising gala for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. This year, the Met Gala was co-chaired by actress/screenwriter Michaela Coel, actress Penélope Cruz, tennis star Roger Federer, singer Dua Lipa and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. Here are photo and video highlights from the event.
The following is a press release from the Tribeca Festival:
The 2023 Tribeca Festival, presented by OKX, today announced its lineup of feature narrative, documentary, and animated films. This year’s Festival, which takes place June 7-18, showcases the best emerging talent from across the globe alongside established household names.
The 2023 features program includes 109 feature films from 127 filmmakers across 36 countries. The lineup includes 93 world premieres, one international premiere, eight North American premieres, one U.S. premiere, and six New York premieres. There are 43 first-time directors and 29 directors returning to Tribeca with their latest projects. 41% (45) of all feature films are directed by women and, for the first time, more than half of competition feature films are directed by women at 68% (19). Additionally, 36% (39) of feature films are directed by BIPOC filmmakers, including two indigenous filmmakers.
This year’s Festival also includes a notable number of films directed by actors: world premiere of First Time Female Director by Chelsea Peretti; world premiere of Maggie Moore(s) by John Slattery; world premiere of Bucky F*cking Dent by David Duchovny; world premiere of Downtown Owl by Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater; world premiere of Eric LaRue by Michael Shannon; world premiere of Fresh Kills by Jennifer Esposito; North American premiere of The Listener by Steve Buscemi; New York premiere of Shortcomings by Randall Park; and more.
There are 53 documentary features across all categories including the world premiere of Marvel’s first original documentary Stan Lee by Tribeca alumnus David Gelb as well as world premieres from Academy Award winners and nominees including Julie Cohen, Waad al-Kateab, Morgan Neville, Sam Pollard, Rob Epstein, and Jeffrey Friedman. As an activist festival rooted in the foundational belief that art can inspire change, the 2023 Tribeca Festival showcases numerous documentary features that shine a light on the ongoing war in Ukraine as well as the silencing of artists in Iran.
For the third year, the Tribeca Festival continues its commemoration of Juneteenth through the “Expressions of Black Freedom” program, sponsored by Indeed, which includes a festival-wide celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, the world premiere of All Up in the Biz, a documentary about New York hip-hop legend Biz Markie, and the world premiere of Cinnamon, directed by Bryian Keith Montgomery Jr. and starring Damon Wayans and Pam Grier.
“The Tribeca Festival is a celebratory event that honors artists and uplifts attendees, and this year is no exception with a lineup of 109 feature films from 127 filmmakers. Over the course of 12 thrilling days, we invite audiences to explore the magic of storytelling as a powerful tool of democracy, activism, and social awareness,” says Tribeca Festival Co-Founder and Tribeca Enterprises CEO Jane Rosenthal. “We’re also proud to highlight the 50th anniversary of hip-hop as a culture-defining genre that originated right here in New York City, with insightful world premieres about beat-boxing legends and live performances from today’s top-charting musicians.”
The 2023 “Spotlight+” category includes a series of live events that bring the film experience to life following each premiere. A performance from She Is The Music artists, curated by Alicia Keys, will follow the world premiere of Uncharted; Sara Bareilles will give a special performance following the world premiere of Waitress, the Musical – Live on Broadway!; the one and only Gloria Gaynor will perform following the world premiere of Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive; a conversation with Peabody Award-winning news anchor Dan Rather and director Frank Marshall will follow the world premiere of Rather; Gogol Bordello will perform following the world premiere of Scream of My Blood: A Gogol Bordello Story; a songwriting masterclass by Indigo Girls will follow the New York premiere of It’s Only Life After All; a musical Q&A with Marc Rebillet will follow the world premiere of Songs About Fucking; and a group of dancehall legends will perform following the world premiere of Bad Like Brooklyn Dancehall.
“This year’s slate of films is a joyful celebration of everything we love about the big screen experience,” says Tribeca Festival Director and VP of Programming Cara Cusuamno. “We are bringing to New York eye-popping 3D films and rousing music docs, white-knuckle thrillers and knee-slapping comedies, independent edge and old Hollywood glamour. And as potent as the work is on-screen, we are equally excited to ‘plus up’ the moviegoing experience off-screen with an incredible lineup of live experiences in ‘Spotlight+’.”
The Tribeca Festival is expanding its “Midnight” offering with the introduction of “Escape from Tribeca,” a psychotronic sidebar presenting genre movies from across the globe, including the world premiere of India’s big-budgeted visual feast Adipurush, directed by Om Raut and starring Prabhas and Kriti Sanon. Festival-goers are also invited to a 50th anniversary screening of the global phenomenon Enter the Dragon followed by a talk with co-star Angela Mao and producer Andre Morgan about superstar performer and choreographer Bruce Lee and the production of the film.
The Tribeca Festival is also proud to announce that the second annual Human/Nature Award, a prize established to amplify a film that best exemplifies solution-oriented environmental storytelling, goes to Common Ground, directed by Rebecca and Josh Tickell, and will world premiere at the Festival.
Once again, movie fans can enjoy selections from the Tribeca Festival from the comfort of their homes immediately following the Festival, from June 19 through July 2, via the “Tribeca at Home” online platform: Tribecafilm.com.
The 2023 shorts lineup includes 76 total selections – 62 shorts in competition, eight music videos, and six special screening shorts – from 91 filmmakers across 25 countries. The lineup includes 48 world premieres, three international premieres, two North American premieres, one U.S. premiere, and 22 New York premieres. Six directors return to Tribeca with their latest projects.
With a record-breaking 8,096 total submissions, the lineup’s four categories – narrative shorts, documentary shorts, animated shorts, and music videos – are curated across thematic programs highlighting love, family relationships, LGBTQ+ stories, “Expressions of Black Freedom,” Latin America, resilience, and more.
Premieres include Last Call, which is about a desperate mother needing to reconnect with her son, directed by Harry Holland and starring brother Tom Holland; Shadow Brother Sunday, Alden Ehrenreich‘s directorial debut as he plays a down-on-his-luck musician returning home on the day of his younger brother’s movie premiere to steal his computer and sell it to the paparazzi; For people in trouble, a relationship drama set against the backdrop of impending societal collapse, directed and written by Alex Lawther and starring Emma D’Arcy; the documentary short To My Father, an intimate glimpse into Troy Kotsur‘s relationship with his father and how his tragic accident shaped his life and career, directed by Sean Schiavolin; My Eyes Are Up Here, a romantic comedy starring Jillian Mercado as an international fashion model whose mission to get the morning after pill is complicated by her disability and clumsy but considerate partner, directed by Nathan Morris; and more.
Additionally, the world premiere of Misty Copeland‘s Flower will screen as a special event at Spring Studios. Flower is a poignant take on community, belonging, and intergenerational equity, directed by Lauren Finerman, in which Copeland stars and serves as producer. This film also marks the return to performance for Copeland after a multi-year hiatus. Following the screening, the premiere event will feature live performances by Copeland’s co-star Babatunji Johnson and a group of NYC hip-hop dancers choreographed by the legendary choreographers Rich + Tone Talauega, who also worked on the film, and a Q&A with Copeland and the filmmakers.
“From a staggering record number of 8,096 shorts submissions, we are thrilled to present an incredible range of storytelling in short films and music videos from around the globe,” said Ben Thompson, VP of Shorts Programming at Tribeca Festival. “Thoughtfully curated into 12 distinct programs, my co-programmer VP of Programming Sharon Badal and I hope there is something for everyone. From free-flowing music and dance to crazy late-night comedy, join us for an unforgettable journey through short films.”
Recipients of the Tribeca Festival awards for Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short, and Best Animated Short qualify for consideration in the Academy Awards’ Short Films category, provided the film complies with Academy rules. Since the Tribeca Festival’s founding in 2001, 36 short films that have premiered at the Tribeca Festival have been nominated for an Academy Award and 11 have gone on to win, establishing the Festival as a launching pad for emerging filmmakers. Tribeca also grants a Student Visionary Award to a rising filmmaker with emerging talent and potential.
The Tribeca Festival is curated by Festival Director and VP of Programming Cara Cusumano, Artistic Director Frédéric Boyer; VP of Programming Sharon Badal and VP of Shorts Programming Ben Thompson; Senior Programmers Liza Domnitz, Faridah Gbadamosi, and Jarod Neece; Programmers José F. Rodriguez, Casey Baron, Jason Gutierrez, and Jonathan Penner; VP of Games and Immersive Casey Baltes and Immersive Curator Ana Brzezińska; Curator of Audio Storytelling Davy Gardner; Music Programmer Vincent Cassous; and Chief Content Officer Paula Weinstein, along with a team of associate programmers.
The Tribeca Festival is curated by Festival Director and VP of Programming Cara Cusumano, Artistic Director Frédéric Boyer; VP of Programming Sharon Badal and VP of Shorts Programming Ben Thompson; Senior Programmers Liza Domnitz, Faridah Gbadamosi, and Jarod Neece; Programmers José F. Rodriguez, Casey Baron, Jason Gutierrez, and Jonathan Penner; VP of Games and Immersive Casey Baltes and Immersive Curator Ana Brzezińska; Curator of Audio Storytelling Davy Gardner; Music Programmer Vincent Cassous; and Chief Content Officer Paula Weinstein, along with a team of associate programmers.
ABOUT THE TRIBECA FESTIVAL
The Tribeca Festival, presented by OKX, brings artists and diverse audiences together to celebrate storytelling in all its forms, including film, TV, music, audio storytelling, games, and XR. With strong roots in independent film, Tribeca is synonymous with creative expression and entertainment. Tribeca champions emerging and established voices, discovers award-winning talent, curates innovative experiences, and introduces new ideas through exclusive premieres, exhibitions, conversations, and live performances.
The Festival was founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in 2001 to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan following the attacks on the World Trade Center. The annual Tribeca Festival will celebrate its 22nd year from June 7–18, 2023 in New York City.
In 2019, James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems bought a majority stake in Tribeca Enterprises, bringing together Rosenthal, De Niro, and Murdoch to grow the enterprise.
ABOUT THE 2023 TRIBECA FESTIVAL PARTNERS
The 2023 Tribeca Festival is presented by OKX and with the support of our partners: AT&T, Audible, Black Women on Boards, CHANEL, City National Bank, Diageo, Expensify, Indeed, NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, National CineMedia, ServiceNow, Spring Studios New York, The Wall Street Journal, Tubi, and Variety.
2023 TRIBECA FESTIVAL FEATURE FILM SELECTION
U.S. NARRATIVE COMPETITION
Discover breakout independent voices from around the country as these extraordinary world premieres compete for honors in Tribeca’s U.S. Narrative Competition.
Bad Things, (United States) – World Premiere. A weekend getaway for a few girlfriends at a snowy resort becomes a psychological tailspin and bloody nightmare. Long-deceased guests and the space itself come to life in this haunting thriller. Directed and written by Stewart Thorndike. Produced by Lizzie Shapiro, Lexi Tannenholtz. With Gayle Rankin, Hari Nef, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Rad Pereira, Jared Abrahamson, Molly Ringwald.
Cypher, (United States) – World Premiere. Documenting the astronomical rise of rapper Tierra Whack, director Chris Mourkabel captures the weird and sinister side of fame. This riveting and enigmatic pseudo-documentary will have viewers questioning everything they see. Directed and written by Chris Moukarbel. Produced by Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns, John Hodges, Tierra Whack, Sanjay M. Sharma, Roya Rastegar, Anthony Seyler, Chris Moukarbel.
The Graduates, (United States) – World Premiere. After a tragedy, a group of friends faces an unsettling senior year. Feelings of loss, anger, fear, and aimlessness abound in the community at the center of director Hannah Peterson’s debut feature film. Directed and written by Hannah Peterson. Produced by Josh Peters, Saba Zerehi, Taylor Shung, Jessamine Burgum. With Mina Sundwall, Alex Hibbert, Yasmeen Fletcher, Ewan Manley, John Cho, Maria Dizzia, Kelly O’Sullivan.
Lost Soulz, (United States) – World Premiere. Set to a lo-fi, genre-bending soundtrack, Lost Soulz follows a young rapper as he leaves behind his surrogate family and sets out on an expedition across Texas, contemplating new and old friendships. Directed and written by Katherine Propper. Produced by Andres Figueredo Thomson, Juan Carlos Figueredo Thomson, Katherine Propper. With Sauve Sidle, Syanda Stillwell, Micro TDH, Krystall Poppin, Alexander Brackney, Malachi Mabson.
Mountains, (United States) – World Premiere. Xavier works in demolition and dreams of buying a bigger house for his family, while his adult son, caught between two cultures, struggles to find a place for himself. What results is a loving portrait of the Haitian community in Miami. Directed by Monica Sorelle, written by Monica Sorelle, Robert Colom. Produced by Robert Colom. With Atibon Nazaire, Sheila Anozier, Chris Renois.
The Secret Art of Human Flight, (United States) – World Premiere. While mourning the death of his wife and fending off an ambitious detective who thinks he killed her, Ben encounters a man who claims that he can teach him to fly. Directed by H.P. Mendoza, written by Jesse Orenshein. Produced by Grant Rosenmeyer, Tina Carbone, Benjamin Wiessner. With Grant Rosenmeyer, Paul Raci, Lucy DeVito, Nican Robinson, Reina Hardesty, Maggie Grace, Sendhil Ramamurthy.
Smoking Tigers, (United States) – World Premiere. Set in early-2000s SoCal, Smoking Tigers follows a Korean American girl as she navigates derision and growing tensions while balancing the duality of her low-income family and wealthy, elite high school environment. Directed and written by Shelly Yo. Produced by Guo Guo. With Ji Young Yoo, Jung Joon Ho, Abin Shim, Erin Yoo.
Somewhere Quiet, (United States) – World Premiere. In the ominous and tense Somewhere Quiet, a woman readjusts to normalcy after surviving a traumatic kidnapping — but her grounded sense of reality soon starts to deteriorate when she travels with her husband to his wealthy family’s isolated compound. Directed and written by Olivia West Lloyd. Produced by Taylor Ava Shung, Emma Hannaway, Eamon Downey. With Jennifer Kim, Kentucker Audley, Marin Ireland.
INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE COMPETITION
The New-York based Festival breaks its geographical boundaries with the International Narrative Competition, welcoming filmmakers from abroad to join a global platform for contemporary world cinema.
Boca Chica, (Dominican Republic) – World Premiere. A lively coming-of-age drama, Boca Chica follows twelve-year-old Desi in her pursuit of becoming a famous singer. As Desi braces to leave her hometown, she’s met with deep-seated secrets that have long tormented her family and their coastal Dominican community. Directed by Gabriella A. Moses, written by Marité Ugás, Mariana Rondón. Produced by Sterlyn Ramirez. With Scarlet Camilo, Jean Cruz, Lia Chapman, Xiomara Rodriguez.
Dead Girls Dancing, (Germany, France) – World Premiere. On a road trip across Italy, four recent high school graduates stumble upon an abandoned village. Away from the expectations of parents and teachers, they experiment with the limits of their newfound freedom. Directed and written by Anna Roller. Produced by Katharina Kolleczek, Lea Neu, Laure Parleani, Bérénice Vincent. With Luna Jordan, Noemi Liv Nicolaisen, Katharina Stark, Sara Giannelli.
The Future, (Israel) – World Premiere. Nurit, a criminal profiler, is recruited by Israel’s secret service to interrogate a young Palestinian woman who assassinated a government minister. Over the course of their meetings, Nurit realizes some uncomfortable truths. Directed and written by Noam Kaplan. Produced by Yoav Roeh, Aurit Zamir. With Reymonde Amsellem, Samar Qupty, Dar Zuzovsky, Aviva Ger, Salwa Nakkara.
Je’vida, (Finland) – World Premiere. When embittered Sámi elder Je’vida returns to her childhood home to ready it for sale, she is flooded with the memories of a life shaped by deep systemic racism and the unyielding love of her grandfather, leading to a life-changing epiphany. Directed by Katja Gauriloff, written by Katja Gauriloff, Niillas Holmberg. Produced by Joonas Berghäll, Satu Majava, Anna Nuru. With Agafia Niemenmaa, Heidi Juliana Gauriloff, Sanna-Kaisa Palo, Seidi Haarla, Erkki Gauriloff, Matleena Fofonoff.
Marinette, (France) – International Premiere. Marinette tells the story of pioneering French female soccer star Marinette Pichon. Filmmaker Virginie Verrier’s biopic traces the athlete’s battle to earn her homeland’s respect after achieving success in the United States. Directed and written by Virginie Verrier. Produced by Virginie Verrier. With Garance Mariller, Emilie Dequenne, Alban Lenoir, Fred Testot, Sylvie Testud.
Richelieu, (Canada, France, Guatemala) – World Premiere. After a bad breakup, Ariane moves home and gets a job as an interpreter for seasonal migrant workers. Witnessing workplace abuses, Ariane must decide how far she is willing to go to speak out against injustice. Directed and written by Pier-Philippe Chevigny. Produced by Geneviève Gosselin-G., Miléna Poylo, Gilles Sacuto, Alice Bloch. With Ariane Castellanos, Marc-André Grondin, Nelson Coronado, Marvin Coroy, Maria Mercedes Coroy.
Silver Haze, (Netherlands, UK) – North American Premiere. 23-year-old Franky has spent most of her life seeking justice for the fire that left her with both physical and emotional scars as a child. When Franky falls in love with Florence, it seems her wounds have begun to heal, but the past finds a way of coming back to her. Directed and written by Sacha Polak. Produced by Marleen Slot, Mike Elliott. With Vicky Knight, Esmé Creed-Miles, Charlotte Knight, Archie Brigden, Angela Bruce.
A Strange Path, (Brazil) – World Premiere. A young filmmaker returns to his hometown and attempts to reconnect with his father as the pandemic rapidly accelerates across Brazil. However, their relationship proves to be more complicated with increasingly bizarre phenomena occurring as they get closer. Directed and written by Guto Parente. Produced by Ticiana Augusto Lima. With Lucas Limeira, Carlos Francisco, Tarzia Firmino, Rita Cabaço.
Experience the cinema of reality with these remarkable non-fiction premieres sure to make waves in the coming year.
Between the Rains, (Kenya) – World Premiere. Between the Rains is a coming-of-age documentary following a young member of a formerly nomadic northern Kenyan tribe as it deals with the environmental and psychological effects of climate change. The result is a film woven around the concepts of tradition, culture, and home. Directed by Andrew H. Brown, Moses Thuranira. Produced by Moses Thuranira, Samuel Ekomol, Andrew H. Brown.
Breaking the News, (United States) – World Premiere. Breaking the News follows the determined efforts of women and nonbinary journalists launching a news “startup” to foreground voices omitted from mainstream news. Filmmakers Hernandez, Courtney, and Hairston provide a deep look into bias and inclusion in the ever-shifting media landscape. Directed by Chelsea Hernandez, Heather Courtney, Princess A. Hairston. Produced by Diane Quon, Heather Courtney, Princess A. Hairston, Chelsea Hernandez.
The Gullspång Miracle, (Sweden, Norway, Denmark) – World Premiere. In Maria Fredriksson’s stranger-than-fiction documentary, two pious sisters buy an apartment after having witnessed a divine sign — only to realize that the seller of the apartment looks identical to their other sister, who committed suicide some thirty years before. Directed by Maria Fredriksson. Produced by Ina Holmqvist.
The Lionheart, (United States) – World Premiere. The on-track death of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon shook motorsports to its core. Ten years later, Wheldon’s sons Sebastian and Oliver follow in their father’s footsteps, working through their grief behind the wheel at 200 MPH. Directed by Laura Brownson. Produced by Chapman Way, Maclain Way, Laura Brownson.
Maestra, (United States, France, Poland, Greece) – World Premiere. Filmmaker Maggie Contreras follows women from different backgrounds as they compete in the first all-women competition for conducting. Maestra explores gender expectations with poise and warmth. Directed by Maggie Contreras. Produced by Neil Berkeley, Maggie Contreras, Melanie Miller, Lauren Lexton, Emma West.
Q, (Lebanon, United States) – World Premiere. In her exceptional debut feature, filmmaker Jude Chehab potently explores her mother Hiba’s devotion to an all-female, secretive religious order in Syria. With visually striking and haunting imagery, Chehab scrutinizes how this devotion upended their mother-daughter relationship and the dynamic of the whole family. Directed, written and produced by Jude Chehab.
Richland, (United States) – World Premiere. Richland is a sobering,meditative portrait of a nuclear company town that embraces its origins and divisive past, all while reflecting on its future. Filmmaker Irene Lusztig’s patient and inquisitive storytelling expertly navigates themes of security, violence, and community. Directed by Irene Lusztig. Produced by Irene Lusztig, Sara Archambault.
Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed, (United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand) – World Premiere. This timely exploration of Hollywood and LGBTQ+ identity examines the life of legendary actor Rock Hudson, from his public “ladies’ man” persona to his private life as a gay man. Directed by Stephen Kijak. Produced by Will Clarke, George Chignell, Carolyne Jurriaans, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter. An HBO Documentary Films release.
Rule of Two Walls, (Ukraine) – World Premiere. Rule of Two Walls explores the war in Ukraine through the lens of artists living and creating in the midst of unprecedented conflict. Visceral, poetic, and urgent, it illuminates the vital role of cultural and spiritual defiance in times of crisis. Directed by David Gutnik. Produced by Olha Beskhmelnytsina, Sam Bisbee, Stacey Reiss.
Stylebender, (New Zealand) – World Premiere. Israel Adesanya is an out-of-this-world fighter who is as complex as he is powerful. Stylebender follows the Nigerian-born, New Zealand-based MMA Champion as he grows his legend. Directed by Zoe McIntosh. Produced by Tom Blackwell.
Take Care of Maya, (United States) – World Premiere. When Jack and Beata Kowalski are wrongfully accused of child abuse after their 10-year-old daughter Maya visits the ER, a nightmare unfolds. Directed by Henry Roosevelt. Produced by Caitlin Keating. A Netflix release.
Transition, (United States) – World Premiere. Transition follows Australian filmmaker Jordan Bryon as he undergoes transition while embedded with Taliban forces. Directed by Jordan Bryon, Monica Villamizar. Produced by Monica Villamizar.
