People Places Things at the Penthouse in Brooklyn
A special screening for special people
On the 8th of September, my friend Immy and I sneaked in a very unusual screening. We both share the same concept of cinema: for us, watching a movie cannot just be an everyday activity; we get bored very easily in front of a TV screen.
Every screening needs to have something special! That would just make our day! During the New Zealand International Film Festival, we had an unforgettable time, while watching Mustang with a bottle of red wine. Remember?
This time, our choice fell on… : People Places Things by James C. Strouse. We’re two girls, so we like romances, but, because we also love arty and intellectual movies, we choose one with a low-key humour set in New-York City. We’re so Woody Allen fan type, you know 😉
But what was so extraordinary about this screening, you’ll ask? Ok, let’s go back to the point. The special touch was that People Places Things was presented on…. a SENIOR SCREENING! Every Wednesday morning at 10:45 am, it’s Senior Sneak Peak at the Penthouse Cinema: $10 for a ticket + free cake & free cup of tea. What a big deal! We couldn’t miss that.
The only problem was that, even if we’re now more than 25 – in other words we’re labelled as so-called “anti-ageing skin cream potential buyer”– we don’t look like grannies so far… And unfortunately we didn’t find any grey wig and reading glasses in our backpack… Yet, impossible to resist to the call of the cake!
Against all odds, we decided to give it a try.
And look, it worked! (continued below)
We could enjoyed a free treat – a delicious walnut coffee fudge cake – and a cup of tea inside the auditorium. You can imagine that my British friend was in Heaven, and I, I was on a cloud: let’s get the film started!
A Kiwi man in New-York
Everybody knows Jemaine Clement in New Zealand. While partnering up with his long-time friend Bret Mac Kenzie, he rocks the stage with “the almost award-winning fourth-most-popular folk duo in New Zealand” Flight of the Conchords; while co-working with director Taika Waititi, he is one of the best comedian of contemporary Kiwi cinema.
I particularly love him in the cult Wellingtonian vampire-mockumentary What We Do in The Shadows. He is…. the Beast! He’s got such a sex appeal in his old-fashioned Renaissance style that no girl can resist – poor them, they don’t know that he’s got two long canines ready to lose themselves on their neck.
He doesn’t play any Casanova in People Places Things. This time, he is Will, a graphic novelist and art teacher, trying to put things together in his complicated life.
His long-time girlfriend and mother of his two twins, Charlie, is now planning to marry Garry – she never wanted to get married before! – Will’s life is a big question mark. He’s got the kids at home in the weekends but would love to spend more time with them, he tries with no success to understand his ex-partner perpetual hysterical crisis, he doesn’t know how to date as a single father in NYC…
To sum up: He is on the verge of experiencing a breakdown, until Kate, one of his most gifted student offers him to come to dinner. His life will need to take a turn and not the one you could have expected! The twist is cute and sensitive; I let you discover it.
To learn more about Jemaine Clement in People Places Things and in general, here is a very good interview from Slant magazine by Elise Nakhnikian:
Immy and I recommend People Places Things
Jessica Williams, playing Kate describes the film as “a nice dessert, a slice of cake and not a huge, crazy dessert spread”
I totally agree. In our case, it would have been even more appropriate to say: People Places Things is like a delicious walnut coffee bite!
James Strouse’s new romance is shrewdly written; the characters exist fully (even the children which is quite rare in movies that are not written for kids) and we feel close to them. Thanks to the remarkable performances of its actors (Jemaine of course, but also the blunt and fresh Jessica Williams, the sexy and charismatic Rebecca Hall and the highly funny impro-comedian Stephanie Allynne)
It turns out to be that the film isn’t just another cheesy rom-com but it stands out. James C. Strouse avoids stereotypes by creating a constellation of profound characters that interacts perfectly with each other, expecially portraying women. But it’s an American comedy, so come on! We know that it will end up with typical happy ending, and that’s what we like.
Oh, I almost forgot! Watch the film to understand why I’ve got such a long face. I wanted to illustrate the so-called Kuleshov effect that Will explains to his students in the film. It’s one of the easiest film editing effect: the filmgoer’s mind can derive mentally his own meaning without any words. I enjoyed the movie, but by seeing this picture and my long face, you’ll automatically think that I didn’t.
Here is the trick!
What’s on the Penthouse next Wednesday?
Iris by recently deceased famous documentary maker Albert Maysles, portraying fashion icon, Iris Apfel. If you didn’t see it at the New Zealand International Film Festival, I invited you to join. Without hesitation! and don’t worry: no wig needed 🙂 http://www.penthousecinema.co.nz/page-senior-sneak-peeks.php