At this April's oh-so-fun Independent Film Festival of Boston, I had the pleasure of making many new acquaintances. Coincidentally enough, a few of those acquaintances are releasing their latest films today. I highly recommend you check them out and support personal, independent cinema.
First up, in NYC, is Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden's HALF NELSON, which features yet another starmaking performance from Ryan Gosling. Unsentimental and honest, HALF NELSON captures the confusion of a young man who wants to change the world. Unfortunately, he can't seem to find the clarity to change his clothes. I fell for Gosling from the very start, and even though I was well aware of some actorly shticking going on, I didn't care. He was that magnetizing. It's funny, I actually think he shares many similarities with Colin Farrell. The only difference is that when Colin Farrell does it, it's embarrassing, yet when Ryan Gosling does it, it works. I commend Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden for making a film that isn't black or white. Their vision of modern life is honest, challenging, and contradictory, like life itself. I highly suggest you go see it this weekend. Thankfully, it's also playing at Lincoln Plaza, because as much as I want to support HALF NELSON, if it were only playing at the Angelika that would render it a non-option for me. I meant it when I said the other day that I'm never going to that fucking place ever again.
And now let us shift our attention to Los Angeles, where David Redmon and Ashley Sabin's documentary, MARDI GRAS: MADE IN CHINA, is opening at the Laemmle Theatre Fairfax 3 (for a one-week only run). I haven't seen the film, so I can't give it that type of plug, but from what I've read, it sounds like mandatory viewing. Here's the synopsis, which I pulled from the website:
The award winning documentary, MARDI GRAS: MADE IN CHINA, swiftly follows the path of Mardi Gras beads from the naked streets of New Orleans during Carnival, where revelers party 24/7, to the disciplined factories in Fuzhou, China, where teenage laborers live and thread beads 24/7. Told with humor and curiosity, MARDI GRAS: MADE IN CHINA provides a global connection by introducing workers and revelers to each other through a disposable commodity: Mardi Gras beads.
Go to the film's website for more info: www.mardigrasmadeinchina.com