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The Odds of Emotional Detachment & A Hard Farewell


By Roger Costa


Every now and then a young filmmaker emerges with a personal project that quickly announces the beginning of a cinematic kingdom. That’s the case here, an impressively entertaining and accurate micro budget indie that examines humiliation, sexual submissiveness and ultimately the inevitable attempts of romantic connections. Taking the lead role, writing and directing this dark, dry and utterly radical dramedy, Joanna Arnow proves she is on the right track to become a Brooklyn auteur with a universal language. She demonstrates courage, boldness and sincerity with the material whether this is autobiographical or not. As the film opens, she is lying naked in bed next to her “sex-friend” and performs a sexual gesture clearly setting the satirical, provocative mood of her narrative.

Structured as an odyssey through the daily activities of an emotionally detached young woman, Arnow conceives an easily relatable, organic, deadpan hardcore piece of modern filmmaking. Arnow builds her film with melancholy, sarcasm and a lively sense of belonging- to the city, to the crowds surrounding her. There’s also an intimate and inventive editing process that cuts rapidly through her activities and contemplations (at work, at home, wandering around, or lying in bed with her “friends”). Arnow is like a crosscut between an early Greta Gerwig, Wes Anderson, Woody Allen and Eric Rohmer. She has plenty of charisma, developing a tender connection with the viewer.

Looking for meaning and something to hold on to, Ann goes from her unsatisfying job to spending time with her parents with the same sense of hopelessness. It feels as she is disconnected from everyone around, despite they seem to be on top of her always demanding. She constantly visits an older man whom she has a strange, submissive relationship built on sexual manipulation and humiliation. Eventually she starts seeing other men attempting for a life-changing romantic connection, instead of just fulfilling half of Brooklyn’s fetishes. Her chance comes in the form of Chris (a perfect turn by Babak Tafti), a caring and thoughtful Subway-lover who may show her a different perspective on relationships and co-dependence.

Filled with cynical humor, incredibly convincing performances and memorable subtle elements (such as the tension created through text messages, the loneliness expressed on her face even during sex and how she manages her home- especially the way she prepares her food), Arnow affectingly immerses us in this unexplored world of a woman trying to overcome the odds of loneliness and acceptance.

Winner of the Future/Now Award at Montclair Film Festival and an acclaimed selection at last year’s Cannes where it was nominated for the Golden Camera award, this is a fresh, audaciously delightful and very promising feature debut.

(Magnolia Pictures. Now Playing at Film at Lincoln Center, 144 West 65th Street, NYC)


James Norton gives a career best performance in this heart-breaking father-son tragic drama relationship, which can easily list him as the first Oscar-worthy performance of 2024. He plays a young father in preparation for a hard farewell. Diagnosed with a terminal illness, the 35-year-old window cleaner has dedicated his entire life to the care of his 4-year-old son, Michael, who was abandoned by his mother moments after she gave birth. Now he goes on a painful quest to find the perfect family home for his son when the inevitable strikes.

Written and directed by Oscar nominee Uberto Pasolini (nephew of the great Luchino Visconti), this is a sensitive, wonderfully observational and singular drama about loss, connection and hope. He captures idyllic images from the traumatic situation just by letting his actors shine in silent moments where emotion speaks volumes.

The little kid who plays Michael is also phenomenal, a revelation. Daniel Lamont grabs the audience by the heart delivering a competent and highly dramatic performance, an impressive turn for such a young actor in his first role ever.

Nominated for the Venice Horizons Award at Venice Film Festival and named Best Film at Warsaw International Film Festival, Pasolini scores a delicate, inspiring and compelling drama about the hardships of loss, abandon and letting go.

(Cohen Media Group. Now Playing exclusively at Quad Cinema, 34 West 13th Street, Manhattan)

Social Press . 01/05/2024

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