Roof and Courtyard
232 Third St. at 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215
F/G to Carroll St. or R to Union
|8:30PM||Live Performance by Belle Mare|
|11:00PM||Reception in courtyard courtesy of Red Stripe & Tito's Vodka|
Tiger Tail in Blue (Frank V. Ross | USA | 80 min.)
Frank V. Ross is a true American independent: his playfully meandering films are blatantly low-cost affairs with a precise style that reflects the filmmaker's control. While essentially character studies, Ross' movies draw you into the flow of behavior with an observational technique that recalls Robert Altman; the narrative emerges from watching people go about their often-frantic lives.
Tiger Tail in Blue, which was nominated for the Gotham Awards' Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You award last fall, presents the finest qualities of Ross' perceptive approach to conventional dramas. Ross stars as Christopher, a struggling writer whose nights are consumed by a deadbeat waiter gig, preventing him from spending anything but a few hours with his wife (Rebecca Spence), a teacher. As a result, he latches onto the flirtatious advances of his co-worker, who, for the most part, is curiously played by the same actress. This subtle reality twist is a sign of Ross’ low-cost methods, allowing the two leads to develop a deepening rapport, but moreover the move is a Bunuel-like psychological trick, leaving the viewer to wonder if Christopher is genuinely infatuated with his co-worker, or if he is merely needy, missing his wife in their off-hours relationship.
The movie is delicately scripted to give the perception of building up to some kind of climax, so even when it arrives at an inevitable twist, the subtlety of reactions infuse the material with surprising depth. While Christopher attempts to joke his way out of difficult situations, Ross keenly shows the limitation of humor to mask deep-seated insecurities. His characters use jokes to diffuse unspoken tensions lurking in every facet of their lives, but you wonder when they'll run out of punchlines. Tiger Tail in Blue is the rare movie less interested in big moments than the illuminating smaller ones that speak volumes about the ambiguities of daily existence.
- Eric Kohn