(above New Design High School)
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
|8:30PM||Live music by Secret Mountains|
|10:30PM||Q&A with filmmaker Cherie Saulter|
|11:30PM||After Party at Fontanas (105 Eldridge Street btwn Grand St. and Broome St.)|
No Matter What (Cherie Saulter | Chipley, FL | 90 min.)
No Matter What tells a story of resilience in the face of a dying small town. Joey and Nick are best friends -- we know this not because they have deep conversations, but because of their body language, they way they relate, often wordlessly, and in their mutual support. The two male leads, formerly non-actors, truly embody their characters -- both are skateboarders growing up in small Florida towns, much like the one in the film. First-time writer/director Cherie Saulter also grew up in small-town Florida, and spent some teenage years skateboarding with boys much like these characters.
One morning Joey wakes up to find that his mother, Laura, has left and has taken all of her necessary things. He sets off to find her and Nick joins him. We follow the boys on a meditative journey that takes them away -- we cannot tell how far away they are going, only that it is away, and away is good. Their travels are haphazard, often frustrating. They seek out Laura’s contacts -- a small group of connected drug dealers. They steal small things to keep themselves going, meet transients, learn to hop trains. The pace of the film is such that the viewer doesn’t ever quite know if they will, in fact, find Laura -- we can’t know if what they encounter will be good, or violent, or depressing. The futility of their travels weighs over the story -- does Joey simply want to ask her why? What will she say, this mother, about abandoning her teenage son -- not a child but certainly not a man -- to the world?
No Matter What is about connection -- the need we have as humans to connect, and, for some, the resistance to connecting. Nick’s lack of a mother (she has died) allows him to connect to Joey, not to question him or the possible futility of their quest, and allows him a seemingly infinite amount of patience with him. Nick’s need to connect with Laura, and her rejection of that echoes throughout the film like a shot -- he is dejected, abandoned, stoical. Their momentary connections to other travelers around campfires and to sympathetic folks who give them food and rides and maps stand out, glowing, in a bleak population of distrustful strangers. Ultimately, it is the connection between these two friends as they find their way, that is the strongest, that lasts, that carries, them, and us, through the film.
- Sarah Palmer