As it prepares its ninth season, it is noteworthy that several movies opening theatrically in the next few weeks premiered at last year's Tribeca Film Festival, among them Conor McPherson's The Eclipse and Bette Gordon's Handsome Harry. Another is a sweet-hearted gem named for its primary location, City Island.
City Island is set in the small fishing community, a part of the Bronx that feels remote from New York City, providing a backdrop for a family story where each member has something to hide. Andy Garcia leads a cast that includes Alan Arkin, Julianna Margulies, and Emily Mortimer. His own daughter Dominik Garcia-Lorido plays his film daughter, a college student who has a secret vocation as a stripper in a Bada Bing type bar.
Dominik said she refused to have her father on set for some of her scenes. Yes, there's one that any parent would find difficult: clad in a sequined bikini, the shapely Dominik pole dances upside down.
As written and directed by Raymond De Felitta, transgressions big and small are neatly and humorously confessed and forgiven. Screened this week at the Directors Guild Theater, the film exuded a good nature that spilled over into the party at Rouge Tomate where Griffin Dunne, Christine Baranski, Tovah Feldshuh, Sandra Bernhardt, Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Ruben Blades, Narcisco Rodriguez, Vera Wang, and Hugh Jackman joined the cast for supper. Parker Posey and her friend Emma Tapley wore cute dresses, coincidentally designed by Cynthia Rowley who dined at a table nearby.
Julianna Margulies, this year's Golden Globe winner for her work in the CBS series, The Good Wife was having a good year indeed. Accolade after accolade, the actress perched on sky-high heels said, she promised her husband, "It won't always be this exciting. Let me enjoy this now." You could say that City Island provides her a comic variation on the wronged spouse she plays on television, when she thinks her husband is cheating on her with a "Holly Golightly-" esque character played by Emily Mortimer.
New York may be the place to reinvent oneself, but on City Island, people stay close to their roots. At the party, Andy Garcia shook hands vigorously with fellow Cuban American Narcisco Rodriguez and said, "I am so proud of you."