Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Day 7 Tribeca 2019: 'Burning Cane' Leaves in Its Wake Burning Questions, 'The Short History of the Long Road' Captures the Heart Quite Without Trying

Wendell Pierce as a man of God wrestling with some demons in "Burning Cane."


questions will confront viewers of Phillip Youmans’ feature premiere, "Burning Cane."

The film is having its world debut run at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Its final screening is on Saturday (4 May). But to the questions Who was killed and Who was shot?

The director leaves the answers firmly in the hands of the viewer. Because some things, he seems to be conveying, do not need to be spelled out. If you really think about it, you will know. If you are really watching; if you can really see; if you will look beyond the surface. PY appears to be challenging the viewer to go deeper; to think and feel it out.

"Burning Cane" is one of the festival's most talked about films mainly because 19-year-old New York University film student PY is the youngest director to have a work accepted. He actually finished the film when he was in high school in South Louisiana.

There is not much dialogue in the film, nor does there need to be. Indeed, the dim light and darkness in which it is shot says a great deal. It lends it a depth that would be lacking if it were shot in brighter light. It's as if the dimness speaks to the pervasive anguish. The dimness adds layers of complexity to the lives of simple people.

For those who are not unfamiliar with these characters - I am such a one - there is beauty in their laconic natures. The light or lack of light also becomes lyrical and musical. It provides insights that words cannot.

Another film on its world premiere run at 2019 Tribeca is Ani Simon-Kennedy's "The Short History of the Long Road." It's a road film and follows the adventures of Nola (portrayed tenderly by Sabrina Carpenter) as she makes her way across country all on her own. Her road dog was her free-spirited father (Steven Ogg), until he was not. Plucky Nola, sensing that she must step up or be swept up, does what she has to do. She sets out.

Along the way, she meets a variety of characters, none of whom are out to do her harm (lucky her!). The closest call she has is with house-breaking, pool-draining skateboarders. It turns out, though, that they really are interested in boards, not broads.

Fortuitously, she encounters a foster mother who give her some sage advice: "get your act together(meaning her lying-through-your-teeth spiel). The most poignant meeting is with her estranged mother who discloses some information that will probably keep Nola out of trouble and out of counseling.

"The Short History of the Long Road" is a guileless film that touches the heartstrings quite without endeavoring to do so.

Other screenings and events on today's schedule: "Maiden" VIRTUAL ARCADE, Tribeca CINEMA360 "Shorts: Funhouse" "Sublime" "Dreamland" "Skin" "Stray Dolls" "Charlie Says" "Blow the Man Down" "Other Music" "Buffaloed" "Swallow" "Georgetown" "Good Posture" "In Fabric" "Wild Rose."


Gay Chorus Deep South

Members of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus perform during the world premiere of "Gay Chorus Deep South. Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival.

Inna De Yard: The Soul of Jamaica

Ken Boothe performs some of his greatest hits following the world premiere of "Inna De Yard: The Soul of Jamaica. Photo by Astrid Stawiartz/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival.

Visit http://www.tribecafilm.com/festival to learn more about the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, including tickets and schedule.

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