(June 3rd - June 13th)
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**Please check back soon for reviews of 4 more films.**
Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling
Directed by James Rasin.
The documentary Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling focuses on the ephemeral life of Candy Darling, a transsexual born as James Lawrence Slattery, who rose to fame as an Andy Warhol Superstar during the late 60’s and early 70’s before dying of cancer before the age of 30. Director James Rasin combines fascinating interviews with Darling’s good friend and former roommate Jeremiah Newton along with archival footage of her and passages from her diary and letters read by Chloë Sevigny. Audiences previously unfamiliar with Candy Darling will learn about her emotional struggles during her adolescent years as well as how she became an Andy Warhol Superstar who always wanted to look like Marilyn Monroe. You’ll find yourself thoroughly captivated and even a bit moved by this very well-edited documentary. Number of times I checked my watch: 1
No distributor yet.
I Killed My Mother
Directed by Xavier Dolan.
The New Directors New Films series culminates with the terrific Closing Night film, I Killed My Mother, a French-Canadian semi-autobiogrpahy centers around a teenager, Hubert (Xavier Dolan), who gradually realizes that his mother (Anne Dorval) doesn’t quite know how to be a good, nurturing and caring mother. She certainly provides for him when it comes to giving him a roof, clothes and food on the table, but she doesn’t know how to reach out to him emotionally and doesn’t even realize that he’s homosexual. Just as Hubert keenly admits, she probably wasn’t meant to be a mother to begin with; she merely became one because she had to. Writer/director Xavier Dolan blends deftly blends drama, tragedy and comedy in a way that makes for a poignant, refreshingly witty, well-acted and profound character study of not only Hubert but also his mother. The dynamics of their relationship are complex and there’s more to both of them than meets the eye, which makes them all the more human and believable as characters. One moment, you feel that Hubert is behaving immaturely while in the next scene, his mother’s suddenly the immature one. Dolan also incorporates stylish cinematography and editing that invigorates the film, especially in the black-and-white scenes during which Hubert faces the camera to intimately confess his thoughts and feelings.
Number of times I checked my watch: 0
Released by Regent Releasing.
No release date yet.
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
Directed by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg.
This wildly entertaining, hilarious and surprisingly moving documentary focuses on the life and work of 76-year-old comedian and television personality Joan Rivers. On stage while she’s performing her stand-up comedy routines she projects fearlessness, charisma, energy and plenty of pizzazz. She’s relentlessly fierce and irreverent when it comes to her sense of humor which often results in uproarious laughter from her open-minded audiences. If you’re familiar with her work, you’ll already know that she started out as a thespian in the play Seawood before performing in comedy clubs during a time when female comedians weren’t so vulgar and sexually explicit in their comedy routines. In many ways, Rivers broke through that barrier and paved the way for many other brave female comedians nowadays, such as Kathy Griffin who considers Joan to be her inspiration. River gained a lot of fame through her appearances on The Tonight Show hosted by Johnny Carson, but their friendship took a nosedive when she accepted to host a rival show, The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers. Soon after, her business partner and husband, Edgar Rosenberg, committed suicide, yet she continued to make her fans laugh as she remained a television personality. Co-directors Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg do an impeccable job of providing you with background information about Joan Rivers’ uphill battles as a comedian as well as shedding light on what she has learned from all of her struggles. Sociologist Erving Goffman once noted that everyone has a frontstage life and a backstage life. Stern and Sunderberg gives a rare glimpse of what Rivers is truly life backstage behind that obstructing curtain. Backstage, Rivers maintains her razor sharp humor, boldness and panache, but, most importantly, she comes across as an honest, intelligent, self-aware and sensitive human being. She candidly admits that no one has ever called her “beautiful” and that she knows that without continuing to work so diligently every day from morning 'til night, she can easily become unemployed which is her greatest fear. If you’ve never seen Rivers without her makeup on, well, now’s your chance. At a running time of only 1 hour and 24 minutes, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work manages to be a gut-bustingly funny, endearing and unflinchingly honest documentary that finds just the right balance between entertaining the audience and provoking them intellectually as well as emotionally. Joan River’s perseverance, audacity and sheer brilliance is an inspiration for everyone.
Number of times I checked my watch: 0 Released by IFC Films. Opens June 11th, 2010 at the IFC Center and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas.