Friday, June 11, 2021

Tribeca with Abe: As of Yet

I’ve had the pleasure this year of screening a number of selections virtually from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which runs June 9th-20th.

As of Yet
Directed by Chanel James and Taylor Garron
Viewpoints – Screening Information

The pandemic has been a time fraught with anxiety for most, unsure of whether they would remain safe and, more recently, tentative about returning to normal life. During the worst of it, however, an end was most definitely not in sight, and the notion of continuing protocols forever and never seeing anyone in person became almost too much to bear. Anyone who started a new relationship during the pandemic deserves particular credit since navigating a romance of any sort is difficult enough in a virus-free world, and beginning something with the barrier of social distancing presents a considerably increased challenge.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Naomi (Taylor Garron) has been playing it safe. She hasn’t gone anywhere and has maintained relationships via FaceTime and Zoom. With her roommate (Eva Victor) in Florida with family, Naomi has starting chatting with a guy she met online and is considering arranging their very first in-person date. As she connects with friends and family for regularly-scheduled check-ins, Naomi ponders the safety of such a decision and the intersection of many societal factors that have affected how she operates and has changed her thinking over the course of quarantine.

This film is the latest in a series of projects filmed during the pandemic that is expressly about life in the pandemic, and it mimics the style of “Language Lessons” and “Coastal Elites,” among others, in that all of its scenes are seen through a camera or computer screen. That device might seem irritating or tiring for those who feel they have spent too long sitting on Zoom over the past year, but it’s actually a marvelous way to get to know Naomi and to see her at her most unguarded, freely conversing with everyone because their physical distance makes it easier to be open and honest, even if that leads to uncomfortable moments and realizations.

Garron, who serves as writer and co-director for the film, is phenomenal, making Naomi seem simultaneously relatable and highly specific, walking through the world with pointed opinions about race, romance, and relationships. Nothing is lost from her performance being directed at a screen rather than at others next to her, and that actually adds tremendously to the experience. Whether isolated filmmaking like this will continue after the pandemic is a mystery, but this film offers a snapshot of this moment in time with an entertaining, witty script and a compelling story woven together from selected scenes that add up to a formidable whole.


No comments: