Tribeca Film Festival Early Bird highlights

Parents, Elvis & Nixon, Everybody Knows...Elizabeth Murray and Reset

by Anne-Katrin Titze

Michael Shannon stars with Kevin Spacey in Liza Johnson's Elvis & Nixon
Michael Shannon stars with Kevin Spacey in Liza Johnson's Elvis & Nixon Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Thierry Demaizière and Alban Teurlai's look at Benjamin Millepied (Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan choreographer) in Reset; Everybody Knows...Elizabeth Murray by Kristi Zea (two-time Oscar nominee for Sam Mendes' Revolutionary Road and James L. Brooks' As Good As It Gets), with journals performed by Meryl Streep; Christian Tafdrup's Parents (Forældre) with Søren Malling (Nikolaj Arcel's A Royal Affair) and Bodil Jørgensen (Cæcilia Holbek Trier's Agnus Dei) soon in Anders Thomas Jensen's Men & Chicken with Mads Mikkelsen; Elvis Presley (Shannon) and Richard Nixon (Spacey) meeting in Liza Johnson's Elvis & Nixon, co-written by Joey Sagal, Cary Elwes and Hanala Sagal (seen in Ferne Pearlstein's The Last Laugh) are some of the highlights of this year's Tribeca Film Festival.

Bart Freundlich's Wolves and Robert Scott Wildes' Poor Boy, also in Tribeca, feature Michael Shannon, who stars with Kirsten Dunst, Jaeden Lieberher, Joel Edgerton, Adam Driver, Paul Sparks and Sam Shepard in Jeff Nichols' Midnight Special currently in theatres across the US and opens in the UK on April 8.

Michael Shannon (Oscar nominee for Revolutionary Road) is currently on Broadway in Long Day's Journey Into Night with Jessica Lange, Gabriel Byrne and John Gallagher Jr.. The Roundabout Theatre production directed by Jonathan Kent is in previews and will open on April 27.

Parents

Parents
Parents

Parents certainly features the most bizarre moment of male bonding this year's Tribeca Film Festival has to offer thus far. In a turn of events straight out of David Lynch's Lost Highway book of identity magic, Kjeld (Søren Malling) dreams to relive his younger days. This comes true in unexpected ways. With their son Esben (Anton Honik) leaving for college, Kjeld and Vibeke (Bodil Jørgensen) feel that their suburban house has become too big and empty for them. They decide to move back into the small attic apartment in central Copenhagen - the real estate agent calls the place "super sexy" - where they were happy together 25 years ago before their son was born. Be careful what you wish for, director Christian Tafdrup's oedipal tragic-comedy suggests. This is a film where doing laundry and raking leaves are the actions that glue together fragile states of mind. Is the white rabbit or the torrential rain to blame for mysterious rejuvenation?

World Premiere - April 18, 6:30pm - Regal Battery Park Stadium 11 Expected to attend: Christian Tafdrup, Anton Honik, Miri-Ann Beuschel

Elvis & Nixon

Elvis & Nixon
Elvis & Nixon

The unpredictability of every face-to-face meeting between human beings is where spontaneity comes from. We first meet Elvis Presley (Michael Shannon) in his egg-yolk-yellow-walled TV room at Graceland, 36 hours before he visited Richard Nixon [Kevin Spacey} at the White House on December 21, 1970. The news programs he watches about America upset him so much, that "the King" shoots the screen and decides to do something to stop the country from what he later calls "slipping into anarchy." His plan is to meet the president and be appointed to a position that would allow him somehow to "infiltrate" the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead and possibly the Black Panthers, undercover, of course. In Liza Johnson's witty take on the famous meeting from which a photograph remains, the two men in the public eye have a few things in common - they like M&Ms and dislike the Beatles.

Centrepiece Gala World Premiere - April 18, 9:00pm - John Zuccotti Theater BMCC Expected to attend: Liza Johnson, Kevin Spacey, Michael Shannon, Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Knoxville, Colin Hanks, Sky Ferreira

Everybody Knows...Elizabeth Murray

Everybody Knows...Elizabeth Murray
Everybody Knows...Elizabeth Murray

Acclaimed production designer for films such as Martin Scorsese's The Departed and Goodfellas, Jonathan Demme's The Silence Of The Lambs, Philadelphia and Married To The Mob, Kristi Zea fills her debut feature documentary up to the brim of the cup with tributes by those who knew artist Elizabeth Murray. Art world luminaries including Chuck Close, Paula Cooper, Jennifer Bartlett, Arne Glimcher, Roberta Smith, Glenn Lowry and Robert Storr comment on camera about her life and work. Close at one point reflects mischievously: "It looks like a woman made it" and continues to say that she would hate that remark. The film explores her private life through her children and husband Bob Holman, Bowery Poetry Club founder and an early programmer of the St. Mark's Poetry Project. In 2005, the Museum of Modern Art in New York exhibited a career retrospective of her work. Elizabeth Murray, when asked about the effect she wanted her art to have, she said she would like the viewer to feel like she feels when listening to Maria Callas sing.

Special Screening - April 23, 4:30pm - Whitney Museum of American Art Expected to attend: Kristi Zea, Bob Holman

Reset

Reset
Reset

Reset is a marvelous look into the emotions at work for work. Benjamin Millepied, after 20 years in the US, took over the direction of one the world's most prestigious dance companies, the Opéra National de Paris, in late 2014. The treasures here are in the details. Thierry Demaizière and Alban Teurlai chronicle the path to the premiere of Millepied's first ballet in the fall of 2015. He lets the filmmakers get very close to reveal aspects of the creative process through showing us rehearsals, the bureaucratic nuisances to be dealt with by his committed assistant, Virginia, a looming strike, how to get the stage to be a "Bob Wilson-style white box", concealed injuries, complicated wooden benches - the charged environment is fascinating to watch. We hear composer Nico Muhly and the energetic young conductor Maxime Pascal discuss the quality of a lion's roar and the need for a "more menacing, dangerous piano." And then there are the spectacular young dancers and the end product that makes it all worthwhile. The soul is nourished and the mind can set in as well, as a woman emerging from a man's rib, like a water lily, only uses him as a bench the next second.

International Premiere - April 23, 9:30pm - SVA Theater 1 Expected to attend: Thierry Demaizière, Alban Teurlai, Benjamin Millepied

The 15th edition of the Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, runs from April 13 through April 24.

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