Tag Archives: New York City

Q&A: Ruben Amar & Lola Bessis, Writers/Directors of SWIM LITTLE FISH SWIM

(Re-posted from LimitéMagazine.com)

by Daniel Quitério

Life in New York City can be hard, especially for young artists on the verge of self-discovery. But with an abounding energy and “magical atmosphere,” as described by French-born filmmakers Ruben Amar and Lola Bessis, it’s, perhaps, the ideal setting for an individual to come of age. Amar’s and Bessis’s feature debut, Swim Little Fish Swim, captures the difficult reality often faced by idealistic artists—striking a balance between an uncompromised art and the economics necessary to survive in an increasingly expensive city.

In Swim Little Fish Swim, the multi-hyphenate filmmakers (Amar and Bessis both wrote, directed, and produced the film; Bessis also stars) tell the story of musician Leeward (Dustin Guy Defa) and his more practical wife, a nurse named Mary (Brooke Bloom). The couple struggles in raising a young child in an unforgiving city, let alone hosting young French artist Lilas (Bessis), who has problems of her own.

Although Amar and Bessis have collaborated on several short films in the past, Swim Little Fish Swim represents new territory for the duo. Coming off a successful festival fun (including a win for Best Film at Gen Art Film Festival and a nomination for the Grand Jury Award at SXSW), the feature opened in New York City’s Cinema Village on September 19, with a limited rollout to follow (including Los Angeles and Chicago on September 26 and Seattle on October 24). I recently had the opportunity to conduct an interview via e-mail with Amar and Bessis, who provided joint responses to questions regarding the film, their collaboration, and their impressions of New York City.

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New York Film Festival Preview: Frances Ha

(Re-posted from LimitéMagazine.com)


Sunday, September 30, 6:30pm (Alice Tully Hall)

Thursday, October 4, 9pm (Alice Tully Hall)

Wednesday, October 10, 4pm (Francesca Beale Theater)

Venue: Lincoln Center, NYC

Series: NYFF50: Main Slate

She breaks up with her boyfriend and begins to lose her newly engaged best friend. Things are not looking up for Frances, a struggling dancer in her late 20s who finds herself practically couch surfing throughout New York City. Her life didn’t turn out quite the way she expected, and as a result, she’s forced to face the challenges of just plain living. In his directorial follow-up to 2010′s Greenberg, Noah Baumbach once again collaborates with lead actress Greta Gerwig (who also wrote the script with Baumbach) in Frances Ha. Where this coming-of-age tale falls flat on story, it more than makes up for in character. No doubt, the film’s black-and-white cinematography adds a touch of quirkiness to complement the dynamic characters of Frances and her best friend Sophie (played by Mickey Sumner). Frances’s hopes, dreams, and disappointments play out in a relatable fashion that isn’t too heavy. It is easy to see ourselves in her position, struggling to reconcile our dreams with our reality. The film is heavy on dialogue with little quiet time, setting off the pace at which Frances’s life unravels—and it does so to the point where she finds herself working and living at her old college for a summer, illustrating a very clear regression. Frances Ha is a delightful movie with memorable performances by both Gerwig and Sumner. Following Baumbach’s terrific showing with Oscar-nominated The Squid and the Whale (2005), the writer/director lost his footing a bit with Margot at the Wedding (2007) and to a lesser degree with Greenberg. Thankfully, he’s back in peak form with Frances Ha.

Limité Rating: 4/5

Director: Noah Baumbach

Genres: Narrative, Comedy

Country: USA

Language: English

Runtime: 86 min.

Note: Greta Gerwig and Mickey Sumner will be participating in a free conversation, courtesy of NYFF Live on Monday, October 1 at 7pm in the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Amphitheater, located in Lincoln Center at 144 W. 65th St., NYC.

The 50th New York Film Festival runs from September 28 – October 14, 2012.

First Look: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50ZQoOJv5vg]

Based on Jonathan Safran Foer’s sophomore novel, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close tells the story of nine-year-old Oskar Schell, whose beloved father was killed in the 9/11 attacks. Young Oskar finds a strange key that was left behind by his dad, and he takes it upon himself to journey throughout New York City to find out what it unlocks.

I’m currently reading this book and have to say that the Oskar in my head while reading does not exactly match the Oskar in this trailer. Though the character’s precociousness is consistent, I don’t get the impression that Trailer Oskar would make the same fart references that Book Oskar does. And who doesn’t love a good fart reference? Still, I’m looking forward to this film, which features an impressive cast, including Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, James Gandolfini, John Goodman, Viola Davis, Max von Sydow, and Jeffrey Wright. Teen Jeopardy! winner Thomas Horn makes his acting debut as Oskar. The film is directed by three-time Oscar nominee Stephen Daldry (The Reader, The Hours, Billy Elliot).

Foer’s first novel, Everything Is Illuminated, was made into a 2005 Liev Schreiber-directed film starring Elijah Wood. Foer was just 25 years old when the book was published in 2002. What were you doing when you were 25?