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Tribeca Festival June 5-16

five shots from movies by Powell and Pressburger.
Scenes from Made in England with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. (Courtesy of the filmmaker.)

A fest boasting 1,001 new media events for all ages doesn’t forget five pioneering artists of yesteryear

Tribeca! Before we get to the milestone movies of this 23rd Tribeca Festival, let’s do a thumbnail history of the fest, which was created to spur the economic development of downtown Manhattan. Financial aid was the original mission of the Tribeca Film Festival, post-9/11. The goal was getting New Yorkers to venture south of 14th Street, see a movie and spread a little money around our hurting neighborhoods.

 Tribeca Festival logo with text June 5–16, 2024.
Tribeca Festival logo. (Courtesy of Tribeca Festival.)

Today, the Tribeca Festival’s packed with multimedia attractions, still under the leadership of co-founders Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro, and still boasting a relentlessly larger-than-ever film lineup. It continues to draw New York visitors and longtime movie theater devotees to multiplexes and single screen cinemas in Greenwich Village and Tribeca/Soho. Since the deadly spring of 2020, the Tribeca Festival has been a good Samaritan in helping struggling retail businesses and restaurants recover in a shaky, post-COVID economy

Six years ago, Rosenthal and De Niro greenlighted James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems to acquire a majority holding in Tribeca Enterprises, and Murdoch joined the two artisans in charting Tribeca’s future. The festival depends on many deep-pocketed corporate sponsors. For years the major underwriter was American Express (“Don’t leave home without it”). This year the festival is “presented by” the cryptocurrency OKX, with its own native blockchain – which gives you an idea of how the-times-they-are-a-changin’. 

Tribeca continues to offer a menu of something for everyone – “storytelling in all its forms, including film, tv, music, audio storytelling, games and immersive.” Some are free, some can be New York sticker-shock pricey. This year’s festival offers a $3,500 Godfather Pass to De Niro Con, a four-day birthday celebration of the actor’s 80th. The pass includes VIP access-for-two cocktail reception, the De Niro Archive Gallery, costume exhibits, set re-creations, a six-screen immersive film, plus a signed limited edition book, merch and tix to a Red Carpet premiere. 

You like conversations with marquee names? 2024 Tribeca featured 50th anniversary showings of Marty Scorsese’s Mean Streets with De Niro, and The Sugarland Express with director Steven Spielberg, plus a 40th anniversary showing of Footloose with Kevin Bacon, plus the Sopranos 25th anniversary reunion with Wise Guy David Chase. The fest’s Storytellers and Directors series was headlined by Kerry Washington with Nicole Avant, Michael Stipe with Jon Batiste, Gus Van Sant with Vito Schnabel, Mat Fraser with Christine Bruno. Additional presenters included Andy Cohen, Judd Apatow, Brooke Shields, Alison Roman, and Kieran Culkin.

Can’t live without music? Increasingly Tribeca brings together feature film docs on performers who then perform live: Melissa Etheridge in I’m Not Broken, Linda Perry’s Let It Die Here, and Renée Elise Goldsberry’s Satisfied included in person sets. Out in Brooklyn, Tribeca’s Music Lounge again returned to Baby’s All Right, showcasing S/he Is Still Her/e: The Official Genesis P-Orridge Documentary on the life and times of the legendary bass guitarist of the industrial band Throbbing Gristle.

Got time for a short? Tribeca was the first major NYC film festival to give shorts equal recognition with feature films. Under Sharon Badal and Ben Thompson’s expert eyes, the ‘calling cards’ of filmmakers worldwide have achieved both recognition and status. This year saw no less than 87 selections from 101 filmmakers and 27 countries, divided into 12 programs including narrative, documentary, animated (curated again by Whoopi Goldberg) and music videos. The majority were directed by female filmmakers. Additionally, Tribeca offered a 25-minute presentation of 10 short A.I. films and music videos in partnership with Runway, including Q&A’s with the A.I. directors. 

What’s free? Gamers got five entire days at Tribeca’s Games Gallery, without paying a cent, to exercise their skills on puzzles, psycho-horror, action adventure and other mind benders. Audio storytelling featured the family-friendly Gladstone Girls female pottery makers, The New Yorker’s critics-at-large, and a bird talk podcast. 