A launching pad for the most buzzworthy new films, Tribeca’s Spotlight section brings audiences anticipated premieres from acclaimed filmmakers and star performers.
The Adults, (United States) – North American Premiere. A short trip back home reunites three siblings with a complicated past. The Adults explores the family dynamics that unfold when one of the siblings tries to assert his dominance as the best poker player in town. Directed and written by Dustin Guy Defa. Produced by Allison Rose Carter, Jon Read, Michael Cera, Julia Thompson, Hannah Dweck, Theodore Schaefer. With Michael Cera, Hannah Gross, Sophia Lillis.
Afire, (Germany) – New York Premiere. Leon and Felix travel to a summer home near the Baltic Sea hoping to dive into creative pursuits, but an unexpected guest disrupts their plans. As the sky turns orange from a nearby forest fire, it’s clear that trees aren’t the only thing burning. Directed and written by Christian Petzold. Produced by Florian Koerner von Gustorf, Michael Weber, Anton Kaiser. With Thomas Schubert, Paula Beer, Langston Uibel. A Sideshow and Janus Films Release.
The Blackening, (United States) – US Premiere. Based on the viral digital skit, The Blackening tells the story of old friends who reunite in a cabin in the woods (where have we heard that before?). The fun weekend quickly becomes a fight to survive, and the only way to make it out is to figure out which friend is the Blackest of them all. Directed by Tim Story, written by Tracy Oliver, Dewayne Perkins. Produced by Tim Story, Tracy Oliver, E. Brian Dobbins, Marcei A. Brown, Jason Clark, Sharla Sumpter Bridgett. With Grace Byers, Jermaine Fowler, Melvin Gregg, X Mayo, Dewayne Perkins, Antoinette Robertson, Sinqua Walls, Jay Pharoah, Yvonne Orji. A Lionsgate release.
Blood for Dust, (United States) – World Premiere. Jeff loses his traveling salesman job and decides to take on a risky new opportunity with Ricky, an old acquaintance. Soon, he is submerged into a dangerous underworld in this edge-of-your-seat action thriller. Directed by Rod Blackhurst, written by David Ebeltoft. Produced by Noah Lang, Mark Fasano, Nathan Klingher, Bobby Campbell, Arun Kumar, Ari Novak. With Scoot McNairy, Kit Harington, Josh Lucas, Stephen Dorff, Ethan Suplee, Nora Zehetner, Amber Rose Mason.
Bucky F*cking Dent, (United States) – World Premiere. Aspiring novelist and Yankee Stadium peanut slinger, Ted, discovers his estranged, Red Sox fanatic father is terminally ill. Wanting to mend fences and take care of the old man, Ted returns home with results as wild and unpredictable as the 1978 baseball season. Directed and written by David Duchovny. Produced by Jordan Yale Levine, Jordan Beckerman, Tiffany Kuzon, David Duchovny. With David Duchovny, Logan Marshall-Green, Stephanie Beatriz.
Cinnamon, (United States) – World Premiere. Two young lovers risk it all to chase their dreams. With great performances, including a menacing Pam Grier, Cinnamon deftly brings the Blaxploitation genre to the modern day. Directed and written by Bryian Keith Montgomery Jr. Produced by Oz Scott. With Damon Wayans, Hailey Kilgore, David Iacono, Jeremie Harris, Pam Grier. A Tubi release.
Cold Copy, (United States) – World Premiere. The kinetic drama Cold Copy follows an ambitious journalism student’s tactics to impress, and get into the good graces of, an esteemed yet cutthroat news reporter — even if it involves manipulating her latest story … and truth itself. Directed and written by Roxine Helberg. Produced by Justin Lothrop, Brent Stiefel, Daniel Bekerman, Roxine Helberg. With Bel Powley, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jacob Tremblay, Nesta Cooper.
Downtown Owl, (United States) – World Premiere. Based on the novel by Chuck Klosterman, Downtown Owl is a stylish and energetic adaptation that thrusts viewers into small-town Owl, North Dakota, as a motley crew of characters brace for a historic blizzard. Directed by Lily Rabe, Hamish Linklater, written by Hamish Linklater. Produced by Bettina Barrow, Lily Rabe, Hamish Linklater, Rebecca Green. With Lily Rabe, Ed Harris, Vanessa Hudgens, August Blanco Rosenstein, Jack Dylan Grazer, Arianna Jaffier, Finn Wittrock, Henry Golding.
Eric LaRue, (United States) – World Premiere. In the aftermath of a shocking crime at the hands of their son, two parents seek solace in rival religious congregations in Michael Shannon’s emotional directorial debut. Directed by Michael Shannon, written by Brett Neveu. Produced by Sarah Green, Karl Hartman, Jina Panebianco. With Judy Greer, Alexander Skarsgård, Alison Pill, Paul Sparks, Tracy Letts.
First Time Female Director, (United States) – World Premiere. Chelsea Peretti makes her directorial debut with this hilarious ensemble comedy set in a Glendale theater where a new female director struggles to fill the shoes of her male predecessor, putting her Southern rural drama in jeopardy. Directed and written by Chelsea Peretti. Produced by Deanna Barillari, Chelsea Peretti, Amy Poehler, Kate Arend, Jordan Grief. With Chelsea Peretti, Amy Poehler, Kate Berlant, Benito Skinner, Megan Stalter, Megan Mullally.
Fresh Kills, (United States) – World Premiere. After their patriarch goes to prison, the loyal women of the Larusso family must survive by following the unspoken code of the New York City mafia world in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Directed and written by Jennifer Esposito. Produced by Leslie Owen, Jennifer Esposito, Samantha Sprecher, Christine Crokos. With Emily Baden, Odessa A’zion, Jennifer Esposito, Dominick Lombardozzi, Annabella Sciorra, Nicholas Cirillo.
The Good Half, (United States) – World Premiere. An emotionally distant writer returns home for his mother’s funeral in this tender family dramedy. The Good Half offers an honest and nuanced approach to grief, regret, and healing. Directed by Robert Schwartzman, written by Brett Ryland. Produced by Russell Wayne Groves. With Nick Jonas, Brittany Snow, Matt Walsh, David Arquette, Alexandra Shipp, Elisabeth Shue.
He Went That Way, (United States) – World Premiere. A fateful meeting in 1964 along Route 66 pairs a 19-year-old serial killer with a celebrity animal handler shepherding an American TV darling — his chimpanzee, Spanky. Directed by Jeffrey Darling, written by Evan M. Wiener. Produced by Marc Benardout, Hugh Broder, James Harris, Jeremy Kotin, Mark Lane. With Jacob Elordi, Zachary Quinto.
I.S.S., (United States) – World Premiere. Tensions flare in the near future aboard the International Space Station as nuclear war begins on Earth. Reeling from these events, astronauts and cosmonauts receive similar orders: take control of the station at any cost. Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, written by Nick Shafir. Produced by Pete Shilaimon, Mickey Liddell. With Chris Messina, Ariana DeBose, Pilou Asbæk, John Gallagher Jr., Costa Ronin, Maria Mashkova.
John Early: Now More Than Ever, (United States) – World Premiere. A comedy special by way of The Last Waltz, New York’s alt-comedy godfather John Early performs his silly, surreal, spontaneous stand-up set in front of a live audience, a full band … and his parents. Directed by Emily Allan, Leah Hennessey. Produced by John Early, Dave Kneebone, Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, Janel Kranking. An HBO Original Release.
LaRoy, (United States, France) – World Premiere. After discovering his wife’s affair, Ray Jepsen plans to kill himself, but fate intervenes. Through a bizarre turn of events, he is mistaken for a low-rent hired killer and decides to become one. Directed and written by Shane Atkinson. Produced by Caddy Vanasirikul, Sébastien Aubert, Jérémie Guiraud. With John Magaro, Steve Zahn, Dylan Baker, Megan Stevenson, Matthew Del Negro, Brad Leland.
The Lesson, (UK) – World Premiere. A young novelist eager to make a name for himself begins tutoring the son of one of the most influential writers in the world. Good intentions soon give way to suspicion as darker motivations surface and the lines of master and protégé are blurred. Directed by Alice Troughton, written by Alex MacKeith. Produced by Camille Gatin, Cassandra Sigsgaard, Judy Tossell, Fabien Westerhoff. With Richard E. Grant, Julie Delpy, Daryl McCormack, Stephen McMillan, Crispin Letts. A Bleecker Street release.
The Line, (United States) – World Premiere. Coming-of-age feature The Line explores the moral ambiguity of loyalty to tradition, as seen through a college sophomore in the throes of fraternity culture. Directed by Ethan Berger, written by Ethan Berger, Alex Russek. Produced by Alexandre Dauman, Jack Parker, Adam Paulsen, Lije Sarki. With Alex Wolff, Lewis Pullman, Halle Bailey, Austin Abrams, Angus Cloud, Scoot McNairy, John Malkovich.
The Listener, (United States) – North American Premiere. An understated drama about a night in the life of a mental health helpline volunteer, The Listener is a stirring testament to the power of empathy. Directed by Steve Buscemi, written by Alessandra Camon. Produced by Wren Arthur, Steve Buscemi, Oren Moverman, Lauren Hantz, Tessa Thompson. With Tessa Thompson.
Maggie Moore(s), (United States) – World Premiere. A small-town sheriff is baffled when two women with the same name get murdered days apart. Things quickly ratchet up in this comedy that reunites leading Mad Men alumni. Directed by John Slattery, written by Paul Bernbaum. Produced by John Slattery, Vincent Newman, Dan Reardon, Santosh Govindaraju, Nancy Leopardi, Ross Kohn. With Jon Hamm, Tina Fey, Micah Stock, Nick Mohammed, Happy Anderson, Mary Holland. A Screen Media release.
The Miracle Club, (Ireland, UK) – World Premiere. Three close friends who have never left the outskirts of Dublin (much less Ireland) get the journey of a lifetime – a visit to Lourdes, the picturesque French town and place of miracles. Directed by Thaddeus O’Sullivan, written by Joshua D. Maurer, Timothy Prager, Jimmy Smallhorne. Produced by Joshua D. Maurer, Alixandre Witlin, Chris Curling, Larry Bass, Aaron Farrell, John Gleeson, Osín O’Neill. With Laura Linney, Maggie Smith, Kathy Bates, Agnes O’Casey, Stephen Rea. A Sony Pictures Classics release.
Our Son, (United States) – World Premiere. Fed up with the state of his relationship, Gabriel files for divorce from his partner of thirteen years, Nicky. Thus begins their complex journey to find themselves and support their son along the way. Directed by Bill Oliver, written by Peter Nickowitz, Bill Oliver. Produced by Fernando Loureiro, Eric Binns, Guilherme Coelho, Jennifer 8. Lee, Christopher Lin. With Billy Porter, Luke Evans, Robin Weigert, Andrew Rannells, Isaac Powell, Phylicia Rashad.
The Perfect Find, (United States) – World Premiere. Looking for a fresh start, a forty-year-old returns to the workforce, where she must navigate a challenging workplace, a demanding boss, and a lusty secret romance. directed by Numa Perrier, written by Leigh Davenport. Produced by Glendon Palmer, Gabrielle Union, Jeff Morrone, Codie Elaine Oliver, Tommy Oliver. With Gabrielle Union, Keith Powers, Aisha Hinds, DB Woodside, Janet Hubert, Alani “La La” Anthony, Gina Torres. A Netflix release.
Shortcomings, (United States) – New York Premiere. A biting satire following the romantic journeys of its trio of protagonists, led by an appealingly misanthropic Justin H. Min, Shortcomings is a charming, witty and hilarious directorial debut from Randall Park. Directed by Randall Park, written by Adrian Tomine. Produced by Hieu Ho, Randall Park, Michael Golamco, Margot Hand, Jennifer Berman, Howard Cohen, Eric d’Arbeloff. With Justin H. Min, Sherry Cola, Ally Maki, Debby Ryan, Tavi Gevinson, Sonoya Mizuno, Jacob Batalon, Timothy Simons. A Sony Pictures Classics Release.
Both onscreen and behind the camera, Spotlight Documentary films represent the most noteworthy names in nonfiction premiering high profile new work.
All Up in the Biz, (United States) – World Premiere. In All Up in the Biz, director Sacha Jenkins creates a collage of celebrity interviews, rare film, reenactments, and playful animation to share how Biz Markie left his mark on the history of hip-hop. Directed by Sacha Jenkins. Produced by Andre Wilkins, Djali Brown-Cepeda.
American Son, (United States) – World Premiere. Author Jay Caspian Kang’s astute, incisive directorial debut tells the story of Asian American tennis prodigy Michael Chang, the youngest player to win a men’s Grand Slam tournament. Directed by Jay Caspian Kang. Produced by Laura Dodd, Cora Atkinson. An ESPN Films release.
Anthem, (United States) – World Premiere. What would it sound like to have a national anthem that actually reflects America? Anthem follows composer Kris Bowers and producer DJ Dahi on a road trip across the country to find out.Directed by Peter Nicks. Produced by Peter Nicks, Kris Bowers, Sean Havey, Chris L. Jenkins, Ryan Coogler. An Onyx Collective/Hulu release.
BS High, (United States) – World Premiere. After a nationally televised high school football game between top-ranked IMG Academy and unknown Bishop Sycamore ended with an IMG blowout win, it’s discovered that Bishop Sycamore isn’t at all what it seems. Directed by Martin Desmond Roe, Travon Free. Produced by Jack Turner, Spencer Paysinger, Todd Schulman, Constance Schwartz-Morini, Adam McKay, Michael Strahan, Jay Peterson, Todd Lubin. An HBO Sports Documentaries release.
Comedy of War: Laughter in Ukraine, (United States) – World Premiere. Four Ukrainian stand-up comics tour their homeland, bringing laughter and joy as a form of resistance and recovery amid wartime. This heartfelt documentary beautifully portrays the enduring human spirit and comedy’s healing power. Directed by Christopher Walters. Produced by Krista Liney.
Common Ground, (United States) – World Premiere. Sobering yet hopeful, Common Ground exposes the interconnectedness of American farming policy, politics, and illness. Follow the solution-driven plight of Regenerative Farmers as they make a case for soil health across the continent and beyond. Directed by Rebecca Tickell, Josh Tickell. Produced by Rebecca Tickell, Josh Tickell, Eric Dillon. Recipient of the 2023 Human/Nature Award.
Every Body, (United States) – World Premiere. Three intersex people challenge a heteronormative system of secrecy and non-consensual surgery. Every Body is Oscar-nominated documentarian Julie Cohen’s impassioned battle cry for the rights and dignity of intersex children and adults in the United States. Directed by Julie Cohen. Produced by Tommy Nguyen, Molly O’Brien. A Focus Features release.
Happy Clothes: A Film About Patricia Field, (United States) – World Premiere. With idiosyncratic style and an eye toward the future of fashion, Patricia Field has always been shaping culture. Happy Clothes: A Film About Patricia Field brings us into the mind of the one-of-a-kind visionary and queer icon. Directed by Michael Selditch. Produced by Donald Zuckerman, Samuel J. Paul, Michael Selditch, Lydia Tenaglia, Christopher Collins, Luisa Law, Tricia Weber Youssi, Ryan Price, Lori Zuckerman.
Invisible Beauty, (United States) – New York Premiere. This documentary about the life of model and activist Bethann Hardison is both a fascinating life story and an irrefutable argument for the importance of diversity and inclusion. Directed by Bethann Hardison, Frédéric Tcheng. Produced by Lisa Cortés.
It’s Basic, (United States) – World Premiere. A compelling look at Universal Basic Income pilot programs in U.S. cities, It’s Basic follows those spearheading the movement to combat inequality and poverty. Directed by Marc Levin. Produced by Michael Tubbs, Daphne Pinkerson, Auri Akerele, Elizabeth Sehring.
The League, (United States) – World Premiere. Baseball isn’t the game we know and love without the contribution of Black Americans. Director Sam Pollard explores the incredible history of the Negro Leagues, its impact on the sport of baseball, and the players that still resonate through history to this day. Directed by Sam Pollard. Produced by Dave Sirulnick, Jen Isaacson, Robin Espinola, Byron Motley, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Tariq Trotter. A Magnolia Pictures release.
Milli Vanilli, (United States) – World Premiere. Filmmaker Luke Korem looks back on the origins and eventual fallout of a one-hit-wonder. Milli Vanilli scrutinizes the dreams of singers Rob & Fab, who fell prey to greedy tactics, causing their downfall. Directed by Luke Korem. Produced by Luke Korem, Bradley Jackson.
Minted, (United States, Canada, Cuba, Netherlands, India, Nigeria) – World Premiere. Director Nicholas Bruckman brings a fascinating look at the intersection of art, commerce, and digital ownership through the rise and crash of the NFT market. Directed by Nicholas Bruckman. Produced by Shawn Hazelett, Rahilla Zafar.
Open Heart, (United States) – World Premiere. Open Heart is an intimate profile of New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist’s struggles to return to hockey after heart surgery. Directed by Jonathan Hock. Produced by Philip Aromando, Erin Leyden, Larry Robbins.
Poisoned: The Danger in Our Food, (United States) – World Premiere. Foodborne pathogens kill thousands of people in the U.S. every year. The urgent documentary Poisoned: The Danger in Our Food is a call to action for the officials who have the power to mitigate this danger. Directed by Stephanie Soechtig. Produced by Ross Girard, Ross Dinerstein, Rebecca Evans. A Netflix release.
Rise – the Siya Kolisi Story, (South Africa) – World Premiere. Chronicling the legendary story of the first Black captain of the South Africa National Rugby Union Team, Rise – the Siya Kolisi Story shows a rebellious young star as he becomes a leader, and ultimately a cultural icon. Directed by Tebogo Malope. Produced by Jon Day.
Ron Delsener Presents, (United States) – World Premiere. Ron Delsener was the most influential concert promoter in New York. In addition to looking back at his career, this documentary shows that the now 86-year-old Delsener still has a spring in his step. Directed by Jake Sumner. Produced by Jake Sumner, James A. Smith, Margaret Loeb.
The Saint of Second Chances, (United States) – World Premiere. The Saint of Second Chances explores the legendary Major League Baseball promoter and owner, Bill Veeck. From “Disco Demolition” to fireworks in the outfield, Veeck’s stunts are credited with forever making watching baseball more fun. Directed by Morgan Neville, Jeff Malmberg. Produced by Danny Breen, Morgan Neville, Jon Berg. A Netflix release.
The Space Race, (United States) – World Premiere. Highlighting the experiences of the first Black astronauts through decades of archival footage and interviews, The Space Race is a reflective illumination on the burden of breaking barriers. Directed by Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, Lisa Cortés. Produced by Keero Birla.
Stan Lee, (United States) – World Premiere. Tracing his life from his upbringing in New York as Stanley Lieber to the rise of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee tells the story of Stan Lee’s life, career, and legacy using his own words and personal archival material. Directed by David Gelb. Produced by David Gelb, Jason Sterman and Brian McGinn. A Disney+ release.
Sunday Best, (United States) – World Premiere. An affectionate documentary about the career of pioneering television host Ed Sullivan, Sunday Best pays particular attention to Sullivan’s platforming of Black musicians during the civil rights era. Directed by Sacha Jenkins. Produced by Rafael Marmor, Margo Precht Speciale, Christopher Leggett, Peter Bittenbender, Mark Monroe.
Taylor Mac’s 24-Decade History of Popular Music, (United States) – World Premiere. This riotous concert film documents New York theater legend Taylor Mac’s joyous, challenging, and ostentatiously queer 24-hour musical performance. Featuring virtuoso musicians, innovative costumes, and the American myth as told by sailor’s ditties, disco, and sugary pop alike, Mac’s cathartic celebration is not to be missed. Directed by Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman. Produced by Joel Stillerman, Linda Brumbach, Alisa Regas, Taylor Mac, Mari Rivera. An HBO Documentary Films Release.
This Is Not Financial Advice, (United States) – World Premiere. Retail investors, including “Dogecoin Millionaire” Glauber Contessoto, navigate the burgeoning, lucrative, and volatile world of cryptocurrency. Directed by Chris Temple, Zach Ingrasci. Produced by Jenna Kelly, Carrie Weprin, Martine Phelan-Roberts.
Untitled Nicky Nodjoumi, (United States) – World Premiere. In this hybrid political thriller and verité portrait documentary, Sara Nodjoumi, working with co-director and husband, Till Schauder, makes her directorial debut with this personal film, diving into the mystery surrounding the disappearance of more than 100 “treasonous” paintings by her father, seminal Iranian modern artist Nickzad Nodjoumi. Directed by Sara Nodjoumi, Till Schauder. Produced by Sara Nodjoumi, Till Schauder. An HBO Documentary release.
We Dare to Dream, (UK) – World Premiere. An inspirational, intimate story of resilience and freedom, We Dare To Dream follows athletes on their journey to become part of the refugee Olympic team in Tokyo 2020. Directed by Waad al-Kateab. Produced by Joanna Natasegara.
Your Fat Friend, (United States, UK) – World Premiere. Popular anonymous blogger Aubrey Gordon spent five years writing about the realities of living as a self-described “very fat person.” Now, she is about to face the public for the very first time. Directed and produced by Jeanie Finlay.
Tribeca’s unique Spotlight+ events bring the film experience off the screen with live events, performances, and conversations after each screening.
Bad Like Brooklyn Dancehall, (United States, Jamaica) – World Premiere. New York City is the Fifteenth Parish in this documentary about the city’s role in the evolution of Dancehall, with legends like Shaggy and Sean Paul on hand to help tell the story. Directed by Ben DiGiacomo, Dutty Vanier. Produced by Amy DiGiacomo, Jay Will, Ben DiGiacomo, Ramfis Myrthil, AJ Leon.
After the Movie: Performance by Dancehall legends.
Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive, (United States) – World Premiere. After 40 years, the singer of “I Will Survive” makes her comeback with a new gospel album. This poignant documentary chronicles Gloria Gaynor’s struggles with ageism and financial ruin on the journey to have her voice heard once more. directed by Betsy Schechter. Produced by Betsy Schechter.
After the Movie: A performance by the one and only Gloria Gaynor.
