On the eve of this year's New Directors / New Films Festival, a collaboration between The Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art, the Titus I theater was abuzz with downtown indie elite: Sofia Coppola, Alex Karpovsky, Elizabeth Olsen, John Cameron Mitchell, Mark Birbiglia, Julia Garner, and photographer Bob Gruen. Gimme the Loot, Adam Leon's film about two graffiti artists attempting to raise money by any means for the ultimate NYC art project, had its premiere. Featured in the 2012 ND/NF, Gimme the Loot was introduced with the kind of praise reserved for films by Almodovar, whose name was invoked in the introduction, films that will be discussed forever for moving the medium forward. In this film's case, the language is fresh, that is, bold, bawdy, and brimming with life. The scammers, actors Tashiana Washington and Ty Hickson, and a rich girl played by Zoe Lescaze remain memorable.
The 2013 series, with its new crop of films by talented young filmmakers, opened on Wednesday. Among this year's offerings: Towheads, Shannon Plumb's comic take on motherhood shows this artist as a clown in the traditions of Buster Keaton and Laurel & Hardy. The drudgery of family life is hardly a new subject on which to kvetch but Plumb takes it beyond, locking her character in a proverbial room of her own. Of course, you may find it hard to feel sorry for a woman who lives in a well appointed Brooklyn brownstone and happens to be married to a man who seems to make a living as a movie director even though she does most of the family lifting. Still, Plumb, deadpanning and provoking in desperation, is funny. If she is coming from real life, you wonder, can it really be that hard to be married to Derek Cianfrance, who co-stars although his face is coyly never actually seen. And their two towheaded sons are charming. Maybe there's competition: Plumb's Towheads and Cianfrance's The Place Beyond the Pines will both premiere this week, back to back.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.