By Sean Boelman
The Tribeca Festival is one of the largest gatherings for film and media in New York City, and represents the transition from the spring to the fall festival circuit. Before film festivals become all about predicting who are going to be the next big awards contenders, we get another opportunity to see some great premieres and encores of other films that have been lighting up other festivals.
We at disappointment media are covering the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival — in person for the first time ever, as we have only covered previous editions virtually. We have already gotten the chance to sneak a peek at certain films in the lineup, and here are some we think you shouldn’t miss out on.
Dustin Guy Defa’s dramedy The Adults debuted earlier this year at Berlinale and is making a stop at Tribeca before its theatrical release later this summer. Starring Michael Cera as an awkward guy who finds his short trip home extended by an addiction to a local poker game, this is the type of comedy that gets most of its humor from putting its characters in increasingly uncomfortable situations. The characters are purposefully grating at times, but excellent performances from Michael Cera, Hannah Gross, and Sophia Lillis are more than worth the price of admission.
One of the biggest world premieres at this year’s Tribeca Festival is the LGBTQIA+ drama Our Son, which plays out almost as a gay version of Marriage Story. The film stars Luke Evans and Billy Porter as a long married couple who decide to separate suddenly to one of their dismay, setting off a devastating custody battle. It would be difficult to find a more emotionally harrowing film than this in the lineup this year, and Evans and Porter’s performances are the icing on the exceptional cake.
Irene Lusztig’s documentary Richland is the type of film that is hard to recommend in that it is not a particularly pleasant watch, but it is essential viewing despite its often depressing nature. The film tells the story of a town in Washington state that was created to house the workers of a nearby nuclear site, but has since grown to be a microcosm of the generational conflict happening in America right now. The points that Lusztig is able to make with her verité footage are shockingly profound and harrowingly effective.
Rule of Two Walls
This year’s Tribeca Festival lineup includes several documentaries about the war in Ukraine, but there’s unlikely to be one as innovative and unique as David Gutnik’s Rule of Two Walls. What makes this documentary stand out is its hopeful approach to the topic. Although the film pulls no punches when it comes to depicting the aftermath of this conflict on the Ukrainian people, its focus is on a group of artists who have decided to remain in their country and continue to create their art despite the circumstances. The result is a surprisingly hopeful reminder of how the human will can overcome, and how perseverance is necessary in the face of adversity — a perspective that needs to be heard right now.
With its 2023 edition, Tribeca is introducing a new “psychotronic” sidebar called “Escape From Tribeca,” which features a much weirder and wilder set of midnight movies than festival-goers may be used to seeing in the festival’s usual Midnight lineup. One of the highlights of that group of films this year is Suitable Flesh, directed by Joe Lynch (Mayhem) from a story by H. P. Lovecraft. As one would expect, it’s a fittingly unhinged, campy throwback — with tons of gore and sex. You really couldn’t ask for more from a midnight movie.
The 2023 Tribeca Festival screens at the 2023 Tribeca Festival, which runs June 7-18 in NYC and June 19 through July 2 online.
The Snake Hole
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