And Action! Must-See Flicks At The Tribeca Film Festival
The 2019 Tribeca Film Festival is music to our ears—and eyes. Running from April 24-May 5, its 18th edition is packed with music-driven features: Other Music looks back at Greenwich Village’s iconic indie record shop of the same name, Mystify: Michael Hutchence revisits the late INXS vocalist’s life, and Gay Chorus Deep South sees the SF Gay Men’s Chorus tour a less tolerant part of the country. Plus loads of NYC-centric titles, world premieres, retrospective—Reality Bites, This Is Spinal Tap—and anniversary screenings, and, of course, conversations and Q&As with filmmakers and A-list talent.
First things first: peruse the festival’s smartphone app or online program through which you can buy tickets and passes (subject to availability). If a particular screening or event is sold out, you can try for a same-day, space-available Rush Ticket by showing up at the venue approximately 45 minutes early.
Broken down into a dozen sections, the festival’s line-up is a wonderfully dizzy affair, so to help suss out Tribeca’s must-see films, we tapped Roxy Cinema curator Illyse Singer for her picks and commentary.
Eclectic Bronx-born director Abel Ferrara, whose prolific body of work includes grindhouse classic Ms. 45 and sci-fi remake Body Snatchers, brings us this documentary about an enduring NYC indie cinema owner, Cinema Village’s Nick Nicolau.
Singer Says: “I love Abel Ferrara; he’s one of the greatest filmmakers of our time, and that he’s moved into documentary filmmaking in his later age is interesting. He moved to Italy, but this documentary is so NYC-centric. There’s a Ferrara retrospective at MoMA this May, and they’re finally releasing his 2014 Pasolini biopic starring Willem Dafoe.”
Glaswegian single mother Rose-Lynn Harlan (Jessie Buckley) packs a whole lot of country music talent, but having just been released from prison with kids to worry about and an electronic ankle monitor, her options seem very limited… until she starts working as a housekeeper for a well-off employer (Sophie Okonedo) who wants to help her Nashville dreams come true.
Singer Says: “I love the lead actress, Jessie Buckley. It’s probably not a realistic goal for a Scottish woman to move to Nashville and become a country star, but I think it’s going to be good!”
Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics And Men
All nine living members of NYC’s ground-breaking, certified platinum hip-hop supergroup will be present for TFF’s screening of this career-spanning documentary.
Singer Says: “They are so incredible, smart, and do interesting things. For instance, even those Impossible Burger spots they’re doing. Expect a lot of archival footage and the members talking about their journeys.”
An accursed, deadly red dress purchased from a U.K. department store wreaks havoc in director Peter Strickland’s Giallo-inspired supernatural horror flick.
Singer Says: “It was so buzzed about at Toronto as one of the best weird horror films, with lots of David Lynch and Dario Argento references. Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Argento’s Suspiria was not good, but this is! And it has Gwendoline Christie from Game Of Thrones, and she’s fantastic in it.”
American Psycho director Mary Harron and screenwriter Guinevere Turner reunite to tell the story of real-life American psycho Charles Manson, played by Matt Smith, and three women he brainwashed into becoming his murderous “family.”
Singer Says: “I think it’s really interesting timing, especially with Manson’s recent passing and Tarantino’s upcoming Manson film, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. I think Mary’s not afraid to take risks, she goes for it, so I’m excited to see how she chooses to characterize him in this film. Where other people would hold back, she won’t.”
Coming off a crushing breakup, 29-year-old Karen (Otmara Marrero) sneaks into her ex’s Pacific Northwest lake house, where she connects with a precocious younger woman, Lana (Sydney Sweeney), in this world premiere title.
Singer Says: “I’m always interested in coming-of-age stories, and this stood out this year. It’s all about heartbreak, and I really like that!”
You Don’t Nomi
This documentary revisits the production of Paul Verhoeven’s much-derided 1995 NC-17 camp classic, Showgirls, about a Las Vegas stripper (starring Elizabeth Berkeley, Kyle MacLachlan and Gina Gershon), and the film lovers determined to see it redeemed today.
Singer Says: “I love Verhoeven so much, and I think Showgirls is actually incredible. People are so wrong about that. I love Showgirls, and people need to re-watch and be open to it. I think they’ll realize how brilliant Paul actually is.”
Margot Robbie plays a fugitive bank robber in 1930s Dust Bowl-era Texas, who a young man (Finn Cole) discovers hiding out in a barn on his family’s farm.
Singer Says: “The 23-year-old director, Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, was one of the youngest to ever be in competition at Sundance for his first feature, As You Are, so I’m curious to see how this will be. And I’m interested in any film that shows a strong female lead, female bank robber, so yes please.”
This Is Not Berlin
In 1986 Mexico City, a pair of young middle-class friends discover the metropolis’ percolating underground scene of art, sexuality, drugs, and activism.
Singer Says: “That was at Sundance, and I heard it captured this wild scene of Mexico City, the punk and new wave and art underground of the 1980s, which was so ahead of us in a way. Everyone thought Berlin was the place to be, but I feel this will rival that.”
Apocalypse Now: Final Cut
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam War classic about an army captain (Martin Sheen) tasked with assassinating a rogue colonel turned cult leader (Marlon Brando), TFF will debut an all-new, ultra high-definition recut version (running 183 minutes). Afterward, Coppola will be joined by fellow director Steven Soderbergh for a conversation.
Singer Says: “It’s one of my favorite movies of all time and also one of the best to see on a big screen. It’s Coppola’s best work, and I know people will fight me on that opinion! I want to see more of the characters on the boat traveling down that river. And Dennis Hopper always, please.”
WORDS Lawrence Ferber