By Alan Scherstuhl
By Charles Taylor
By Melissa Anderson
By Inkoo Kang
By Amy Nicholson
By Sam Weisberg
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Chuck Wilson
You walk into a movie nobody's ever heard of, from a country that never seems to appear on an airline map, and heyit's something good! Now celebrating its 30th year, "New Directors/New Films," the annual Museum of Modern ArtFilm Society of Lincoln Center co-pro, is dedicated to one of the most welcome sensations in the realm of international film festivals. Twenty-one features from 13 different countries, and only three (thus far) with distributors.
The millennial "New Directors"which introduced Suzhou River, Ratcatcher, and Voyageswill be a tough act to follow. This year's trends? I did detect an emphasis on workers, working, and the workplacea preoccupation befitting a venue that last year saw a major strike. Everywhere in the world, banks, restaurants, and shops are incubating hysteria or ennui. Just look at the two opening movies.
The first feature by musician Jonathan Parker transposes Herman Melville's dark, dank story "Bartleby the Scrivener" to a brightly colored one-building industrial park. The direction is broadbut then the original story is itself less subtle than enigmatic. Parker's major inspiration is casting the supremely eccentric Crispin Glover in the title role as the supremely diffident clerka world-class passive-aggressive who "prefers" neither to work nor leave his office. With his lopsided comb-down, bony face, and desiccated aristo demeanornot to mention his sidelong, offspeed deliveryGlover is an actor whose peculiar looks are matched only by his mannered performances. Bartleby gives him ample opportunity to swan around the set in a state of anxious vagueness, tortuously responding to all questions with perpetual disbelief. Some may well find this excruciating, but Glover's strangeness is more than convincingand aptly contextualized by an oddball showboat cast and a theremin-heavy score. March 23, 24 (JH)
Reviews of later films at New Directors/New Films: "You Cant Go Home Again"
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