WEB EXTRA: A day at Tribeca

Posted Thursday, May 17, 6:07 p.m.

NEW YORK

Though there is free popcorn on the corner of West and Chambers, at $18 dollars a movie and $2 for the subway, TRIBECA Film Festival can put a dent in your wallet. But for a city like New York – it’s a darn good deal. Unlike other festivals, TRIBECA is unconfined to a particular area. Unfortunately, the venues are often not within walking distance from each other, which rules out any sense of communal enjoyment. Rather than a festival atmosphere based on love of the motion picture, TRIBECA is a celebration of New York’s underground cinephelia. Here’s a glance at the diversity of films it offers in just one day:

“Unearthed” is a classically cheesy Sci-Fi/horror movie that is only enjoyable after midnight, drunk and with a bunch of friends who are willing to throw things at the screen. It follows a motley crew of hot young people through a night of terror in the lonely desert where their lives are constantly threatened by a mysterious creature. The creature, which looks like a T-Rex-Predator hybrid, runs around shoving sharp pokers into peoples’ chests and leaving squirming metal devices roaming through their innards. But wait, here’s the best part-it’s an alien sent here to gather DNA from all five “kingdoms” of species. Even better-the only thing that can stop it is uranium. Thank goodness, this group of buff bods is led by their sexy sheriff, Annie, right into a uranium mine.

In the background of all this madness and mayhem is an American Indian myth of a creature that wiped out an entire population 900 years ago. There are cave paintings and even a wise Indian grandfather, played by Russell Means-the first national director of the American Indian Movement and author of “Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means”–that hide and then uncover the secret to defeat the beast. “Unearthed” is a theme park ride through absurd horror films of the nineties.

On the other side of the spectrum of motion pictures is The Invisbles, produced by Doctors Without Borders, a humanitarian-aid NGO. It’s a compilation of short vignettes exposing sickness in Bolivia, rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo, displacement in Colombia, child soldiers, poverty and violent oppression. It seeks to educate the general populace on issues that go unnoticed by most media. The film relies on the poignant stories rather than style and technique in direction. Perhaps it isn’t a wise entry into TRIBECA’a artistic bazaar.

“Maldeamores (Lovesickness),” directed by newcomers Carlos Ruiz and Mariem Perez Riera, is a true gem from Puerto Rico. Comprised of three separate stories about love, lust and jealousy, the picture explores human emotion and the complexity of relationships between men and women. When Miguel creates a hostage crisis while professing his love to a bus driver, the film becomes an exercise in toying with the audience’s sympathy. Miguel’s obsession with an unrequited love is both terrifying and depressing. In another story, elderly Flora becomes the center of a geriatric love triangle when her estranged ex-husband comes to live with her and her more recent ex-husband. Elsewhere, Luis Guzman’s character Ishmael has a secret that’s been discovered-he has been cheating on his wife with her cousin. Meanwhile, they’re son is discovering girls his own age. Ruiz and Riera have an incredible knack for exposing the spectrum of human emotions and involving every audience member.

While there may not have been any discernible TRIBECA community, in New York the world is your oyster. The subway is efficient and you can even eat on it- so I didn’t have to worry about throwing my popcorn out.

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