As if I weren't upset enough to not be attending Cannes this year after perusing the Official Competition lineup, today's announcement of the Director's Fortnight films has me seriously contemplating making my way to France. Hong Sang-soo? Pedro Costa? Francis Ford Coppola? Hot diggity!
First off, a hearty congratulations to Lynn Shelton and the entire Humpday team, who have made one of the smartest, funniest, and most entertaining films of 2009.
More importantly, now that it's gone public, I can speak more freely about Josh and Benny Safdie's Go Get Some Rosemary, which I have seen in its just-about-all-the-way-finished form. I am happy to report that Go Get Some Rosemary finds the wunderkind filmmakers venturing into an even deeper, more heartfelt place. The biggest complaint I heard about The Pleasure of Being Robbed was that the character wasn't grounded in any fiscal, real world sense. Well, the Safdies fixed that problem by telling the story of a divorced father of two who struggles not to lose his job as he babysits his young boys for two weeks. In Ronald Bronstein (Frownland), the Safdie Brothers have found the perfect individual to give their flighty vision a refreshing jolt of heaviness. Bronstein is heartbreaking as Lenny, a guy who seems to be getting beaten down further and further by life every single day.
Watching this film will also show critics just how personal, individual, and carefully orchestrated Josh and Benny Safdie's vision is. Many reviews of The Pleasure of Being Robbed appear to have been written by people who were entering the Safdie universe for the very first time. As a result, the jarring blend of almost docu-reality in the photography with the film's wackier content was difficult to swallow, like hearing an unfamiliar language for the first time. Go Get Some Rosemary continues to merge these seemingly contradictory elements in a way that is unique to the Safdies. Maybe this time around, when things occur that don't seem all-the-way "realistic," a viewer won't be distracted and will understand that this is coming from a more fanciful, yet emotionally grounded, place.
Go Get Some Rosemary is whimsical, inventive, and humorous, but it also throbs with struggle and heartache. Get ready, Cannes. The Safdies are back.