Lower East Side
350 Grand Street, New York, NY 10002
F, J, M, Z to Delancey Street-Essex Street; B, D, Q to Grand Street
|8:30||Live Music by Fall on Your Sword|
|10:30||Filmmaker Q and A|
|11:30||After Party with FREE Radeberger Pilsner at Fontana's (105 Eldridge St.)|
|***||Restrictions: No refunds ~ Seating is first come, first served. Physical seats are limited. This means you may not get a chair. You are welcome to bring a blanket and sit picnic-style, but no alcohol is permitted.|
Aardvark (Kitao Sakurai | USA - Argentina | 80 min.)
AARDVARK is perhaps the first fiction film to star a man blind since birth. In a role inspired by his own life, Larry Lewis plays a solitary man recovering from alcoholism and working towards stability. When he joins a Jiu Jitsu academy he finds a close friend in his young hard-partying instructor, Darren. But, as disturbing aspects of Darren's life are revealed Larry soon finds himself alone and faced with the consequences of a horrific act of violence.
Rooftop, indieWIRE and Snag Films chose AARDVARK as the perfect film to celebrate our collective goals. Sakurai is a first-time filmmaker with a strong, distinctive vision who has crafted a thriller that transcends genre. Combining a tight plot with a disquieting mood, the film is suffused with a raw emotional power that immerses viewers in the psyche of a fascinating and wholly unique protagonist.
Visually, Sakurai, a noted cinematographer, has developed a new look for noir, not so much black and dark as muted, obscured--both joy and anguish are often hidden behind hands, mirrors, doorways, grappling bodies (but not, notably, the dark glasses of the blind). The compositions externalize the relative irrelevance of the visual world for the blind protagonist. The most joyful scene in the film is set in the murky gloom of a car in a parking lot; some of the most emotionally negative moments are highlighted with bright neon that casts a tawdry, shadowless glow. This is a world where "normal" values are inverted, where the law is a menace and justice is questionable, where transcendence comes through pain.
AARDVARK is taut, frightening, and dramatic, with a cast of characters that spring to life with dynamic hard-boiled performances. But the film goes beyond the traditional thriller, carefully addressing complex ethical issues. Larry and Darren aspire to a life of discipline and discuss a code of Jiu Jitsu ideals that incorporates the control over anger and evil in order to live a life of justice and compassion. But when the most fundamental laws of life are upset, how does our code of values change? The film asks us if there is a view, a set of morals, that can withstand the worst in humanity.
There will be no clear answer.
- Mark Elijah Rosenberg