Tribeca Episode Two: Sleepless Nights and Cheerful Weather

Sleepless Night, Whole Lotta Soul, Cheerful Weather For The Wedding and a couple of Shorts.

by Amber Wilkinson

Sleepless Night

Sleepless Night

I was talking about documentary merging with narrative in my last diary entry from Tribeca and fact seems to be proving at least as strange as fiction here this week with the news that two of the stars of Lucy Mulloy's Cuban-set Una Noche are in the wind since their plane touched down in Miami. Life has certainly imitated art, with Anailin de la Rua de la Torre and Javier Nunez Florian - who star as two teenagers who try to escape Cuba on a raft for Miami - making a swift getaway according to their co-star Dariel Arrechada.

Back in the realms of the purely fictional, French actioner Sleepless Night proves to be another solid entry in the wind-them-up-tight-and-let-them-go thriller division. A close cousin of last year's Point Blank, this time around, the man trying to save his loved one from doom is an apparently crooked cop, whose coke rip-off goes badly wrong. With his son in the hands of le bad guy, he finds himself battling nightclub crowds to try to retrieve his child at the same time as one crooked and one straight cop try to apprehend him.

Stubble central, aka Tomer Sisley, gives a lot of heart to the role of a dad in trouble and Frédéric Jardin makes the most of his confined spaces - particularly the night club kitchen - to create both decent heist anxiety and farce.

Also using confined space to good farce effect is Terry George's Whole Lotta Soul. This bullets and Blarney film follows hot on the heels of last year's The Guard, mixing general Irish whimsy with altogether more hard-edged gangland aspects. David O'Hara manages to rediscover and retain his Irish accent after one or two unfortunate mid-Altantic incidents (let us not dwell on Contraband), while Brendan Fraser has fun as an 'innocent' yank abroad. The script has enough genuine laugh out loud moments - many concerning a Grandad desperate for a drink (we all had one of those, right?) - to mitigate the tweeness elsewhere.

And if it's humour in a confined set up you're looking for, you could do a lot worse than catch Cheerful Weather For The Wedding. This British costume drama, if not cashing in then certainly capturing the same moment as W.E. and The King's Speech, is set at the waspish end of the 1930s that fans of Noel Coward will find familiar. On the day of the titular wedding, the exceptionally watchable Felicty Jones (as Dolly) is due to get wed... but previous amour Joseph (Luke Treadaway, broody as always) is desperately trying to find a way to prevent it happening in the buttoned-up manner that only a period piece can demonstrate. Although a little laboured in places, smart scripting from Mary Henely-Magill, based on the book by Julia Strachey keeps things moving in a sharply sarcastic direction for the most part, while Donald Rice (son of Musical lyricist Tim, fact fans), weaves in the flashbacks with admirable restraint.

Baseball In The Time Of Cholera
Baseball In The Time Of Cholera

On the short film front, I took the opportunity to catch window-cleaner documentary Paraíso, and the Haiti-set Baseball In The Time Of Cholera. Nadav Kurtz's film is an impressively shot evocation of what it means to string yourself to a skyscraper in Chicago, mixing footage of ropes sitting at the edge of buildings with immigrant workers talking about their fears and hopes.

Bryn Mooser and Bryan Darg, meanwhile, highlight the failure of the United Nations to accept the fact that, in all likelihood, it brought deadly cholera to Haiti in Baseball In The Time Of Cholera. To date, somewhere upwards of 7,000 people have died in the stricken country and yet despite the fact that the strain of cholera is particular to Nepal and there are pictures that seem to show untreated effluent pouring from the Nepalese peacekeeping encapmnnent, no one in authority wishes to acknowledge the responsibility. Mooser and Darg do a fine job of putting a human face on the tragedy.

Meanwhile, back on the not particularly mean streets of New York, the watching continues...

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