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See also: SHADOWS FILM FESTIVAL | Last update 5.Apr.19

tribeca film festivalTribeca 2019 shorts...
Tribeca Film Festival, New York • 24.Apr-5.May.19

Reviews by Rich Cline | Page 2 of 2

This Perfect Day dir-scr Lydia Rui
with Michelle Keating, Lee Mason, Hannah Koch
18/Australia 8m

This Perfect Day  

This Perfect Day Teen girl Julia (Keating) is afraid to walk into a music store, but her friend (Koch)encourages her: "What are you waiting for?" Because she's acting suspicious, the shopkeeper (Mason) begins to wonder what she's up to, asking about her interests and pointing her to the guitars. She sits down and begins playing, and the shopkeeper suddenly understands that something deeper is going on here. What follows is simply beautiful, an earthy encounter that is short on conversation and rich with meaning. The film is skilfully shot in extreme close-up, catching the inner thoughts of the characters and eliminating the need for much dialog. This understated approach is involving and moving, especially since the actors bring so much subtlety to their roles. This film is also notable for its diverse cast and crew: multinational, predominantly female and led by non-binary actor Keating. All of which adds a strong layer of sensitivity.

20.Apr.19 tff

Ponyboi dir River Gallo, Sade Clacken Joseph
scr River Gallo
with River Gallo, Keith Allan, Aaron Schwartz, Sophie Labelle, Logan Arevalo, Phillip Bowen, Enrique Sebastian Rivas, Marita de la Torre
19/US 19m


Ponyboi Lushly shot in deep colours, this moody odyssey has a touch of magical realism in its exploration of a young person struggling to find his place in the world. In the opening voiceover Ponyboi describes a dream, driving across country with his ideal man to a funfair on the seaside. But his reality is very different, as an intersex New Jersey laundromat worker who sells sex on the side. On Valentine's Day, his colleague Angel (Labelle) is sure that Ponyboi will find someone who treats him right. Although her taste in men is questionable considering her leery boyfriend Vinny (Schwartz). Later that evening, Ponyboi runs into Bruce (Allan), the cowboy in a white hat from his dream, who offers to take him to Vegas. "You can have whatever you want," Bruce says. "You just have to think you deserve it." Yes, the film feels somewhat pointed, as kaleidoscopic flashbacks reveal scenes from his childhood, including surgical intervention. This is a topic rarely explored on film, and gifted actor-filmmaker Gallo's approach is honest and powerful, clearly drawing from his own experiences. As both an actor and writer-director, he demonstrates skills that, with an only slightly lighter touch, hint at a seriously promising career.

20.Apr.19 tff

Snare dir Madeleine Gottlieb
scr James Fraser, Madeleine Gottlieb
with Steve Rodgers, James Fraser, Matt Lausch, Nadia Zwecker, Edric Hong, Aydin Chien-Drumm, Bek Lin
19/Australia 13m


Snare Set in a Chinese restaurant in 1997, this sharp and offbeat Australian drama centres on a father and son who meet for dinner, each with his own agenda. Steve (Rodgers) is supportive of his son Jobe (Fraser), who plays in a punk band. Their relationship is close, but it's clear that Steve has something on his mind. He's a bit taken aback when Jobe tells him about the band's upcoming tour of Japan, and Jobe needs his financial support to make it work. But Steve has started drumming full-time, and now needs Jobe's help to make a go of it. The evolving conversation is witty and pointed, with a clever shifting of roles as this father and son interact in ways they've never imagined. Where this goes is bold and surprising, and filmmaker Gottlieb keeps the energy high, which helps us forget that it's essentially just a dinner chat. What it has to say is hard-edged and resonant, exploring the parent-child bond from an unusual perspective that leaves the audience with a lot to think about.

20.Apr.19 tff

Peggy dir-scr Justin O'Neal Miller
with Sarah Blackman, Josh Warren, Jason MacDonald, Muretta Moss, Mindy Sparks, Kristen Shawn, Kurt Yue, Mies Isaac Miller
18/US 12m


Peggy In a suburban house with an enormous back yard, this film unfolds with quietly subversive touches. It opens as a range of friends drive to a birthday party that idealised housewife Peggy (Blackman) is throwing for her 8-year-old son (Miller). Everything is brightly coloured and perfect, but the women's thoughts can be heard resenting all of this perfection ("Homemade sprinkles? F*** you, Peggy!"). The film is assembled to a very high standard, from the clever camerawork to the bouncy score (by Jeffrey Butzer). The way the guests try to subvert Peggy with their birthday gifts for her son is hilarious, from a BB gun to a set of enormous darts. And then Peggy's dreamy husband Brad (MacDonald) gives him a puppy, which might be the last straw for Peggy. What follows is a wildly ridiculous bit of slow-motion slapstick that, well, restores a sort of order. This is a very funny little short, packed with riotous details that play on resentment of anyone doing better than you are. It's perhaps a bit thin on meaning, but a lot of fun.

20.Apr.19 tff

momster dir-scr Drew Denny
with Brianna Hildebrand, Amanda Plummer, John Ennis, Ryan Simpkins, Josh Fadem
19/US 11m


momster Shot like a feature, this lively short boasts colourfully lurid cinematography (by Ava Berkofsky) and skilful performances that are both larger-than-life and beautifully understated. It's set in a bar, where Angel (Hildebrand) is trapped in a roller-skating barhop job, working for for lowlife boss Dallas (Ennis) as she waits for her renegade criminal mom (Plummer) to come back for her. Raised to be a "tough cookie", Angel stands up for her colleague Rose (Simpkins), also a victim of Dallas' macho aggression. Then one night she spots her mother in the bar, and together they take on Dallas as well as an abusive customer (Fadem). Plummer's presence offers a witty echo of Pulp Fiction, and there's also a clever nod to Thelma & Louise. And there are more interesting things going on in the largely unspoken emotional connections between Angel and both her mother and Rose. Writer-director Denny has a superb visual sensibility, capturing her character's various layers in a brief amount of screen time. So the film's mood makes up for the fact that it feels very slight. But even if it's rather forgettable story-wise, its images will linger.

28.Apr.19 tff

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© 2019 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall