The 18thannual Tribeca Film Festival has come to a close, and it was a busy one for your humble correspondent: I took in 32 new feature films (and a couple of revival screenings as well) over the course of the 12-day festival. And as has become my custom, I went heavy on non-fiction; there’s just so much good documentary filmmaking at this particular moment, it’s much harder to go wrong, and Tribeca’s doc selection committee has really been on their game the past couple of years. But I also made room for a few noteworthy narrative films, and even an in-betweener or two. Here are some thoughts on all of them:
If you went to any Tribeca screenings, you’ll get the above joke.
Framing John DeLorean
The central framing device of Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce’s clever bio-doc – that it’s amazing that they haven’t made a movie out of the John DeLorean story yet, since so many have almost been produced and it’s so suited to the medium – is undone just a tiny bit by the fact that a movie based on that story, Driven, premiered at TIFF last fall. That complaint aside, this is a playful and engaging take on the tale of the auto exec’s spectacular fall, augmenting riveting archival footage and insightful interviews with bits of reenactment featuring Alec Baldwin, Josh Charles, and Morena Baccarin. It’s a tricky mix, and it takes the film some time to convince us that the narrative sections are necessary at all. But the filmmakers ultimately move into fresh, satisfying territory by viewing the story through the meta-movie lens. And ultimately, you see what drew all those filmmakers and producers: it is one hell of a story.