Finally, this year’s 4th Tribeca Festival Creators Market, in partnership with the global matching and hiring platform, Indeed, again offered a pitch market for pre-selected feature film, episodic, immersive and podcast creators. It’s a continuing reach-out that opens doors for creators to pitch and discuss their projects with industry leaders like Sony Pictures Classics, NEON, Cinetic Media and IFC Films.

Diane von Furstenberg: Woman in Charge was the Opening Night Gala feature kickoff. Plus 112 (yes, one hundred and twelve) other feature docs and narrative dramas in four downtown multiplexes and theaters. Your Critic’s Choices include three feature documentaries, one drama, and one short.

Made in England: The Films of Powell and Pressburger: Presented by Martin Scorsese and directed by David Hinton: 20224: UK: 131 minutes 

Scense from Made in in England
Scenes from Made in England with Pressburger and Powell. (Courtesy of the fiilmmaker.)

Before there was Merchant and Ivory, there was Powell and Pressburger. Whoa, let’s unpack that for a minute. Before Ismael Merchant and James Ivory collaborated to produce and direct 44 British films from 1961-2009, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger had collaborated to write, produce and direct 24 British films from 1939-72. 

You may be familiar with Merchant Ivory productions like Shakespeare Wallah and A Room With a View. A critic writing in The Guardian rather unkindly summarized their career output as “plush dramas about repressed Brits in period dress.”

But Powell and Pressburger created an earlier, different kind of cinema experience—wildly unpredictable movies palpably infused with magic and mystery, rude surprises and ineffable delights. Scorsese calls their best work “passion out of control.” He was close friends with Powell for the last 16 years of his life, and his longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker married Powell in 1984. Scorsese grew up on Powell/Pressburger movies, obsessing over them on New York’s Channel 9 in the 1950s—when Million Dollar Movies ran 40s gems like The Thief of Bagdad and The Tales of Hoffmann twice a day and three times on weekends. Talk about having real skin in the game.

Martin Scorsese and Michael Powell
Martin Scorsese and Powell, circa1980s. (Courtesy of the filmmaker.)

Made in England is Marty’s love letter to his filmic mentors via director David Hinton, the English director known for his documentary on Bernardo Bertolucci’s making of The Last Emperor, as well as work in dance. It’s a stunner, two hours of consistently enlightened film history, the kind of fulfilling master class one longs for. Marty articulates the eternal promise and the merciless heartbreak of the motion picture business. He makes no secret of the Powell/Pressburger techniques and innovations he’s cribbed from and used in his own pictures. Mostly, he offers an encompassing and knowing deconstruction of the passions of these two kindred spirits, joined at the hip as they devote the most productive years of their lives to putting their biggest dreams up on the big screen. (Scorsese’s Film Foundation has helped restore no less than five classics, all described here, from the company they formed, The Archers.)

The Museum of Modern Art in midtown Manhattan is helping showcase it all. MoMA is launching a five-week Powell /Pressburger retrospective, expanding the audience for Made in England’s premiere. It’s 50+ films (all the essentials plus 13 ‘quota quickies’ helmed by Powell in his formative 1930s learning years under Alexander Korda). The series runs from June 21-July 31 and debuts with Schoonmaker introducing Black Narcissus, the seminal 1947 drama showcasing Deborah Kerr as a nun. Made in England’s credits list Schoonmaker and Scorsese as executive producers, along with Charles Cohen, head of the Cohen Media Group and owner of the four-screen Quad Cinemas downtown. He’s also the U.S. distributor, so we can be confident this doc won’t slip away into obscurity. 

Scorsese is famous for talking about color, light, movement and music in movies he loves, and there’s plenty of that here. He also emphasizes the originality of Pressburger’s screenplays. A journalist and Hungarian Jew who spoke no English, Pressburger found his way into Korda’s low-budget operations in the 30s, writing screenplays for Powell in their cycle of military and wartime dramas. The early The Spy in Black evolved into fuller character development through The 49th Parallel (winning Pressburger an Oscar for best story), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Canterbury Tale, and A Matter of Life and Death. 

Colonel Blimp is the 163 minute Technicolor turn-of-the-century tale of a declining German soldier, based on a cartoon character, in which actor Roger Livesey ages up 40 years while Deborah Kerr matches him as she plays three separate roles. A Matter of Life and Death is a poetic meditation on love and death that alternates black-and-white with color, as Kim Hunter and David Niven exemplify the sacrifices of lovers in wartime. Black Narcissus sets its steadily eroticized story of nuns in the Himalayas, based on a popular novel by Rumer Godden. Basking in the exquisitely noirish color cinematography of Jack Cardiff, it’s entirely filmed in studio sets using mattes and trick shots that create a breathless Hitchcockian blend of flesh-and-spirit. 

Powell and Pressburger never stood still, during or after World War II. They’d try anything, and most everything worked. The Red Shoes demanded a ballet dancer who could act (Moira Shearer, a divine choice), and its creators not only probe her tortured soul but let her stop the picture to perform a 15-minute solo ballet. (Scorsese contrasts this with Robert De Niro taking a long, long walk from his dressing room to the boxing ring in Raging Bull, followed by short, punchy scenes of up-close action.) The directors followed The Red Shoes, a huge hit with both audiences and critics in England and America, with The Small Back Room, the beginning of what we know as ‘kitchen sink’ British realism, dark dramas built around Angry Young Men like the alcoholic (David Farrar) whose anguished life collapses here. The film was totally ignored by viewers. 

Betrayed by distributors they once trusted, including Korda and the prestigious J. Arthur Rank organization, Powell and Pressburger began to founder, and their partnership frayed. Their final success together was The Tales of Hoffmann, a deliriously surreal filming of an 1881 opera about a poet in love with three women, one of whom is a mechanical doll. Moira Shearer was back, and the picture had its gala American premiere at the Metropolitan Opera in Lincoln Center, an oddly surprising triumph for both filmmakers. Powell’s one solo film of consequence after breaking with his trusted writer was Peeping Tom, a story he may have been drawn to as its subject is a psychotic movie maker (a chilling Carl Boehm) obsessed with filming his victims as he murders them. Moira Shearer, who had to be coaxed into filming The Red Shoes, is back yet a third time, and the picture had a successful revival at Manhattan’s Film Forum just weeks ago.

Following Harry: Susanne Rostock: 2024: United States: 95 minutes

Harry Belafonte
Harry Belafonte in Following Harry. (Courtesy Tribeca Festival.)

The opening titles spell it out: ‘The past has its own inevitability… It’s never too late to choose the future.’ But listen—it’s the man’s 95-year-old voice that packs a one-two punch: “I’m wrestling with how to look back on my life. Was that time wasted?” That sandpaper rasp could hold a room spellbound as it once led a civil rights rally, and it could only belong to Harry Belafonte. His was a voice as instantly recognizable—even pitched just above a whisper—as Werner Herzog. This is the one film Harry Belafonte wants to be remembered for, his summing up, edited, produced and directed by his trusted documentarian, Susanne Rostock (Sing Your Song, 2011). 

Executive produced by Harry and Pamela Belafonte, Following Harry comes as a cinematic surprise, considering its subject is known throughout the world of entertainment as an actor (Island in the Sun, Carmen Jones, Odds Against Tomorrow), singer (“Day-O,” “Matilda,”), songwriter, touring performer, and author. Writing in The New Yorker in 1996, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. called Belafonte “the first Black matinee idol in the history of the film industry,” as well as the first recording artist of any color to achieve a platinum album (“Calypso” in 1956). Only a few tiny snippets of his show biz fame are glimpsed in this cine memoir, and none are described. 

Here was an Upper West Side New Yorker who never lost sight of the enemy—racial discrimination—because “the enemy doesn’t sleep.” Belafonte’s agenda in his last years was visiting “the injustice systems” where he’d observe and listen, sometimes offering wisdom gleaned from his non-performing decades… from his untiring work as a civil rights visionary. It’s noble advising time he volunteered over 12 years before his passing in 2023. Belafonte was acutely aware he’d grown into a new role—the globe-trotting point man who bridged and fused non-violent civil protests with the marquee stars of the entertainment world.

In one scene we watch him in Ethiopia, visiting starving children he doesn’t turn away from. In another he’s speed-dialing Tony Bennett to get Lady Gaga’s personal number, to add her to a concert list. In a photo shoot for Ebony magazine’s 70th anniversary, he’s literally passing a torch to a younger generation headed by Jesse Wiliams and Zendaya. This earns him the instant respect of countless boldface names ranging from Chuck D, Dr. Cornel West and Jamie Foxx to Kerry Kennedy, Angela Davis and Rosario Dawson. His second-in-command is Carmen Perez, CEO of The Gathering For Justice, the Belafonte-founded non-profit. Perez was also National Co-Chair of the Women’s March on Washington, DC. She’s the articulate organizer seen most often at his side, helping him create “pockets of opportunity on other platforms.”

Harry Belafonte
Belafonte receiving award from New York Public Library. (Courtesy of the filmmaker.)

‘Mr. B’, as he’s often called by grass roots workers as well as celebs, first followed the teachings of the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., when both marched 34 miles over three days in 1965 from Selma to Montgomery, to help register Black voters. When Dr. King described the hostile forces they’d face in Alabama’s state capital as being more dangerous than walking into a burning house, Belafonte asked how to prepare. Dr. King advised him, “we’ll have to become firemen.” Says Belafonte a half century later: “I’m still somewhere in the firehouse.” 

Rostock’s editing in Following Harry concentrates on choosing the right images to accompany his words and wisdom that “follow Harry” through his final journeys: Rostock makes painful choices, often showing scenes of young Black men who’ve been assaulted or murdered. Listen to a sampling of Belafonte’s acute observations: “The civil rights movement took a deep breath, and people have become afraid of each other.” “Oppression keeps getting In the way of love.” “We seem to have no regard for the futures of generations yet unborn.” “Let us not be charged with patriotic treason.” “Artists and performers are the gatekeepers of truth, the change agents of civilization.” Sometimes one wishes Rostock had started Mr. B earlier and held on him longer, to further braid his insights.

Following Harry is a condensed, immensely valuable documentary. Yet as moviegoers, we can’t help but miss the big screen images of Belafonte we’ve come to admire over a lifetime in the dark. He was a movie star who became a north star for millions of Americans. He could do it all. You only have to watch Belafonte in Robert Altman’s 1996 Kansas City to appreciate what an incredibly versatile actor he’d turned into. Playing the crime boss Seldom Seen in the legendary 1934 Hey Hey Club, Belafonte huffs around a jam session featuring Lester Young, Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins (acted by Joshua Redman, James Carter and Craig Handy) going on behind him. Seldom’s mad as hell about some white boy wearing blackface makeup who’d robbed a prime customer Seldom was going to rob himself. This is Belafonte and Altman, two cinematic giants, making unforgettable mischief together.

Daddio: Christy Hall: 2024: United States: 101 minutes 

Dakota Johnson
Dakota Johnson in Daddio . (Courtesy of the filmmaker.)

Tribeca’s sleeper drama, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, is a sharp elbows, quintessential New York movie. It’s a tale that binds you for 101 minutes to a young computer programmer (Dakota Johnson) who’s just landed at JFK from visiting a half-sister in Oklahoma. Her cab driver back into Manhattan is a gruff, seen-it all, Hell’s Kitchen native, Clark (Sean Penn). Some movie to be trapped in. She’s Clark’s final fare of the night (like any smart New Yorker, she doesn’t give her name), and he’s going to drive her to 44th and 9th Avenue, just south of Hell’s Kitchen. This is the last movie you’d expect any critic to call a nail-biter. It’s a nail-biter. 

Daddio is depressingly frank and increasingly urgent. Amazingly, it doesn’t leave you feeling guilty about eavesdropping on two strangers who bare their most intimate secrets, and perhaps something of their souls, to each other. Quite the opposite: There hasn’t been a two-hander with a script so utterly of-the-moment, and a pair of actors so salt-of-the-earth convincing, in many a moon. 

Hall’s inventive screenplay, like the routine of a skilled magician, is full of misdirection. Clark likes that his fare never seems on her devices, but he can’t see that she’s busy texting back and forth with a frantic lover who’s trying to coax her into phone sex. When the passenger begins to share her childhood about a father in Oklahoma who never showed affection until he bid her farewell with a handshake the day she left home, it feels like her Oklahoma dad must be the Daddio of the title. And when the cab is halted by a fatal traffic accident ahead, Hall slyly creates an hour-long interlude in which the driver can turn his head and talk directly with the rider. And so they do, face to face.

Clark is something of a salty mouth grunge who treats Johnson like a petulant daughter he never had. Maybe he’s Daddio. Maybe the driver is open to a piece of the backseat action his much younger passenger is hiding from him but displaying to us. Maybe this is yet another of Hall’s misdirections. Clark offers her a stick of gum that she takes, but when he tells her he’s gotta pee and starts to unzip, she orders him to haul his cup outside the cab. This is not a movie you’ll doze off in. Hall’s script saves its best trick for near the end, when traffic’s finally moving past wrecked cars and bodies, and Penn’s cab resumes its journey toward the passenger’s twinkly black metropolis and her darkened midtown building on the far West Side.

Hall has wisely surrounded herself with a host of super pros bringing their A-game to this artsy grit. The ultra-sleek lighting of cinematographer Phedon Pappamichael, Kristi Zea’s superly controlled production design, Lisa Zeno Churgun’s cut-to-the-bone editing, and an ever-so-slightly menacing music score by Dickon Minchiffe all combine to move Clark’s yellow cab smoothly toward and into the city that never sleeps. 

Sean Penn
Sean Penn in Daddio. (Courtesy of the filmmaker.)

A final, more subtle reason Daddio succeeds so memorably is that its clever director/writer keeps reminding you of the third, unseen passenger in the cab—Johnson’s texting lover. Hall makes that presence more erotic, and considerably more provocative, by enlarging their back-and-forth texts, bulleting them in large-size sentences down much of the screen. In big type, the furtive seduction takes on its own sweaty, dramatic life. It keeps interrupting their conversations—and we read the frustrated desire in Dakota Johnson’s eyes. Sean Penn, in an equally commanding performance, reads her eyes, too, through his rear view mirror. Who else sees and knows how the world works better than an old school New York cabbie? 

S/he Is Still Her/e – The Official Genesis P-Orridge Doc: David Charles Rodriquez: 2024: United States: 99 minutes

Genesis P-Orridge and his band, Throbbing Gristle
Genesis P-Orridge (left), in S/he Is Still Her/e (Courtesy of the filmmaker). Genesis with Throbbing Gristle (right). (Courtesy Axel Koster/Corbis/Getty Images).

Marie Lester’s doc, The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, released in 2011, was shown at Berlin, SXSW and the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival. It was a robust, colorful and groundbreaking look at how the British provocateur/singer/songwriter/rocker Genesis P-Orridge, a divorced father with two daughters, met a whip-smart New York writer and part-time dominatrix, Jacqueline (Lady Jay) Breyer, in 1993, marrying her two years later. She was 19 years younger. 

Together they founded and practiced Progyny, an original stab at blending not just gender but their very identities. Both began transitioning via plastic surgery, breast implants, hormone therapy and delicate work on eyes, noses and lips. In cute matching outfits, tattoos and head bandages, they looked like costumed mummies, ready to strut their stuff in some Charles Busch off-Broadway musical. Lady Jaye’s heart attack and sudden death ended their experiment in 2007. She was just 38. 

Lady Jaye and Genesis. (Courtesy Tribeca Festival.)

The major reason Genesis (born Nell Megson) earns reconsideration today is that in 2012, there wasn’t much of a cultural T in LGBT, and no trans cinematic genre. Sean Baker’s Tangerine changed that in 2015, when his baleful comedy/drama of LA trans sex workers, shot almost entirely on an Apple iPhone, outfitted with a prototype anamorphic adapter, debuted to the world. Every filmmaker on the planet suddenly realized you could make a wide screen feature film with a mobile device. The last trans doc showcased in The Independent was last year’s Orlando, A Personal Biography, so if Virginia Woofe’s first trans novel of the 20th century is still relevant, Genesis is in good company. 

Rodriquez’s S/he Is Still Her/e, a devilishly clever title in its hopeful way, is a full-throttle doc of Genesis’ life, right up to being wheeled through a hospital with late-stage leukemia. Much of the film s/he narrates in 2018, aided by oxygen, looking back at a life (1950-2020) not just as the ‘Godfather of Industrial Rock’ but as the original Angry Young Man of punk. Right from his 1969 roots staging plays and steampunk shows in an outfit named COUM Transmissions, he remained firmly anchored to his original pen pal and post-Beat mentor, William Burroughs. Genesis bore a striking resemblance to the British rocker Terry Reid, who’d nearly become Led Zeppelin’s lead vocalist and whose high notes could sound like a 10-year-old boy drowning at the bottom of a well. (Much later, with his bleached white hair, Genesis looked and began to act like a club version of the wildman actor Klaus Kinski.)