It’s Only Life After All, (United States) – New York Premiere. A revealing exploration of the beloved duo The Indigo Girls — from their serendipitous meeting at Emory University to their worldwide acclaim — It’s Only Life After All beautifully demonstrates how the musical pair has always remained authentic to their roots as artists, activists, and friends. Directed by Alexandria Bombach. Produced by Kathlyn Horan, Jess Devaney, Anya Rous, Alexandria Bombach.
After the Movie: Songwriting Masterclass by Indigo Girls.
Rather, (United States) – World Premiere. Rather is a long overdue tribute to an icon of journalism, a late-in-life Twitter superstar, father, husband, and voice of reason, compassion and brilliance—Dan Rather. Directed by Frank Marshall. Produced by Frank Marshall, Jenifer Westphal, Joe Plummer, Jeff Hasler, Ethan Goldman, Aly Parker.
After the Movie: A conversation with Peabody Award-winning news anchor Dan Rather and director Frank Marshall.
Scream of My Blood: A Gogol Bordello Story, (United States) – World Premiere. Following the Russian invasion of his native Ukraine, Eugene Hütz recalls the influence Ukrainian and Roma culture had on him in this globe-spanning history of his punk band Gogol Bordello. Directed by Nate Pommer. Produced by Shawn Killebre.
After the Movie: A performance by Gogol Bordello.
Songs About Fucking, (United States) – World Premiere. Songs About Fucking introduces the artist, showman, and robe-clad raconteur Marc Rebillet as he embarks on one of the first live music tours after COVID-19 lockdown. Directed by James Gallagher. Produced by Lizzie Shapiro, Andrew Swett, Gus Deardoff.
After the Movie: A musical Q&A with Marc Rebillet.
Uncharted, (United States) – World Premiere. Filmmaker Beth Aala goes behind the scenes of Alicia Keys’ “She Is The Music” songwriting camp in this revealing look at the music business. Through the experiences of young Black and Brown women, we are shown how hard it is to succeed in a world granting very little access and opportunity for them. Directed and produced by Beth Aala. Executive Produced by Abby Greensfelder.
After the Movie: A performance from She Is The Music artists, curated by Alicia Keys.
Waitress, the Musical – Live on Broadway!, (United States) – World Premiere. The hit Broadway musical about a small-town pie baker with big dreams gets the silver screen treatment. Directed by Brett Sullivan, music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles, book by Jessie Nelson. Produced by Michael Roiff, Barry Weissler, Fran Weissler, Sara Bareilles, Jessie Nelson, Paul Morphos. With Sara Bareilles, Charity Angél Dawson, Caitlin Houlahan, Drew Gehling, Dakin Matthews.
After the Movie: A special performance from Sara Bareilles.
Tribeca’s home for distinct points of view and bold directorial visions, Viewpoints discovers the most boundary-pushing, rule-breaking new voices in independent film.
Apolonia, Apolonia, (Denmark, Poland) – North American Premiere. The striking character-driven documentary Apolonia, Apolonia dives into the exhilarating lifestyle of a young French painter. Filmmaker Lea Glob’s intimate exploration of Apolonia Sokol’s creative pursuits and setbacks results in poignant and deeply-felt storytelling. Directed by Lea Glob. Produced by Sidsel Siersted.
Asog, (Philippines, Canada) – World Premiere. This unique narrative incorporating documentary elements follows Rey, a 40-year-old non-binary teacher and typhoon survivor, on a roadtrip to fame. With surreal comedy and social portrait realism, filmmaker Seán Devlin explores climate change, LGBTQ+ issues, and the impact of colonialism on contemporary Philippines. Directed by Seán Devlin, written by Seán Devlin, Jaya, Arnel Pablo. Produced by Amanda Ernst. With Jaya, Arnel Pablo, Ricky Gacho Jr.
Break the Game, (United States) – World Premiere. Record-breaking gamer Narcissa Wright grapples with her toxic obsession for attention and her space in the streaming community after coming out as transgender, all while attempting to set a new world record for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Directed and produced by Jane M. Wagner.
Catching Dust, (UK, Spain) – World Premiere. A young couple living through turmoil at a commune in the heart of Big Bend gets a visit from New York transplants seeking a new lease on life. Tensions boil over and egos come to a head, leaving everyone frayed and on the edge of disaster. Directed and written by Stuart Gatt. Produced by Mark David, Jon Katz, Edward R. Pressman, Stuart Gatt. With Erin Moriarty, Jai Courtney, Dina Shihabi, Ryan Corr.
Chasing Chasing Amy, (United States) – World Premiere. A filmmaker goes on a journey of self-discovery while making a documentary on the development and creation of Kevin Smith’s controversial LGBTQ+ film, Chasing Amy. Directed by Sav Rodgers. Produced by Alex Schmider, Carrie Radigan, Lela Meadow-Conner, Matthew Mills, Sav Rodgers.
Deep Sea, (China, Netherlands) – North American Premiere. The visually-remarkable coming-of-age animated film Deep Sea thrusts a young girl down to a dreamlike aquatic world where she encounters bizarre creatures and fights to reconnect with her mother. Employing sumptuous watercolor and 3D animation, Tian’s film is a feast for the eyes and heart. Directed and written by Xiaopeng Tian. Produced by Qiao Yi. With Wang Tingwen, Su Xin, Teng Kuixing, Yang Ting, Ji Jing, Fang Taochen.
Hey Viktor!, (Canada) – World Premiere. Twenty-five long years after his time in the limelight, former child actor Cody Lightning tries to revive his fortunes with a self-produced sequel to Smoke Signals in this smart, irreverent new comedy. Directed by Cody Lightning, written by Cody Lightning, Samuel Miller. Produced by Samuel Miller, Blackhorse Lowe, Joshua Jackson, Kyle Thomas, Sara Corry, Blake McWilliam. With Cody Lightning, Hannah Cheesman, Simon Baker, Adam Beach, Gary Farmer, Irene Bedard, Colin Mochrie.
Kim’s Video, (United States) – New York Premiere. For decades, Kim’s Video was a gold mine of extraordinary films until its collection vanished into Italy amid a mysterious sale. Now, take a deep dive into the unbelievable true story of the New York video store and cultural landmark beloved by cinephiles. Directed by David Redmon, Ashley Sabin. Produced by Francesco Galavotti, David Redmon, Ashley Sabin, Dale Smith, Deborah Smith, Rebecca Tabasky.
The Last Night of Amore, (Italy) – North American Premiere. Lieutenant Franco Amore is about to retire after 35 years dedicated to the Italian State Police, until a tempting offer arrives on his last day on the job. Writer-director Andrea Di Stefano delivers a contemporary mafia tale involving greed, corruption, and, of course, family affairs. Directed and written by Andrea Di Stefano. Produced by Francesco Melzi d’Eril, Gabriele Moratti, Marco Colombo, Marco Cohen, Benedetto Habib, Fabrizio Donvito, Daniel Campos Pavoncelli. With Pierfrancesco Favino, Linda Caridi.
Melody of Love, (Ethiopia, Belgium, Argentina, Germany) – World Premiere. Ethiopian jazz guitarist Michael is called upon by his mother to leave Addis Ababa and join her in Brussels, stoking his deep resentment toward European entitlement in this rich, evocative meditation on the internalized weight of colonialism. Directed and written by Edmundo Bejarano. Produced by Carlos Vargas. With Elijah Akalu.
Öte, (Turkey) – World Premiere. Öte follows Lela, a Black woman from New York City traveling alone through Turkey. In no rush to reach her destination, Lela is happily sidetracked by the chance encounters her journey provides. Directed and written by Edmundo Bejarano. Produced by Carlos Vargas. With Iman Artwell-Freeman, Eren Acili, Gülsüm Ölgen, Ziya Sundançikmaz.
Playland, (United States) – North American Premiere. Haunting, whimsical, and exquisitely realized, Playland pays tribute to a long-lost Boston gay bar and the beautiful queer souls who gave it life. Directed and written by Georden West. Produced by Russell Sheaffer, Hannah McSwiggen, Danielle Cooper.
Surprising, shocking, frightening, and thrilling, Tribeca Midnight is the destination for the best in horror and more for late night audiences.
One Night with Adela, (Spain) – World Premiere. After her night shift ends, Adela goes on a drug-fueled, violent rampage of furious revenge on those who ruined her in this remarkably paced, audacious debut. Directed and written by Hugo Ruiz. Produced by Roberto Valentín Carrera, Pedro Azón Ramón y Cajal, Israel Luengo Arana, Hugo Ruiz, Fausto Arias Figuerola-Ferretti, Tote Trenas. With Laura Galán, Gemma Nierga, Jimmy Barnatán, Rosalía Omil, Raudel Raul, Fernando Moraleda.
Perpetrator, (United States, France) – North American Premiere. Teenager Jonny gains supernatural abilities through a mystical transformation, just as girls from her new school go missing. Jonny takes the investigation into her own hands in this coming-of-age, feminist horror-noir. Directed and written by Jennifer Reeder. Produced by Derek Bishé, Gregory Chambet. With Kiah McKirnan, Alicia Silverstone, Christopher Lowell, Melanie Liburd, Ireon Roach. A Shudder release.
The Seeding, (United States) – World Premiere. When a hiker gets lost in the desert, a gang of feral children propelled by haunting legacies traps him in a sadistic battle for survival with a frightening endgame. Directed and written by Barnaby Clay. Produced by Brian R. Etting. With Scott Haze, Kate Lyn Sheil.
You’ll Never Find Me, (Australia) – World Premiere. During a rampaging storm, a shaken young woman arrives at a stranger’s door in an RV park seeking shelter. They both question motives and desires as things escalate to a deadly, bizarre showdown. Directed by Josiah Allen, Indianna Bell, written by Indianna Bell. Produced by Josiah Allen, Indianna Bell, Jordan Cowan, Christine Williams. With Jordan Cowan, Brendan Rock.
ESCAPE FROM TRIBECA
Our Psychotronic Sidebar presenting genre movies from around the globe, giveaways, and special events sure to please even the rowdiest movie lovers.
Adipurush, (India) – World Premiere. Reimagining the epic Indian poem “Ramayana,” the big-budgeted visual feast Adipurush tells the tale of a prince on a mission to rescue his wife from a ten-headed demon overlord. Directed by Om Raut, written by Om Raut, Manoj Muntashir Shukla. Produced by Bhushan Kumar, Krishna Kumar, Om Raut, Prasad Sutar, Rajesh Nair. With Prabhas, Saif Ali Khan, Kriti Sanon, Sunny Singh.
Enter the Clones of Bruce, (United States) – World Premiere. Get ready to play a game of death … and another … and another. The wild documentary Enter the Clones of Bruce dives into the Bruce Lee exploitation craze, otherwise known as Bruceploitation. Directed by David Gregory. Produced by David Gregory, Carl Daft, Frank Djeng, Vivian Wong, Michael Worth. A Severin Films release.
Enter the Dragon, (Hong Kong, United States). One of the most influential crowd pleasers of all time, Enter the Dragon became a global phenomenon along with its beloved star, the legendary Bruce Lee. Join us for this 50th Anniversary screening and celebrate the legacy of this superstar performer and choreographer. Exciting, hilarious and jaw dropping. Directed by Robert Clouse, written by Michael Allin. Produced by Paul Heller, Andre Morgan, Fred Weintraub.
After the Movie: Co-star Angela Mao and Producer Andre Morgan will speak about Bruce Lee and the production of the film, and the Andersons Martial Arts Academy will lead a performance and an audience participation ceremony in honor of his passing 50 years ago.
Final Cut, (France) – New York Premiere. In this clever and raucous “requel” of the Japanese cult hit One Cut of the Dead, a French film crew hilariously struggles to pull off an ambitious, livestreamed, single-take filming of the alien zombie apocalypse. Directed and written by Michel Hazanavicius. Produced by Michel Hazanavicius, Alain de la Mata, Noémie Devide, Brahim Chioua, Vincent Maraval, John Penotti. With Bérénice Bejo, Romain Duris. A Kino Lorber release.
Suitable Flesh, (United States) – World Premiere. After murdering her young patient, a once-esteemed psychiatrist helplessly watches her life spiral into a nightmarish maelstrom of supernatural hysteria and gruesome deaths, all linked to a seemingly unstoppable ancient curse. Directed by Joe Lynch, written by Dennis Paoli. Produced by Barbara Crampton, Bob Portal, Joe Wicker, Inderpal Singh. With Heather Graham, Judah Lewis, Bruce Davison, Johnathon Schaech, Barbara Crampton, Jonah Ray.
2023 TRIBECA FESTIVAL SHORT FILM SELECTION
Angelo, (Bolivia) – New York Premiere. Directed and written by Alex Plumb.
Bellybutton, (United States) – New York Premiere. Directed and written by Hilary Eden.
Blackwool, (Scotland) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Eubha Akilada.
Blood, (Australia) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Vathana Suganya Suppiah.
Brenda and Billy (and the Pothos Plant), (United States) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Dave Solomon.
Burrow, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Leaf Lieber.
Cuarto de Hora, (France, Chile) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Nemo Arancibia.
Daddy Issues, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed by Matt Campanella and Stephanie Chloé Hepner. Written by Matt Campanella.
Dead Cat, (Canada) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Annie-Claude Caron and Danick Audet.
Ecstasy, (Mexico, United States) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Carolina Costa.
Everybody Dies…Sometimes, (United Kingdom) – International Premiere. Directed and written by Charlotte Hamblin.
Fairytales, (Mexico) – World Premiere. Directed by Daniela Soria. Written by Daniela Soria and Mar Flores.
Feliz Navidad, (Italy) – International Premiere. Directed and written by Greta Scarano.
Ferns, (Chile) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Paz Ramírez.
Fish Out of Water, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed by Francesca Scorsese. Written by Francesca Scorsese, Megan LuLu Taylor, Savannah Braswell.
Flower, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed by Lauren Finerman.
For people in trouble, (United Kingdom) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Alex Lawther.
A Fox In The Night, (United Kingdom) – New York Premiere. Directed and written by Keeran Anwar Blessie.
Hafekasi, (Australia) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Annelise Hickey.
HEARTBEAT, (Switzerland) – North American Premiere. Directed by Michèle Flury. Written by Michèle Flury and Martha Benedict.
Il Fait Beau, (Netherlands) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Leonardo Cariglino.
In Passing, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Hillia Aho.
Konpa, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Al’Ikens Plancher.
The K-Town Killer, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Healin Kweon and Vahan Bedelian.
Last Call, (United Kingdom) – World Premiere. Directed by Harry Holland.
Let Liv, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed by Erica Rose. Written by Olivia Levine.
Mars, (United Kingdom) – North American Premiere. Directed by Abel Rubinstein. Written by Chris Bush.
My Eyes Are Up Here, (United Kingdom) – New York Premiere. Directed by Nathan Morris. Written by Arthur Meek.
Nuit Blonde, (Canada) – United States Premiere. Directed and written by Gabrielle Demers.
Proof of Concept, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Ellie Sachs.
Rustling, (New Zealand) – New York Premiere. Directed and written by Tom Furniss.
Schettinimous, (Argentina) – International Premiere. Directed by Tomás Terzano. Written by Tomás Terzano and Macarena Rubio.
Sealed Off, (China, Macau, United States) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Tianyu Jiang.
Shadow Brother Sunday, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Alden Ehrenreich.
Somewhere In Between, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Kyle Vorbach.
The Sperm Bank, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed by Margaux Susi. Written by Rob Scerbo and Jeremy Culhane.
Spinning, (Mexico) – New York Premiere. Directed by Isabel Vaca and Arturo Mendicuti. Written by Mara Vaca
Thaw, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Alex Bush
They Grow Up So Fast, (United States) – New York Premiere. Directed and written by John F. Beach.
Tits, (Norway) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Eivind Landsvik.
Upsidedown, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed and written by Razan Ghalayini.
Voice Activated, (Australia) – New York Premiere. Directed by Steve Anthopoulos.
Ayenda, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed by Marie Margolius.
Black Girls Play: The Story of Hand Games, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed by Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson.
Cam’s Mementos, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed by Cam Archer.
Cruzan Cowboys, (United States, US Virgin Islands) – World Premiere. Directed by Douglas Wesley Segars.
Deciding Vote, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed by Jeremy Workman and Robert Lyons.
Dragon Boys, (United Kingdom, Ghana) – World Premiere. Directed by Tom Ringsby.
Goodbye, Morganza, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed by Devon Blackwell.
In the Shadow of Palms, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed by Mischa Meyer.
Letter to Rosie, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed by Ariel Danziger.
Merman, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed by Sterling Hampton IV.
Miss Brown, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed by Christina Burchard.
Over The Wall, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed by Krystal Tingle.
The Right to Joy, (United States) – New York Premiere. Directed by Tim Kressin.
Savi the Cat, (United States) – New York Premiere. Directed by Bryan Tucker and Netsanet Tjirongo.
Then Comes the Body, (Nigeria, United States) – World Premiere. Directed by Jacob Krupnick.
To My Father, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed by Sean Schiavolin.
What Next?, (France) – World Premiere. Directed by Cécile Rogue.
The Winterkeeper, (United Kingdom) – World Premiere. Directed by Laurence Topham and David Levene.
American Sikh, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed by Ryan Westra and Vishavjit Singh. Written by Ryan Westra.
Corvine, (Canada) – New York Premiere. Directed and written by Sean McCarron.
A Cow in the Sky, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed by C. Fraser Press and Darren Press. Written by C. Fraser Press.
The Night Doctrine, (United States, Afghanistan) – World Premiere. Directed by Mauricio Rodriguez Pons and Almuneda Toral.
Regular Rabbit, (Ireland) – New York Premiere. Directed and written by Eoin Duffy.
Restless Is the Night, (United States) – New York Premiere. Directed by Yuehan Tan and Xiaoxue Meng.
Starling, (United States) – World Premiere. Directed by and written by Mitra Shahidi.
Witchfairy, (Belgium, Bulgaria) – New York Premiere. Directed by David Van de Weyer. Written by Brigitte Minne.
Anoana, (Norway) – New York Premiere. Directed by Line Klungseth Johansen. Written by Line Klungseth Johansen and Øystein Moe.
Bugs, (United States) – New York Premiere. Performed by The Vindys. Directed by Peter-John Campbell.
I Guess I’m Changing, (United Kingdom) – New York Premiere. Performed by Someone. Directed by David Spearing. Written by Tessa Rose Jackson.
The Light, (United States) – New York Premiere. Performed by Lunarcode. Directed and written by Vincenzo Carubia.
Special, (United States) – New York Premiere. Performed by Lizzo. Directed by Christian Breslauer.
To The Desert, (Israel) – New York Premiere. Performed by Dana Ivgy. Directed by Asaf Yecheskel. Written by Dana Ivgy.
Wait in the Truck, (United States) – New York Premiere. Performed by Hardy. Directed by Justin Clough. Written by Michael Hardy and Justin Clough.
Wild Child, (United States) – New York Premiere. Performed by The Black Keys. Directed by Bryan Schlam.
Culture Representation: Taking place in New York City, the dramatic film “What We Do Next” features a racially diverse cast of characters (African American, white and Latin) representing the working-class and middle-class.
Culture Clash: An ambitious politician and a corporate lawyer face ethical dilemmas stemming from their connection to a murder committed by a recently released prisoner.
Culture Audience: “What We Do Next” will appeal mainly to people who are interested in suspenseful and above-average dramas that realisitically address uncomfortable issues related to crime and identity politics.
“What We Do Next” is a superbly acted and well-written drama that tackles issues of race, gender and social class in American politics and the U.S. criminal justice system. Michelle Veintimilla, Karen Pittman and Corey Stoll give compelling performances. The movie takes a hard-hitting look at all these issues from three different perspectives, without making the narrative too cluttered or messy. And with a total running time of 77 minutes, “What We Do Next” is just the right length to tell this gripping story.
If the movie looks like a cinematic version of a play, that’s because writer/director Stephen Belber originally intended “What We Do Next” to be a play, according to what Belber says in the “What We Do Next” production notes. There is a small number of locations in the dialogue-driven movie, while the cast has a small number of people. The three main characters get nearly all of the screen time. All the other cast members in the movie are extras.
“What We Do Next” (which takes place in New York City, but the movie was actually filmed in Louisville, Kentucky) begins with a scene of a concerned community organizer named Sandy James (played by Pittman) having a difficult conversation with a frightened and distraught Elsa Mercado (played by Veintimilla), who is 16 years old at the time. It’s a conversation that becomes the catalyst for the turmoil that happens in the three main characters’ lives.
Sandy asks teenage Elsa, “How does it make you feel?” Elsa replies, “Like I fucking hate him.” Sandy then asks Elsa, “Does he hurt your brother?” Elsa heistantly nods and then says, “But not what he does to me.” Sandy offers to contact child protective services for Elsa, but Elsa doesn’t want that to happen.
“They’re just going to split me and my brother up,” Elsa says of child protective services. Sandy tells Elsa, “You do what you need to do to survive. You need to be strong.” The details of what happened after this conversation unfold in layers throughout the movie.
“What We Do Next” fast-forward several years later. The movie doesn’t say exactly how many years, but based on conversations, it’s about 15 or 16 years after this conversation between Sandy and Elsa has happened. Sandy is now a highly respected city councilwoman for New York City’s 10th district. She’s a progressive Democrat who is currently running for the position of speaker of the city council. Her campaign is going well, and she is expected to win.
However, Sandy’s campaign could have a scandal that she doesn’t want people to know about, so she has called a private meeting in her office with corporate atttoney Paul Fleming (played by Stoll), one of only a few people who know about this secret. Elsa is the other person who knows the secret, and she’s recently been released from prison for murdering her father with a gun. Elsa claimed that she killed her father because he was sexually abusing her and physically abusing her younger brother. Elsa received a 16-year prison sentence but has been let out of prison early due to good behavior.
Paul and Sandy haven’t seen or spoken to each other in years. They share a connection with Elsa that is revealed in this conversation: Years ago, when Sandy found out that Elsa’s father was sexually abusing Elsa, Sandy asked Paul for $500 in cash, because she wanted to give Elsa the money. Sandy thought the money was going toward a down payment for Elsa and Elsa’s disabled mother to find a new place to live. Instead, Elsa took the money to buy the gun that Elsa used to kill her father.
During the trial, it was never made clear where Elsa got the money for the gun. However, Sandy is worried this information might come out and would result in Sandy being indirectly tied to the murder. Sandy is concerned because a reporter named Jim Feingold from Slate plans to do an article revisiting this high-profile murder case, not what Elsa has been released from prison. The reporter (who is never seen in the movie) has already contacted Sandy for an interview, but she’s declined to talk to the media about her connection to Elsa. Sandy is convinced that the reporter is trying to dig up dirt on her to ruin her campaign.
Sandy tells Paul: “I’m the council’s leading advocate on gun cntrol, and I unwillingly faciiltated a murder.” Paul knows that Sandy had no idea that Elsa was going to use the $500 to buy a gun. And he thinks that Sandy shouldn’t have her political career ruined over a misunderstanding that could be blown out of proportion. He volunteers to tell any media person who asks that he was the one who gave Elsa the cash, without knowing that she was going use the money to buy a gun.
Paul says to Sandy: “I’d like to help you on your misson, which is helping people, including Elsa, who’s done her [prison] time, and doesn’t deserve to get caught up in some bullshit scandal aimed at your integrity. You’re on the right side of every issue.” He adds this comment about this seemingly noble gesture to take responsibility for what Sandy did: “It’ll help me look good too.”
And just how do Sandy and Paul know each other? They had a fling years ago, around the time that Sandy knew Elsa. Paul was married at the time (he’s now divorced, with a 9-year-old son named Theo), and Sandy was apparently one of several women he was sexually involved with when he was married. Paul won’t reveal to Sandy the details over why he got divorced, but he tells Sandy that he was mostly to blame for the marriage’s failure, which is basically saying that his infidelity was one of the main reasons for the divorce.
Observant viewers will also notice a part of the conversation where Sandy mentions she was a “side piece” for a woman who was also sexually involved with Paul. Sandy doesn’t label her sexuality, but she tells Paul that she’s currently in a live-in relationship with guy named Dan, and she doesn’t divulge much more information about this relationship. Paul mentions that he lives alone in New Rochelle, and his ex-wife has full custody of their son Theo. Although Sandy and Paul compliment each other during their conversation, neither is interested in rekindling anything sexual between them.
And what is going on Elsa, now that she’s been released from prison? A pivotal scene in the movie shows Sandy and Paul meeting with a now-adult Elsa (also played by Veintimilla) in an unoccupied warehouse, not far from Sandy’s office. Sandy and Paul chose this location because it’s a secret meeting. Sandy and Paul tell Elsa that if anyone asks her who gave her the money for the gun, Elsa needs to say that it was Paul, not Sandy. At first, Elsa refuses this request. Elsa says she’s trying to turn her life around for the better and doesn’t want to get caught up in lies and a conspiracy that could send her back to prison.
But when street-smart Elsa sees that Sandy is somewhat desperate to cover up the truth, Elsa wants to know what’s in it for her if she does this favor for Sandy. After some shrewd questioning, Elsa finds out what Sandy’s salary is. And instead of taking the low-paying job that Sandy had initially offered to find for Elsa, this ex-con demands that Sandy find her a job that pays at least $75,000 a year. Elsa says she needs this job security because her prison record will make it hard for her to find a good job, and she has family members that she needs to take care of financially.
The rest of “What We Do Next” shows the tension-filled, high-wire act between these three people as their lives become further intertwined and their careers change. It’s enough to say that Elsa doesn’t stay out of trouble for long. She gets into a drunken bar fight with a man because she said that he sexually assaulted her by fondling her breasts without her consent. Elsa punched the man while wearing rings on her hand, and he fell down so hard, he bit off part of the tip of his tongue. (The movie does not show this fight, which is told only told from Elsa’s perspective.)
Elsa was arrested, the man she got in the fight with is pressing charges against her, and Elsa is terrified of going back to prison. And who did Elsa call to get bailed out of jail? None other than Paul. Elsa then goes to Sandy to ask Sandy for an even bigger favor, which leads to the story’s main conflict that becomes a maelstrom of how race, gender and social class play roles in how people are treated and what people are willing to do to overcome negative stereotypes.
“What We Do Next” is a fascinating character study of three “politically liberal” people and how they use prejudice against underprivileged people as both a self-serving stepping stone and as a weapon of guilt. The movie doesn’t pass judgment on any of its characters or the circumstances in which they find themselves. However, if “What We Do Next” had a subtitle for how the characters deal with certain problems, it could be that old saying: “The road to hell is sometimes paved with good intentions.”
Paul has family issues related to domestic abuse that he later reveals in the movie. Whether he wants to admit it or not, Paul likes to play the role of the “white male savior,” even when his own life is far from perfect. Sandy is an ambitious politician who is adamant about maintaining her integrity, because she knows she is under more scrutiny simply because she is an African American woman in a line of work that is dominated by white men. Elsa, who is Puerto Rican, comes from a low-income broken home, and her dysfunctional background might or might not have shaped her volatile personality. Elsa is highly manipulative, and it soon becomes obvious that she has untreated mental health issues.
“What We Do Next” has very authentic dialogue and scenarios that elevate the quality of this movie, which has no-frills direction from Belber. Without the outstanding performances of Veintimilla, Pittman and Stoll, “What We Do Next” would not have the emotional credibility that makes this film worthwhile to watch. Veintimilla has the movie’s most complex performance, since Elsa is a character who can inspire compassion and contempt, often in the same scene.
“What We Do Next” is a movie that doesn’t need a large budget, artsy visuals or elaborate locations to make an impact. The movie has some very powerfully charged scenes that just need the cast members and dialogue to keep viewers riveted to see what will happen. Most of all, “What We Do Next” will make viewers think about how privilege (or lack of privilege) can affect acts of kindness, which sometimes come at a heavy price.
Small Batch Studio Entertainment released “What We Do Next” in select U.S. cinemas on March 3, 2023.
Culture Representation: Taking place in New York City, the dramatic film “Inside” features a nearly all-white cast of characters (with one Latino) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.
Culture Clash: A burglar breaks into a wealthy man’s penthouse to steal valuable art, and he is trapped inside by a malfunctioning security system.
Culture Audience: “Inside” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of star Willem Dafoe and people who don’t mind watching slow-paced psychological dramas with good acting.
“Inside” would’ve been better as a short film. However, Willem Dafoe gives an acting performance worth watching for people who don’t have short attention spans. Don’t expect much action in this drama. This movie is a psychological portrait of confinement.
Directed by Vasilis Katsoupis and written by Ben Hopkins, “Inside” takes place entirely in an upscale New York City penthouse. (The movie was actually filmed on a soundstage in Cologne, Germany.) “Inside” had its world premiere at the 2023 Berlin International Film Festival. Dafoe is the only person with an on-camera speaking role in the movie. If you know that information in advance, then you’ll either be interested or not interested in watching “Inside.”
The beginning of “Inside” has a voiceover monologue from art thief Nemo, the character played by Dafoe. In the monologue, Nemo says: “When I was a kid, a teacher asked what are the three things I would save from my house if it were on fire.” I answered, ‘A sketchbook, my AC/DC album and my cat Groucho.'”
He continues, “I didn’t say. ‘My parents or sister.’ Most of the other kids did [mention family members]. Does that make me a bad person? My cat died. I lent the AC/DC album to a guy named Kojo, and I never saw it again. But the sketchbook, I kept. Cats die. Music fades. But art is for keeps.”
That’s about all the information that viewers will get about Nemo’s background. He is next show breaking into a New York City penthouse, where the occupants are not home. Nemo is there to steal specific pieces of valuable art, especially a self-portrait painting of the penthouse’s owner, whose name is never mentioned in the movie.
Another portrait painting of the owner hangs in the living room, with this particular portrait showing the owner (played by Gene Bervoets), who is a middle-aged man with white hair, and his daughter (played by Ava von Voigt), who looks about 12 or 13 years old. There are clues that this owner is a well-known artist, besides his valuable self-portrait. Nemo finds photos in the home of the penthouse owner with high-society people at fancy gala events.
Nemo communicates by walkie talkie with a cohort who’s not in the building but identifies himself as Number 3 (voiced by Andrew Blumenthal), who is directing Nemo on which art pieces are the top priorities to steal. Number 3 says that the owner’s self-portrait painting is the most important art that needs to be taken in this heist, because this painting worth $3 million. Nemo takes some other paintings and a sculpture, but he can’t find the self-portrait painting. This heist has been timed so that Nemo is supposed to steal what he came to steal and leave in a matter of 10 minutes or less.
But something goes horribly wrong for Nemo. The security access code that Number 3 gives him to leave the penthouse undetected doesn’t work. Instead, the security system triggers an alarm, with a computerized voice repeating loudly, “System malfunction.” And then, all of the doors and windows in the penthouse are locked shut from the outside. Nemo is now trapped in the penthouse.
Nemo frantically tells Number 3 what just happened and frantically asks for help. However, Number 3 is in a panic too. He tells Nemo: “I don’t know what to do, man. I’m sorry. You’re on your own. Over and out.”
Nemo has no idea if anyone heard the alarm or not. (The penthouse’s walls are and doors are very thick.) However, Nemo doesn’t want to wait around to find out if police or the building’s security are on their way to catch him during this burglary. He tries to break a window, but the windows are shatter-proof. But even if he were able to break a glass, he’s also at the top of a high-rise building in a penthouse that doesn’t have a fire escape staircase outside any windows.
One of the first things that Nemo does is find the wiring that leads to the alarm system. He cuts it so that there is no more noise. After a while, when it becomes obvious that no one heard the alarm, Nemo relaxes a little and looks inside the refrigerator, which is equipped with artificial intelligence technology that speaks. A somewhat amusing gag in the movie is that the refrigerator also plays Los Del Rio’s 1993 novelty hit “Macarena” at random times when the refrigerator is opened.
The penthouse has enough food and drinks for Nemo. After he drinks everything in the refrigerator, Nemo uses a garden sprinkler (the penthouse has an indoor garden) or tap water for liquid sustenance. But there’s another problem: The heating inside the penthouse has been turned up from the security malfunction. The temperature reaches up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Nemo finds out that the adjustment equipment for the indoor heating system isn’t working. And so, there are several scenes where sweaty Nemo tries to solve that problem.
The penthouse has surveillance video equipment with video monitors that look out into various parts of the building. Nemo can see the doorman station in the front lobby, a back stairwell, and inside one of the building’s elevators. A building housekeeper dressed in a maid’s uniform is shown taking her lunch breaks in the stairwell. Nemo knows her name is Jasmine (played by Eliza Stuyck), and he knows the names of a few other people in the building when he sees them on the surveillance monitors. It’s an indication that Nemo either cased the place very well before the heist, or he might have met these people before in some capacity.
Viewers will have to speculate why this penthouse’s owner was targeted for this theft. However, there are some clues that Nemo is an architect who’s a frustrated artist and who is jealous of this penthouse owner. Nemo has a sketchbook with him that he uses during the time he is trapped. He also seems very knowledgeable about how buildings are structured. And early on in the movie, Nemo looks at a painting of the owner on the wall while Nemo holds a medallion that he’s wearing as a necklace. Nemo sneers at the painting and says, “I’ve got a Pritzker Prize. What the fuck have you done?”
