TRIBECA 2024 (June 5-16)

    (above: “Daddio”)

    The Tribeca Film Festival (June 5-16) is already underway. The festival keeps expanding: more venues, more genres. It’s not just films (narrative, documentary, shorts) but also covers audio storytelling, workshops and talks. And don’t forget about De Niro Con (June 14-16), a celebration of the life and career of Robert de Niro (he is 80 years old!), who is also the co-founder of the festival. So much to choose from, it takes a lot of research to decide what to see. So here is my list of must-sees with my (sometimes irreverent) reasons to watch. Go here for schedule and ticket information.


    The French Italian (United States) Writer/director Rachel Wolther’s comic take on NYC apartment realities and off-Broadway plays. With “Euphoria” actress Chloe Cherry.

    Jazzy (United States)  I still haven’t seen “The Unknown Country,” but I won’t miss this follow up by filmmaker Morrisa Maltz (paired again with Lily Gladstone) about a young woman in South Dakota.

    Sacramento (United States) Michael Angarano directs and stars in this road comedy with a college friend (Michael Cera). With Kristen Stewart.

    Vulcanizadora (United States)  Joel Potrykus, director of “Ape” and “Buzzard” returns with another provocative mix of genres. The film I am most excited to see.

    Swimming Home (UK, Greece, Netherlands, Brazil) The film version of Deborah Levy’s 2011 novel is set on the Mediterranean coast. A poet’s fan shows up swimming naked in their pool. His foreign correspondent wife is alternately cooperative and confounded. With Mackenzie Davis and Christopher Abbott (who was so good in that TV adaptation of “Catch-22.”)

    Bang Bang (United States) Always gritty and good Tim Blake Nelson plays a retired boxer who tries to redeem himself by training his estranged daughter’s son. I’ve seen this story before but it’s worth seeing what indie horror director Vincent Grashaw does with it.

    Daddio (United States) Dakota Johnson’s character arrives at JFK airport, hops into a cab driven by a taxi driver played by Sean Penn. What could go wrong?

    Lake George (United States) “Friday Nights” and “Fargo” director Jeffrey Reiner’s neo-noir road trip stars two great character actors–Shea Whigham and Carrie Coon in a tale of an unexpected alliance against the mob.

    McVeigh  (United States) Surprised it took this long to make a feature film about domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh, who blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. The phrase “aluminum nitrate fertilizer” just popped into my head.

    A Mistake (New Zealand) After so many wonderful comic performances it will be great to see Elizabeth Banks star in a medical drama directed by Christine Jeffs (“Sunshine Cleaning”).

    The Shallow Tale of a Writer Who Decided to Write About a Serial Killer (United States) The title of this dark comedy says it all. And Steve Buscemi is in it!

    Hacking Hate  (Sweden, Denmark, Norway) Yes, Virginia, even the very liberal Scandinavian countries have neo-Nazis, as this portrait of a brave journalist will explore.


    New Wave (United States) I love learning about world music and this doc about indie Vietnamese music couldn’t come to me at a better time, just after the brilliant “The Sympathizer” (MAX) limited series.

    Shelf Life (United States) I’m a sucker for any doc about food and this one is about cheese making.

    BRATS (United States) I hated the brat pack actors! While living in Wilmington, NC (working at DEG Film Studios) I ran into Judd Nelson once in my kitchen—he was dating one of my roommates. Couldn’t stand him then or now. So I’ll give Andrew McCarthy (who directed this doc) a chance to change my mind.

    Linda Perry: Let It Die Here (United States)  Former member of 4 Non Blondes and legendary music producer for Pink, Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera and many others is brutally honest about her work and the personal challenges of her remarkable life.

    State of Silence (Mexico) 38 political candidates in the recent Mexico election cycle were assassinated and I’m hoping this new doc will help me understand why this is happening.

    “Emergent City”

    Emergent City (United States) This new film by Kelly (“My Brooklyn”) Anderson and Jay Arthur Sterrenberg documents the recent struggle by Sunset Park residents to stop the rezoning of Industry City. Afterwards, check out Adam Schartoff’s interview with the filmmakers.

    LIZA: A Truly Terrific Absolutely True Story  (United States)  “Quiet Please, There’s a Lady on Stage!” Oh wait, that’s a song about her mother. I haven’t thought about 78-year-old Liza Minnelli in a long time and I need an update.

    Made in England: The Films of Powell & Pressburger (UK) Martin Scorsese is always going on about how much he was influenced by the British filmmaking team of Powell and Pressburger and now he’ll get a chance to wax about their genius in the portrait, though directed by someone else.

    They All Came Out to Montreux (UK) “Some stupid with a flare gun/burned the place to the grow-hound/Smoke on the water…” Wait, this is not a doc about the band Deep Purple? No, it’s about the huge jazz festival held in that Swiss town. But I’m sure my favorite heavy metal pioneers will get a mention.

    Arzé (Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia) A mother and son in Beirut look desperately for his stolen moped. Is this an updated version of “Bicycle Thieves?”

    They’re Here  (United States) I did not know that New York is the state with the fifth-most UFO sightings in the U.S. (So why haven’t I seen one? Maybe I need to go to the Finger Lakes?) Residents of the Empire State talk about encounters of the third kind.

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