In 1976 Genesis launched the four member Throbbing Gristle and pioneered Industrial Rock, accurately described by one critic as “a blend of Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music and the sound your refrigerator makes as it hums along and suddenly short-circuits.” His first wife, and mother of daughters Genesse and Caresse, briefly played drums. Burroughs’ use of ‘cut-ups’ (or the rearranging of text) shrouded their music. The band burnished their reputation of pushing magick into satanic avenues by masturbating onstage—that got them pegged in the tabloids as a sex cult. Look at this writer’s original LP pressing of DoA, whose cover shot of a child includes an inset photo of the child with her dress pulled up. This was deleted from later pressings. One hit included on this rare LP is “Hamburger Lady,” about a burn victim. (And you thought British bands like Leather Nun and the Sex Pistols were rude.)

Record cover
“DOA” vinyl LP. (Author’s collection.)

Throbbing Gristle migrated into Psychic TV in 1982. That set the stage for Genesis’ discovery of Lady Jaye, and the couple’s experiments with Progyny, described above. They settled in Queens and their only real NYC competition was Wayne County and the Electric chairs, a savagely confrontational rock band that became Jayne County and the Electric Chairs, the forerunners of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Remnants of Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle continued through the 90s and into this first decade, with Timothy Leary briefly replacing Burroughs as a literary dramaturg. Genesis’ final performances were in 2018, living the art s/he’d invented. With the untimely passing of Lady Jaye, neither completed their planned transitions. But Genesis P-Orridge had nearly a half century run in England and America, which for a gender-bending rocker is a first.

The Mayfly: Sue Perrotto: 2024: United States: 8 minutes 

Betty Buckley as Grizzabella
Betty Buckley as Grizzabella in Cats. (Courtesy of the producers.)

This blithely captivating New York short was created and written by the singer/songwriter/actor Betty Lynn Buckley. Local parents like this writer took at least one enchanted daughter more than once to watch Betty perform in Cats, which played 18 years and 7,485 performances on Broadway. Through much of the run Buckley most boldly embodied the character of Grizabella, the Glamour Cat, whose show-stopping number was “‘Memory.”

For this viewer, Buckley’s most thrilling rendition of that signature anthem came one Sunday morning, out of costume and character, as she sang it to a full congregation at St. Bart’s church on Park Avenue. As her upper register soprano voice hit “Memory’s” highest note, it cracked the sanctuary’s sound system. Blew it totally out. Undaunted, Buckley finished the number a cappella, flawlessly, not really needing a sound system at all. One beautiful Manhattan grace note, for the scrapbook.

As it happened, Ms. Buckley had a grace note of her own, when she attended a set by legendary folk singer Judy Collins at Cafe Carlyle, on the city’s tony Upper East Side. Somehow a mayfly, perhaps in free flight from the lake in Central Park, had made its way east to Madison Avenue, where it flew into the Carlyle’s plush venue. And there buzzed above and about Ms. Collins’ pretty head for a time, probably not daunting Judy for a moment, either. 

Betty Buckley and animated mayfly.
Betty and Megalyn Mayfly in The Mayfly. (Courtesy of the filmmaker.)

The Mayfly spins its animated tale much the same way. Megalyn the mayfly rises from her Central Park lake and takes wing from her loving parents, determined to bring her own song-and-dance to the big city. She’s drawn to the 25th floor and the window of an Upper West Side apartment, where “Judy” is rehearsing. Megalyn is entranced. She hitches a ride with Judy and her pianist, clinging to the folds of his jacket, across town to the Cafe Caryle, and quietly watches a few sets.. On “Judy Blue Eyes” third night, Megalyn, now simply overcome with adoration, sings and dances circles above the patrons, and settles dreamily into Judy’s luxurious hair. The patrons swoon. Outside, there’s a full moon over Manhattan, and its canyons shimmer ever so brightly. Sigh. 

Four-time Emmy nominee Sue Perrotto directed this beguiling little gem as well as animating Megalyn in all her mayfly glory. Buckley’s in splendid voice, as always. Christian Jacob composed the sublime score.The Mayfly would be a grace note in any fest, but it’s Tribeca Festival’s pride and joy. 

This concludes Critic’s Choices. Watch for Brokaw’s picks in the 62nd New York Film Festival, Sept. 27-Oct. 13. 

About :

Kurt Brokaw joined The Independent in 2010 as Senior Film Critic, covering New York’s six major film festivals and reviewing individual features and shorts of merit.  He was Associate Teaching Professor at The New School for 33 years, and has taught courses on film noir, early lesbian fiction and Jewish-themed cinema at The 92nd Street Y for 15 years. His memoir, The Paperback Guy, was published in 2020.