Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Talking Tribeca: Maria My Love

I’ve had the pleasure this year of screening a number of selections from the Tribeca Film Festival. In no particular order, I present a look at one film per day. The Tribeca Film Festival takes place April 20th through May 1st.

Maria My Love
Directed by Jasmine McGlade Chazelle
Festival Screenings

One of the most exciting parts of a film festival is getting to see new talent emerge. It’s just as invigorating and refreshing to see an actress who made her debut at another film festival over a decade ago return with a follow-up performance that’s just as compelling and indicative of great talent. Judy Marte, who first appeared on screen in Peter Sollett’s Sundance short “Five Feet High and Rising,” later expanded to become the full-length film “Raising Victor Vargas,” stars in Jasmine McGlade Chazelle’s first feature film, “Maria My Love.” The title refers to the late mother of the protagonist, Ana, exceptionally and believably portrayed by the lovely Marte. The central plot of the film follows Ana’s search for meaning in her life through a random act of kindness and continued friendship with a lonely hoarder, also named Maria, played by Karen Black. It’s not an overly original story, but it’s appropriately engaging. What makes it work more than anything is the commitment to creating real, believable characters by Marte as Ana, Lauren Fales as her sister, Grace, and Brian Rieger as her boyfriend, Ben. The cast is small but effective, and this rather straightforward story is layered and affecting. To me, this feels like exactly what a film festival entry should feel like, and as result, it’s properly satisfying.

See it or skip it? See it if you’re an indie movie fan.

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