Because “Inside” is all about Nemo being isolated, there isn’t much talking throughout the movie. Nemo occasionally mutters things out loud. And as loneliess starts to set in, he begins to talk out loud to himself more often. Nemo tries to contact Number 3 by walkie talkie multiple times, but he gets no answer. Eventually, the walkie talkie battery goes dead. Nemo also texts an unnamed person to try to help him, but he gets no reply.
“Inside” has a few plot holes, some of which have logical explanations while others do not. The first question that some viewers might ask is: “Isn’t a good alarm system supposed to alert law enforcement?” A possible explanation is that the alarm system malfunctioned (as stated in the beginning of the movie), so the law enforcement alert part of the alarm system didn’t work.
What’s hard to believe is that Nemo stays trapped in the penthouse for “months,” without anyone going to the penthouse and finding him there, according to the production notes for “Inside.” It’s very unlikely that someone with the penthouse owner’s wealth would not have anyone checking in on the penthouse for that long period of time, even if it’s just to water the plants. A better and more believable narrative for the film would have been to have Nemo trapped for a week or two at the most.
That would still be enough time to have what happens in the movie: The reality starts to sink in with Nemo that no one really cares about him. And it really messes with his mind. He is trapped in a luxury penthouse with material things worth a lot of money, but the irony is that Nemo doesn’t have what every non-hermit human being needs: some kind of meaningful connection with other people. For all intents and purposes, the penthouse (which has excellent production design by Thorsten Sabel) has become a gilded cage for Nemo. Even though “Inside” is not Dafoe’s best movie, he is still riveting to watch in this performance.
“Inside” is not going to please viewers who think that the movie should have more suspense or subplots. A predictable storyline would have been for Nemo to use the surveillance equipment as a way to entertain himself. Instead, the movie shows Nemo’s mental deterioration as a way to invite viewers to think about what they would do if they were trapped in a luxury home with no one to talk to for weeks on end, and no way to escape unless someone came to the rescue. “Inside” is a thoughtful but long-winded story that puts into perspective what really matters in life, when so many people in society perceive material wealth to be the key to happiness.
Focus Features released “Inside” in select U.S. cinemas on March 17, 2023.
Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
Culture Representation: Taking place in New York City, the horror film “Scream VI” features a racially diverse cast of characters (Latin, white African-American) representing the working-class and middle-class.
Culture Clash: The four main survivors of the serial killings in the 2022 movie “Scream” have relocated from the fictional Woodsboro, California, to New York City, where they are plagued by a new set of Ghostface Killer murders.
Culture Audience: “Scream VI” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the “Scream” franchise and horror movie sequels that make several references to its preceding movies.
“Scream VI” has further cemented the “Scream” franchise as an intentionally comedic self-parody, but this entertaining movie doesn’t skimp on the horror thrills. The movie’s best scenes make up for the far-fetched revelations in the last 15 minutes. As the sixth movie in the “Scream” series, “Scream VI” is best appreciated by people who’ve seen all the previous “Scream ” movies, because there are many jokes and references to this predecessor films. However, if it’s not possible for someone to see all the previous “Scream” movies, then the 1996 “Scream” film (the one that started the series) and the 2022 “Scream” film are the two most essential moves to watch before seeing “Scream VI.”
The 2000 movie “Scream 3” added a movie-within-a-movie storyline, by creating a fictional horror movie series called “Stab,” which was inspired by what happened in the first “Scream” movie. It’s helpful, but not essential, to watch “Scream 3” before seeing “Scream VI.” What’s most important for viewers of “Scream VI” to know is that “Scream VI” gives a summary of all the revealed identities of the Ghostface Killer (who wears a creepy ghostface mask and a black hooded robe), who is a different person or people in each “Scream” movie. If you didn’t know their identities before seeing “Scream VI,” then the movie spoils all that information.
“Scream VI” reunites directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett with screenwriters James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, who had the same roles for the 2022 “Scream” movie. Most of the same producers from 2022’s “Scream” are also part of the “Scream VI” team. “Scream VI” picks up one year after the events of the 2022 “Scream” movie, which took place mainly in the fictional Woodsboro, California. Four of the survivors of the Ghostface Killer murders and mayhem that happened in 2022’s “Scream” are trying to put this trauma behind them, and have relocated to New York City. (“Scream VI” was actually filmed in Montreal.)
Samantha “Sam” Carpenter (played by Melissa Barrera), who is 25 or 26, is in therapy but finds it difficult to open up to her therapist Dr. Christopher Stone (played by Henry Czerny) until a pivotal scene that’s a helpful summary for anyone who didn’t see 2022’s “Scream.” When Sam isn’t busy with her two jobs, she’s being overprotective of her younger half-sister Tara Carpenter (played by Jenna Ortega), who 18 years old and a first-year student at the fictional Blackmore University. Tara and Sam live in the same apartment building.
The other two people in this tight-knit foursome are twins Mindy Meeks-Martin (played by Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Chad Meeks-Martin (played by Mason Gooding), who are also first-year students at Blackmore University. The uncle of Mindy and Chad was Randy Meeks (played by Jamie Kennedy), whose fate is shown in 1997’s “Scream 2.” Mindy is a “Stab” trivia fanatic, while Chad (who was a popular athlete in high school) has a not-so-secret crush on Tara. Chad has come up with a nickname for this quartet of survivors: The Core Four. It’s a name that the other three think is corny, and the movie shows whether or not they go along with Chad’s enthusiasm to give themselves this nickname.
Three of the new characters that are introduced in “Scream VI” have gotten close to the Core Four. Tara’s free-spirited roommate Quinn Bailey (played by Liana Liberato) is having fun dating various men, but her sex life sometimes gets in the way of Tara wanting some peace and quiet. Chad’s roommate is Ethan Landry (played by Jack Champion), a socially awkward misfit who wants to be accepted by Chad and his friends. Anika Kayoko (played by Devyn Nekoda) is dating openly queer Mindy, in a fairly new romance.
As several scenes in the movie show, Tara is resentful of Sam’s hovering presence, because Tara wants to be treated like an independent adult, not a helpless child. Tara and Sam also disagree about how to cope with what happened to them in Woodsboro. Tara refuses to go to therapy, she doesn’t like to talk about what happened in Woodsboro, and she thinks Sam is living too much in the past. Sam thinks it’s detrimental for Tara to avoid getting therapy. Meanwhile, Sam becomes the subject of untrue gossip spread on the Internet that she was really the Ghostface Killer in Woodsboro.
To its credit, “Scream VI” is less cluttered with characters than 2022’s “Scream.” The movie’s opening scene continues the “Scream” tradition of someone being murdered by the Ghostface Killer, who has called that victim on the phone. The person who gets slaughtered in the opening scene is Laura Crane (played by Samara Weaving), an associate professor of film studies at Blackmore University. She teaches horror movies as part of her curriculum.
On the night that Laura is murdered, it’s close to Halloween, and many people are dressed up in Halloween costumes for parties and other Halloween festivities. Laura is not in a Halloween costume when she is seen at a bar, talking on the phone with what she thinks is her blind date for the night. The date is really a Ghostface Killer.
The “date” pretends to be lost and asks Laura to step outside the bar into an alley where he says he is. While she’s on the phone, the caller’s tone turns menacing as he snarls, “You teach a class about slashers, and you still walk into a dark alley alone.” Needless to say, Laura doesn’t last long in this movie.
Without giving away too much information, it’s enough to say that it’s revealed early on in the movie that Sam and Tara are the main targets for the Ghostface Killers. It’s also revealed that whoever is behind the murders that happen also wants to finish the “Stab” tribute movie that was started by Richie Kirsch (played by Jack Quaid), who was Sam’s boyfriend in 2022’s “Scream,” but (spoiler alert for people who haven’t seen 2022’s “Scream”), Richie turned out to be the Ghostface Killer, and Sam killed him in self-defense.
Some other characters who are part of the “Scream VI” are Blackmore University student Jason Carvey (played by Tony Revolori); Quinn’s father Detective Bailey (played by Dermot Mulroney), who is a police officer who investigates homicides; and David Brackett (played by Josh Segarra), an attractive neighbor who lives in the apartment building directly across from the apartment building where Sam, Tara and Quinn live. Sam and Tara (who has given David the nickname Hot Boy) can see directly into David’s apartment and vice versa.
“Scream VI” also has the return of ambitious and arrogant TV news journalist Gale Weathers (played by Courteney Cox), who has written a book about the events that happened in 2022’s “Scream.” Tara and Sam are furious about this book not only because Gale had broken her promise not to write a book about what happened but also because the book at unflattering descriptions of Tara and Sam.
Also making her return to “Scream VI” is Kirby Reed (played by Hayden Panettiere), who was the “final girl” in 2011’s “Scream 4.” Kirby, who is now 30 years old and an agent for the FBI, arrives in New York City to investigate this new set of Ghostface Killer murders. Kirby was a senior at Woodsboro High School when Sam was a freshman at the school. As for other familiar characters from the “Scream” franchise, Sidney Prescott (played by Neve Campbell), the original target of the Ghostface Killer, is not in “Scream VI” but is briefly mentioned as being in hiding in a safe place. Campbell went public about declining an offer to be in “Scream VI” because she felt that the offered salary was too low for her.
“Scream VI” delves more than 2022’s “Scream” did into the psychological fallout of all of these killings. “Scream VI” does a fairly good job at contrasting the ways that Sam and Tara feel about therapy, without passing judgment on either character. As already revealed in 2022’s “Scream,” Sam and Tara are the children of the late Billy Loomis (played by Skeet Ulrich), who was one of killers in the first “Scream” movie. As shown in 2022’s “Scream” and “Scream VI,” there are big indications that Sam is worried that she could have inherited a desire to become a murderer. “Scream VI” has more exploration of how Sam’s suspected “dark side” is affecting her.
The movie’s scenes with Ghostface Killer on a rampage are among the best of the “Scream” franchise. A standout scene is one that involves a ladder between buildings. Another scene that’s suspenseful is when Ghostface Killer goes after Tara and Sam in a convenience store. Meanwhile, there is plenty of sarcastic wisecracking (especially from Libby) about horror movie clichés, who the likely suspects are, and who’s most likely to be killed next. All of these self-referential jokes in “Scream VI” are sometimes to the detriment of the story. The movie doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it expects viewers to know a lot about the “Scream” movies, in order to get most of the jokes.
Barrera and Ortega, who are very believable as sisters with a love/hate relationship, are excellent additions to the “Scream” franchise. Mulroney really hams it up and delivers some of his lines in ways that are pure camp. Panettiere also gives a good performance as “all grown up now” Kirby. Cox doesn’t really do anything new with the Gale character, but she performs well in her action scenes. Savoy Brown is a sassy scene stealer with the Libby character, who has much better character development and funnier lines of dialogue than in 2022’s “Scream.”
There’s no doubt that “Scream VI” is an unapolgetic “fan service” movie that isn’t particularly accommodating to newcomers to the “Scream” movie franchise. And there isn’t anything innovative about the plot reveals, which might remind “Scream” fans of a certain previous “Scream” movie. “Scream VI” is not the best movie in the “Scream” franchise, but “Scream VI” delivers exactly what it intends: horror entertainment that serves up plenty of gore with self-deprecating laughs.
Paramount Pictures will release “Scream VI” in U.S. cinemas on March 10, 2023.