Thursday, February 19, 2009

Exquisite Gem: Part One

MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY
(Barry Jenkins, US, 2008, 87 mins.)


Photo by David Bornfriend
I'm so thrilled that this gorgeously shot and edited film is coming to our town! One of Filmmaker Magazine's "25 to Watch" last year, director Barry Jenkins has crafted something really special, with his partners in crime James Laxton (cinematographer) and Nat Sanders (editor; and the same man who edited my latest feature, Humpday). Please mark your calendar and come out to experience and celebrate this exquisite gem of a film!
-- Lynn Shelton to her mailing list

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Most young urban dwellers have experienced something similar: the awkward morning after a one-night stand. The evening before could've been boom or bust. It doesn't really matter. Things always look—and feel—different in the cold, sober, and sometimes hungover light of day.

Micah (The Daily Show's Wyatt Cenac) tries to get a conversation going with Joanne (Tracey Heggins), but she seems more interested in grabbing a bite to eat, and then moving on with her day. Is she feeling guilt or regret? Does she find him unattractive now that she's gotten a closer look?

She may have valid reasons for her diffidence, but it's hard not to sympathize with Micah. He seems like a decent guy, and doesn't prevaricate, like admitting upfront that he didn't catch Joanne's name (she lies and says it's Angela). Whether or not he's hoping for something more, he's just trying to get to know the woman with whom he shared an intimate encounter...even if neither party remembers it very well.

The awkwardness escalates on the silent cab ride to their respective homes (their tryst took place at the house of a mutual friend). Then Joanne leaves the cab and walks out of his life. If that's all there was to it, Medicine for Melancholy, Barry Jenkins's first feature, would be a short, but these two will see each other again.

Click here for part two

Medicine for Melancholy plays the Northwest Film Forum from Fri., 2/20, through Thurs., 2/26. Director in attendance Mon.-Thurs. (interview on the way). Shelton, Jenkins, and Nina Paley (Sita Sings the Blues) are competing for this year's Film Independent "Someone to Watch" Award. In addition, Laxton is up for best cinematography. The Independent Spirit Awards take place on Sat., 2/21, the day before the Oscar ceremony, and air on IFC at 5pm* and AMC at 10pm. The NWFF is located at 1515 12th Ave. For more information, please click here. Images from The Austin Chronicle and FirstShowing.Net.

* Pacific Standard time. It airs at 2pm on the East Coast.

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