Friday, August 26, 2011

Overlooked DVD of the month - AMERICAN HARMONY

AMERICAN HARMONY is a lovely little documentary that follows a handful of barbershop quartets as they compete in the annual international competition in Indianapolis. I came to the movie with all the prejudice of one who's sole experience of barbershop was the satirical depiction of pretentious East Coast yuppies in TRADING PLACES. I had images of hearty East Coast brahmins, self-consciously anachronistic. And to a certain extent, I wasn't wrong.  There are almost 50 quartets who qualify to get to the international final each year, and I didn't see a single non-white male among them. And the stadium full of fans watching them were, shall we say, similarly racially homogeneous. Still for all that, you can't deny that the music is catchy, the humour gentle and harmless, and the vocal technique impressive.  And even if you don't give a damn about barbershop singing there's something compelling about watching these otherwise unremarkable people devoting so much time, energy and emotion to their craft. 

Almost against myself, I found myself completely enthralled with the competition, and feeling tense as we got to the final round.  And that has to be the proof of a successful documentary.  At their best, documentaries take us into niche worlds that we would never have known about, and give us insight and empathy. That's exactly what AMERICAN HARMONY does. Is it perfect? No.  The video quality is lo-fi (the movie was shot  by director Aengus James), and there isn't enough on the history and context of barbershop singing for my taste. But these are quibbles. AMERICAN HARMONY is a good time, it's insightful, and something of a relief after the relentlessly over-produced caterwauling of Glee.  

AMERICAN HARMONY played Boulder, Sedona and Nashville 2009 and was released in the US in 2009. It is available on DVD.

Monday, August 22, 2011


IN A BETTER WORLD is a pretentious, po-faced drama about the impotence of liberals in the face of brutality. It works by inter-weaving four examples of bullying that affect an earnest Medecins Sans Frontieres doctor called Anton (Mikael Persbrandt). 

In a medical camp in Kenya, Anton is forced to treat the savage gangster who has been brutalising the women of the village. He shows the liberals' reluctance to judge, treating the Bad Man as his Hippocratic oath demands, despite the objections of the villagers. Back in Denmark, Anton is bullied by a mechanic. Once again, Anton refuses to defend himself - literally turning the other cheek, in order to show his children that intelligence has triumphed over ignorance by refusing to stoop to its level. His words sound unconvincing. By contrast, young Christian (William Jøhnk Juels Nielsen), recently bereaved, returned to Denmark, and friends with Anton's son, Elias, puts up a more muscular response to bullying. On his first day at school, he makes a moral judgement and intervenes to help the bullied Elias. And faced with the impotence of Elias' father - an impotence Anton claims is the high moral ground - Christian once again takes matters into his own hands. 

What can we say about this film? It is well acted (particularly by the two children), beautifully photographed (DP Morten Søborg using a Red One), and moves at a swift pace. But the characters are archetypes rather than real people - they exist to make a point rather than to involve us in their distress. As a result, the emotional scenes between Christian and his father (Ulrich Thomsen) do not have the emotional power that they should. Moreover, writer-director Susanne Bier fails to create tension, so clumsily does she foreshadow her climactic scenes. I also wonder whether Bier intended to so thoroughly discredit the possibility of Liberalism in her film. And I wonder whether the Academy realised that is what this movie did when it voted it the Best Foreign Language Film of 2010. It is, of course, no such thing.

IN A BETTER WORLD won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2011, beating Biutiful, Dogtooth, Incendies and Hors de la Loi. It also won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film. IN A BETTER WORLD played Toronto 2010 and Sundance 2011. It was released in 2010 in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Italy. It was released earlier this year in Hungary, Brazil, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Spain, the USA, the Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Russia, Singapore, Poland and Argentina. It is currently on release in Japan, Ireland and the UK.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


This girl's so wet for me I can hear the waves breaking in her fanny 

Five years ago, the British teen TV channel, E4, broadcast two new shows.  "Skins" was designed to shock the bourgeoisie with its tales of teen promiscuity and drug-taking.  The cast was full of pretty young things playing privileged teens in affluent Bristol.  By contrast, "The Inbetweeners" was about the  normal boring suburban kids who live in housing estates in middle England. Kids with parents who smother them rather than ignore them - kids who struggle to get laid, argue over petrol money, and get wasted on two pints of lager.  Kids who have shit cars, and girlfriends who dump them, and spend their time farting and having a wank. 

"The Inbetweeners" was as much about modern life as "Skins" - with all the usual references to video games, text messaging, and interpreting the use of the "smiley face".  But, for all that, "The Inbetweeners" was basically just an old-fashioned coming-of-age comedy, with four likeable protagonists worrying about the stuff we all worried about at that age, no matter which decade we grew up in.  The basic premise therefore had broad appeal, hitting a wider demographic than "Skins".  It showed us who we really were rather than who we wished we could've been. And the cherry on the cake was the razor-sharp, bitingly funny dialogue from writers Damon Beesley and Iain Morris (the guys behind "Peep Show"). Not to mention the young cast's fearless attitude toward humiliating themselves in public.  To give you some examples....Posh geek Will Mackenzie (Simon Bird) is seen shitting himself in his AS exam; lanky dullard Neil Sutherland (Blake Harrison) is seen cutting his nob while pissing into a beer can in the back of a car; earnest but dim Simon Cooper (Joe Thomas) is seen modelling a speedo with a testacle sticking out of it; and Jay Cartwright (James Buckley) talks almost exclusively about "clunge" while completely failing to get any. 

The genius of the team behind "The Inbetweeners" was to kill off the TV show when it was still brilliant and not to invent some piss-poor reason to spin it out.  The kids had done their three terms in the sixth form over three short series, and that was the end of it. And this new movie looks less like the typical shameless Hollywood cash-in (you'll have to wait for the MTV produced version for that) than a credible and plausible way to continue the kids' story into the summer holiday after the school year has ended.  By letting the four teens go to Greece on a cheap package holiday the writers get new targets for their humour -  budget flights, dodgy accommodation, sleazy holiday reps, club-night entrance scams, and holiday romance - as well as letting the cast do what comes naturally - that is, drinking, vomiting, shitting, stripping off at inopportune moments, and somehow, by some miracle, actually finding girls that'll give them the time of day.  

I laughed out loud all the way through the flick, loved the in-references to events in the TV series (Will inadvertently pissing off the disabled - but especially the cameo of Mr Gilbert, my favourite character from the TV series, over the end credits). And while I can't really judge, I'm guessing that the characters are clearly enough established within the world of the movie that even a person who hadn't watched the TV series would find it as funny.  If I'm honest, Ben Wheeler's DV photography doesn't really need to be seen on a big screen, but this is in no way a glorified TV movie.  There are few greater feelings in life than to be in a crowded cinema with a bunch of people sharing in the same humour. Proper R-rated humour that isn't about trying oh-so-hard to be subversive and fails (HORRIBLE BOSSES, I'm looking at you) but that stems from the reality of the moment and the authenticity of how kids speak.  Seeing the lads dance over to some unsuspecting "clunge" on their first night in Greece is worth the price of the ticket alone! 

THE INBETWEENERS MOVIE is on release in the UK and Ireland. It opens in Australia on October 20th and in Spain in January 2012. The Inbetweeners TV show is available on DVD and on iTunes.   MTV is currently producing a US version.

Monday, August 15, 2011

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES - Oh, in the name of God! Now I know what it feels like to be God!

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is, much like its iconic predecessor, a thoughtful, emotionally affecting film.  It feels much more like a character-driven drama than a generic summer blockbuster - which is not to underplay how good the final action set-piece is.

As the movie opens, Will Rodman is testing a potential cure for Alzheimers, ALZ-112, on chimps at the GenSys lab. When GenSys shuts down the trial, Will rescues a baby chimp called Caesar, not having the heart to put him down and unaware that Caesar has ALZ-112 in his genes.  Seeing the impressive impact of ALZ-112 on Caesar's brain, Will starts testing the drug on his father, who is miraculously cured.  

Flash forward a few years and Caesar is an older chimp, very clever, but straining at the leash of domestication.  After a misunderstanding turns nasty, Caesar is finally impounded in an animal shelter while Will appeals for his release. Worse still, Will's father Charles has fallen into remission - his body resisting the ALZ-112 and the Alzheimer's back with a vengeance. This prompts Will to create an even more virulent strain of the cure, ALZ-113, oblivious to its devastating side-effects on humans. And while Charles refuses to take it, Caesar steals it and infects his fellow primates at the shelter. Because, while Will has become ever more confused about his identity as a Man of Science, letting his love and arrogance warp his judgement, Caesar has become far clearer about his identity as an ape. Newly politicised by his brutal treatment in the shelter, and disenchanted by Will's refusal to let him be anything other than a cute family friend on a leash, he leads the apes in a rebellion.

The strength of the film is the depiction of Caesar's journey to social and political consciousness. Andy Serkis, who stole every scene as Gollum in LORD OF THE RINGS, is simply brilliant as Caesar - portraying the journey from youthful naivete, to hurtful rejection, to resolution. I kept thinking that Caesar's story was similar to that of Frankenstein's monster - the creation of an arrogant scientist; not really a man and yet possessing a man's intelligence; confused and eager to fit in, but frightening the humans he meets. So powerful is Serkis' performance that you root for Caesar, even more than for the human protagonist. And when he reaches his final declamatory scenes, the audience audibly gasps in awe.  It was a crime that Serkis didn't win an Oscar as Gollum, and the Academy should not overlook him now.  

The Academy also shouldn't overlook the behind-the-camera work director Rupert Wyatt (THE ESCAPIST), DP Andrew Lesnie (LORDS OF THE RINGS) and the effects team that so vividly created Caesar and so seamlessly blended him into a live-action background.

The weakness of the film is that the humans are by far less interesting than the apes.  James Franco's Rodman is far less powerful and charismatic than Victor Frankenstein. In fact, he just comes across as a sappy dope.  His girlfriend (Frieda Pinto) exists merely as a foil - occasionally pointing to his folly but going along with it anyway. The corporate boss (David Oyelowo), is surprise surprise, amoral and purely profit-motivated.  The father too, is simply there to tug the heart-strings, although John Lithgow is too good to allow a potentially mawkish final scene to become kitsch.  Brian Cox and Tom Felton as the animal shelter guards are simply pantomime villains, and I do hope Felton aka Draco Malfoy, doesn't get typecast as the insecure bully.  

Still, despite the cardboard cut-out humans, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES more than delivered in the character of Caesar, and in the final action sequence.  And I really can't wait to see the next instalment in the franchise.  As we've left the movie, we know that humans are going to be infected by the virus, but we haven't seen their hysterical response. And Caesar is still an ape who loves his human friend, and forbids his followers to deliberately kill humans. In other words, his rebellion is of the Gandhi/Martin Luther King variety. I am fascinated to know whether it is Caesar who is radicalised to the point where humans end up as slaves, or whether he is deposed by the brutalised chimp who was infected with ALZ-113.  I am NOT however, eager to know what happens to Will, his drippy girlfriend or any of the other humans.  

DANIEL PLAINVIEW adds: I agree, the humans are all ineffectual idiots - set-piece props for the more complex apes. 

For me though, this was a more serious omission. There are clearly parallels in this story with the African American civil rights movement - and hence the question of whether Caesar is Malcolm X or Martin Luther King, and how the story develops from here, is key.

However, casting the "white people" as either textbook Republican money-grubbing baddies, or ineffectual liberal good-at-heart nicies, is in this context disappointing. The reaction of society at large to the ape movement is probably more interesting than the ape movement itself, because it gives us an opportunity to explore and comment on different reactions of difference, fear and prejudice.

This films gives us two choices - you're either a full-on exploiter, or a patronising do-gooder. Particularly sad was the way Draco Malfoy was used - he's just a sneering arsehole - and then there's the mentally retarded nice-guy who tries ineffectually to look after the chimps at the shelter. What polarised American nonsense!

Having said all that - it was well made, a lot of fun, some of the performances were excellent, and we can all rest happy knowing that most of humanity is going to be wiped out in Episode 2 - and the remaining rump are likely to be spunkier, more interesting characters (we hope).

THE RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is on release in Malaysia, Indonesia, Belarus, Denmark, Greece, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, Thailand, Brazil, Canada, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Spain, Turkey, the USA, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Portugal, the UK, Finland, Ireland and Norway. It opens next weekend in Sweden, Georgia, Hungary and the Netherlands. It opens in Italy on September 23rd and in Japan on 7th October.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Preview - THE SMURFS

Smurfs are cute little blue creatures with white floppy hats who live in mushroom-houses in a magical forest. They are cared for by Papa Smurf, the Gandhi of cartoon characters - so caring and lovely that he even turned around the character of Smurfette - the girl smurf sent by evil wizard Gargamel to tempt them. The Smurfs are so without guile that they defy post-modern teenage cynicism regarding their sexual proclivities and political leanings. Okay, there may be a hundred boy smurfs and just one smurfette, but what's so odd about that?!  

What I like about this new live-action/animation movie is that it both embraces the innate loveliness of smurfs, while also tipping its hat to the anachronism of Peyo's creation.  What you get is a movie that is basically very simple and sweet, but also contains the odd witty wink to the camera - such as mocking the use of the word "smurf" as an all-purpose asterisked curse-word; or having Papa Smurf decode a magic spell by looking at an old book of Smurf "mythology" aka a Peyo comic book!  

The contrast of Smurf naivete and modern-day cynicism is achieved, as in the movie ENCHANTED, by having the wizard Gargamel chase the smurfs through a "vortex" to contemporary Manhattan, where they are stranded until they can magic a blue moon and get back home.  Just as Amy Adams' Giselle made Patrick Dempsey's Robert a softer, more fun-loving person in ENCHANTED, the Smurfs give Patrick and Grace Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays) a new-found joyfulness and confidence.  I liked the parallel between Patrick discovering the confidence to be a new father with poor Clumsy discovering that he doesn't have to be defined by his name, as all smurfs typically are.

So, as you can tell, I just about enjoyed THE SMURFS because, well, smurfs are cute, and made me feel nostalgic. But, objectively, this is a very badly made movie. Director Roger Gosnell (BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA) and DP Phil Meheux (THE MASK OF ZORRO) shoot everything in a workman-like over-lit obvious style; Hank Azaria is mis-cast and hammy as Gargamel (imagine Jim Carrey in the role - so much better); the plot is predictable; and for a kids film without sustained adult in-jokes, the run-time, at 100 minutes, is too long.  For all those reasons, this isn't the kind of children's film that adults can watch without the excuse of taking the kids.  But as genuinely earnest, warm-hearted entertainment for the young cinema viewer, it will, no doubt, hit the spot.

THE SMURFS is on release in the US, Canada, Argentina, Spain, Belgium, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Turkey. It opens next Friday in the UK, China, Iceland, Ireland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia and Paraguay. It opens on August 19th in Estonia, Lithuania and Poland and on August 25th in Denmark and Hungary.  THE SMURFS opens on September 2nd in Singapore, Finland, Norway and Sweden; on September 8th in Greece and Japan; on September 16th in Italy and on October 6th in Thailand. 

Saturday, August 06, 2011


SUPER 8 is a supremely self-indulgent movie, and whether or not you enjoy it depends on how far you share the nostalgia of the film-makers. Writer-directer J. J. Abrams and cinematographer Larry Fong grew up in the 1970s, making amateur genre movies on Super-8mm cameras, and obsessing over the movies of Steven Spielberg, whose movies were themselves self-indulgent. After all, take away that sense of visual wonder - the spaceship in E.T.; the pirate ship in THE GOONIES; the effects work in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS - and every Spielberg film is basically the same. They are movies that document the struggle of kids growing up in working-class middle-America in an era when mum and dad are divorced, both parents are at work, and the kids are pretty much left to their own devices. The world of Spielberg is full of peril, but the plucky kids always pull through thanks to friendship and smarts. And when they do, well, their previously uncomprehending, distant parents show up with a big hug and a few tears. These are movies of alienated children creating a sense of family where there was none: through their friends - and finally by forcing their parents to notice them. The aliens, the sharks, the pirate ships - these are basically just super-dramatic MacGuffins.

Of course, every genre film has its subtext. Zombie movies from the 60s and 70s are really depicting society's fears of Soviet infiltrators, or the rise of consumerism. So it shouldn't be surprising to find that E.T. is really about divorce. But what I do resent is how Spielberg allows what should be sub-text to dominate his movies. I don't mind it getting a little dusty in the cinema at the end of a movie but I do resent the infantilisation of the audience that characterises his work and the emotional manipulation that swamps the final act in every Spielberg movie - and absolutely ruins A.I. This is, after all, the director who felt it necessary to pick out a little girl being swept into the Warsaw Ghetto in a red coat - as if the tragedy of the Holocaust were not enough. The audience had to be directed to the tragedy. The result is that SCHINDLER'S LIST - in some ways an admirable film - is irredeemably kitsch.

All this may seem a little off the point, but once you understand that SUPER 8 is a love-letter to Spielberg - not a pastiche, but often containing elements of pastiche - it makes more sense. J.J.Abrams and Larry Fong want to take us back to their childhood - to create that same sense of wonder at the magic of celluloid - to a time before the meaningless CGI and fatuous camera angles of Michael Bay. The nostalgia is even wider. The opening shot shows us a sign in an "employee-owned" steel mill - and the film-makers want us to appreciate that this was an era where America made things; where greed wasn't good; where gas was cheap; towns were communities; where kids still called adults Mr. and Mrs; and the most trouble you could get into was to smoke a little pot. In essence, J.J.Abrams and Larry Fong are taking us back to an era before irony and slick production values. Maybe that's why Abrams directorial style (insofar as he has one outside of making Spielberg flicks) is creating lens flares. Lens flares are typically seen as a mistake - as amateur - as something to be avoided. But according to an interview in American Cinematographer magazine, for Abrams "Flares can be purposeful and addictive, and at the right time they remind me, in a good way, that I'm watching a movie. It doesn't take me out of it. I think it draws me in deeper." In other words, Abrams is in love with cinema, and he wants to be reminded that he's watching a movie every once in a while. He is in love with his childhood and he wants us to be too.

The movie takes place in the 1970s in Spielbergian mid-town working-class America. A bunch of school-kids are making a Super-8 zombie movie, sneaking out to film late at night. They witness their school science teacher deliberately derail a military train - an event that triggers their town being taken over by sinister military types looking for the train's cargo - cargo that is messing with the town's electricity, scaring its animals, wreaking havoc with its machinery and abducting its people...With so much real-life Area-51 type activity, the kids at first treat it all as a great opportunity to film some real-life special effects, but when their friend Alice goes missing, the adventure really begins.....

When the film works best, it's showing us the wonder of kids obsessing over celluloid. You get a real sense of camaraderie and fun from the young ensemble cast, and I particularly loved the soft satire of directorial obsession that is Riley Griffiths' Charles asking the photo-developer for a rush job (three days!) and screaming "production values". I also loved the nascent love story between young Joe (Joel Courtney) and Alice (Elle Fanning). The gory special effects are fun - Larry Fong obviously had a lot of fun re-creating the amateur look of the kids' Super 8 film (shown over the credits) - and Ryan Lee as the pyromaniac Cary pretty much steals every scene he's in. J.J.Abrams does a great job in keeping the monster off screen for as long as possible, building up tension, and Larry Fong brilliantly recreates the look and feel of both CLOSE ENCOUNTERS.

But the film is let down by its need to recreate the emotional schmaltz of a Spielberg film. I understand why Joe's bereaved father, deputy Jackson (Kyle Chandler) is distant from his son. But poor Ron Eldard didn't have any time or room to establish why Louis Dainard was such a drunk, why he was so mean to his daughter, Alice, or why he improbably became so caring by the end of the film. Worst of all, I felt it was rather too convenient that anyone who touches the monster creates a "psychic connection". That convenient little plot device allows for a last-act redemption and touchy-feely blast off that is utterly emotionally unearned. The overall verdict is the same as for any Spielberg flick - great camaraderie among the kids, and amazing visual effects - but all ruined by improbable reconciliation and schmaltz at the end.

SUPER 8 was released in June in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the USA, Ukraine, Canada, Taiwan, Vietnam, Belarus, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Russia, South Korea, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Qatar, Sweden, Turkey, Armenia and Japan. It was released n July in Israel, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal, Finland and Norway. It was released this week in France, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, Mexico and the UK. It goes on release next week in the Netherlands, Brazil, Colombia and Paraguay. It will be released in Spain on August 19th and in Italy on September 9th.

Comment by Blog Contributor Daniel Plainview: Let's be honest about it - it was a piece of fluff fan-fiction BMX-ing late 70s homage to big Steve. But having said that, it was fun while it lasted. You wouldn't touch it with a barge pole on DVD, for all the reasons you've stated. But spending a tenner and seeing it at the cinema was inoffensive, fun, and stupid at the same time. 

I think the only reservation I would have to add to that is that the schmaltz doesn't work. As you say, it is emotionally unearned - we feel no depth of reconciliation with the wee lassie and her father, and frankly we don't care enough about the central character to mind what happens to him. In fact, had the monster given them some fucked up disease, or just killed them all, I would probably have laughed maniacally rather than being upset. Instead, it set up a psychic connection by fingering them, which is gay in so many different ways.

Still a fun movie though

Monday, August 01, 2011

Late Review by A.H. - SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK (2008)

Everyone is disappointing the more you know them.
By turns comic and poignant, the maze of love, and of the memory of love, and the idiosyncratic forms that maze takes, has been a motif of the writer Charlie Kaufman’s recent work. And yet the maze of SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK – in contrast to his previous doubling rabbit-holes – is neither internal, nor scrambled through; rather it is a large-scale theatre, a simulacrum of the city of New York, where director Caden Cotard (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) meticulously puts on, observes, and so re-experiences the daily troubles and past disappointments in his relationships with his wives and lovers. That the protagonist is an artist considering his time with the women around him may be a nod to the familiar – but it is in the effect of this life-long, theatrical, melancholic project that the film becomes a remarkable and ambitious variation in Kaufman’s characteristically unique design.

From the opening of the film, Cotard is, as his name suggests, preoccupied with the approach of death and the disintegration of his body, which only seems to widen the tense distance between himself and his wife. He directs a successful production of Death of a Salesman, and is subsequently awarded a MacArthur Fellowship that gives him the funds to create his immense life-theatre in a disused airplane hangar. This time of achievement in his professional life is weighted by his increasingly failing health (an unending anxiety seems to surface in pustules, disturbing shakes, problems in bed), and his complex personal life, marked by absence and regret and obsession, which in turn, Escher-like, becomes material for his grand play.

Kaufman has always drawn skewed perspective brilliantly, particularly in highlighting the difference in perception within relationships, and he continues this trick in SYNECDOCHE. When Cotard’s first wife Adele (Catherine Keener), a painter, declines an invitation to attend a performance of one of her husband’s plays because she must spend time packing up her canvases for an exhibition abroad, there is a hilarious cut to a shot of her canvases in their boxes – she paints on the most miniscule of scales and the crates she uses resemble matchboxes she could pack in a few minutes. Similarly, when Cotard discovers, to his horror, that his daughter from his first marriage has become a tattooed celebrity at the age of ten, his second wife Claire (Michelle Williams) exclaims that everyone has tattoos and turns her back to lift up her shirt revealing an enormous, monstrous tattoo of her own – which Cotard then denies having ever seen.

Keener and Williams are faultless in these roles, as the rest of the cast generally tend to be whenever they are on screen. That cast includes Samantha Morton; Jennifer Jason Leigh; Hope Davis; Emily Watson; Dianne Weist; and it feels important to name the soaring ensemble here as they are each gone too swiftly. But that, achingly, is the nature of the piece. As the play comes to its end, so Kaufman’s questions become plain: where does love go? Where does life go? Their ethereal conclusion is one of the many ways this film rewards watching and, of course, re-watching.

SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK played Cannes (where it was beaten to the Palme D'Or by GOMORRAH), Toronto, Chicago and London 2008. It won the award for Best First Feature and the Robert Altman Award at the Independent Spirit Awards in 2009. It went on limited release in 2008 and 2009, and is now available to rent and own.