Ed Budz is blogging the films he sees at the Tribeca Film Festival. To see his thoughts on the rest of the festival, clicking here.
What a day. Great, but heavy!
In Earth Made of Glass, USA by Deborah Scranton, the after-effects of genocide is explored in the Rwandan president’s goal of reconciliation and reintegration of the perpetrators who fled to the Congo while also seeking justice from the French government, deeply implicated in atrocities. It is also the story of a survivor whose family was decimated. What haunts him most is the loss of his best friend – his father, a doctor, who was brutally murdered and the body never found. For years, he returns to the area of the roadblock where this occurred, questioning everyone and receiving no answers. Finally, he has a breakthrough and we bear witness to the son’s pain, grief, anger and loss. Conscious of the message his own son is learning, he still strives for peace – even though he cannot forgive. There is no narration and the camera is dispassionate. It allows us to see, hear, feel and think for ourselves. The honesty and simplicity with which the story unfolds lets us see both the worse and best of Rwanda, and by extension, ourselves.
The Chameleon, France/USA by Jean-Paul Salomé, is a taut thriller, based on a true story. A 15-year-old boy who disappeared three years prior, is found and returned to his family, but an FBI agent has her doubts he is who he says he is. Ellen Barkin gives an utterly transformative performance by as the old-before-her-time, drunken, druggie mom and the story keeps getting more complex. Is he? Isn’t he? More and more questions pile up until we find out the terrible truth. Great performances all around make this a chilling and enjoyable find.
My day ended with The Woodmans, USA/Italy/China by C. Scott Willis. Unlike many docs which explore a wider topic and include a few personal stories to make the subject more personal and human, this one stays focused on this one family of artists and does not presume to explore the broader problems it uncovers. Mom, dad and brother are all successful, working artists and sister Francesca seeks her own voice through photography. She produces stunning, personal, inventive images and today is considered a major photographer of the 20th Century. But a tragedy stirkes. Through candid interviews with family and friends as well as a look at the art this family has produced, we see how art was given the highest regard and how these values were absorbed by the children. It’s amazing how honest and open the family is about their daughter, their pain and their art.
Catch the rest of Ed’s thoughts about the Tribeca Film Festival by clicking here