Saturday, April 23, 2011

TFF: In 'Neon Flesh,' a Gift for Mama

Mario Casas as Ricky in "Neon Flesh (Carne de Neon)." Photo courtesy Tribeca Film Festival.

WHAT better way for a street kid to welcome mother, a prostitute, back into a warm embrace after a stretch in prison than to open up a brothel as a homecoming present?

It’s easy, too: Occupy – and it is not clear whether you are leasing or squatting – an abandoned, dilapidated building and gussy it up. Of course, if you run a brothel you need girls. To that end, you buy them on the sex trafficking mart, that is if you don’t get them direct from the sea.

Much of the action in “Neon Flesh (Carne de Neon)” revolves around these events. Spanish director Paco Cabezas’ film, making its North American premiere at the 10th Annual Tribeca Film Festival, nicely lives up to its premise. It is indeed stylish and full of wild humor, much of it informed by the struggles that Ricky (Mario Casas heading a strong cast) faces in opening up the “Hiroshima.”

One quibble with “Neon Flesh” is the melting away of a language barrier a little too quickly. Another: some of the violence is gratuitous and cartoonish.

The broadly drawn characters in this stew are the types of lowlifes, cretins, pawns and cut-throats that populate Elmore Leonard novels. Not surprisingly, women get no respect but they are survivors.

Additional screenings of "Neon Flesh" at the Tribeca Film Festival:
Saturday, 23 April at 11:30 p.m./Clearview Cinemas Chelsea
Thursday, 28 April at 11:59 p.m./Clearview Cinemas Chelsea
Friday, 29 April at 5:30 p.m./Clearview Cinemas Chelsea

Stay tuned for more from the 10th Annual Tribeca Film Festival http://

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