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Tribeca Film Festival 2015: Bridgend and Being 14

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Tribeca Film Festival 2015: Bridgend and Being 14

The Welsh county of Bridgend has experienced a massive outbreak of teen suicides since 2007. Danish documentarian Jeppe Rønde’s first fiction feature dramatizes the seemingly viral string of deaths through the eyes of a new girl in town. Sara (Hannah Murray) arrives in Bridgend with her policeman father (Steven Waddington), who’s tasked with investigating the spate of suicides. It’s Sara, however, who becomes inculcated in the cult-like routines of the young community, beginning in the halls of school and moving out to the forest, where lithe, ruffian youths congregate like a restless pack of wolves.

The teens, led by the charismatic Thomas (Scott Arthur) and sensitive priest’s son Jamie (Josh O’Connor), drink and skinny dip until they’re overcome with pained, aggressive mourning. They howl the names of their departed peers, most of whom have been discovered hanging from trees in the forest. And as Sara falls deeper into this highly ritualistic social circle, Bridgend essentially outs itself as a gothic coming-of-age tale ponderously obsessed with the dark, corruptible forces of peer pressure.

Bridgend, with its dark-blue-hued cinematography and murky music, is all foreboding atmosphere. Such an ominous and overbearing milieu might seem like an apt choice given the tragic subject matter, but Rønde doubles down on the suffocating ambience, prioritizing this aesthetic tenor without ever homing in on anyone’s psychological core. The closest we get are glimpses of conversation in an ineptly rendered private chat room.

The film is, by necessity, unable to access the emotions that motivate the broadly self-abnegating behavior of all of the teens, but it still manages to trivialize the drama by way of a few bombastic plot twists. Most egregiously, its depiction of suicide is ultimately rendered glib, dependent on exploitative “will they or won’t they” payoffs. Bridgend has the portentous weight and formal production chops of an expensive psychological thriller, but its cheap narrative qualities only make the whole affair seem like a bounced check.

While Bridgend feels cut off from reality despite its “inspired by real events” roots, Hélène Zimmer’s Being 14 is a much more realistic representation of young mindsets and behavior. Focusing primarily on three girls—Sarah (Athalia Routier), Jade (Galatéa Bellugi), and Louise (Najaa Bensaid)—in their final year of middle school in suburban France, the film is structured on a formal conceit of seasonal chapters, opening in the fall and ending in summer. The girls’ alternately joyful and frustrated sense of their own selves—and of each other—is as volatile and shifting as the seasons. Zimmer candidly evokes the essence of female friendships that are made or broken, sometimes simultaneously, on the brink of adulthood. As a teacher scolds the potty-mouthed and note-passing students in the opening scene, he exclaims, “This is a classroom, not a zoo!” The comparison isn’t inappropriate, as the protagonists navigate their social relationships with fight-or-flight showdowns within the cafeteria, in the parking lot smoking cigarettes, and at booze- and pot-fueled weekend parties.

Being 14 exhibits characters whose poor attitudes and nasty comments are some of the crudest cinema has seen since Larry Clark’s Kids, which is an obvious influence. But Zimmer doesn’t hold them unaccountable for their actions, as the camera subtly implies that the complexity of their generosity and anger toward each other is built out of narcissistic undoing. The characters enforce their own problems on their interpersonal dynamics, as they’re unable to communicate with each other because they’re not fully sure of, and comfortable with, themselves yet. Zimmer’s direction may appear laissez faire, but it’s confident in its observation on the cycle of friendships and how teenagers treat each other in order to feel superior. Throughout, no laugh, sneer, pout, or text message appears to go unnoticed by Zimmer’s long takes, which are acutely keyed to the lives of these badly mannered kids. The film successfully conveys what it’s like to be stuck in a teenage girl’s mind and body while imparting an emotional, almost ephemeral sense of friendships that may only last until graduation day.

The Tribeca Film Festival runs from April 15—26.

You can follow Nick McCarthy on Twitter here.

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Watch: The Long-Awaited Deadwood Movie Gets Teaser Trailer and Premiere Date

Welcome to fucking Deadwood!

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Deadwood
Photo: HBO

At long last, we’re finally going to see more of Deadwood. Very soon after the HBO series’s cancellation in 2006, creator David Milch announced that he agreed to produce a pair of two-hour films to tie up the loose ends left after the third season. It’s been a long road since, and after many false starts over the years, production on one standalone film started in fall 2018. And today we have a glorious teaser for the film, which releases on HBO on May 31. Below is the official description of the film:

The Deadwood film follows the indelible characters of the series, who are reunited after ten years to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.

And below is the teaser trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAcftIUE6MQ

Deadwood: The Movie airs on HBO on May 31.

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Watch: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Gets Teaser Trailer

When it rains, it pours.

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Photo: Columbia Pictures

When it rains, it pours. Four days after Quentin Tarantino once more laid into John Ford in a piece written for his Beverly Cinema website that saw the filmmaker referring to Ford’s She Wore a Yellow Ribbon as Tie a Yellow Ribbon, and two days after Columbia Pictures released poster art for QT’s ninth feature that wasn’t exactly of the highest order, the studio has released a teaser for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The film was announced early last year, with Tarantino describing it as “a story that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood.”

Set on the eve of the Manson family murders, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood tells the story of TV actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), as they try to get involved in the film industry. The film also stars Margot Robbie (as Sharon Tate), Al Pacino, the late Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell, and Bruce Dern in a part originally intended for the late Burt Reynolds.

See the teaser below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Scf8nIJCvs4

Columbia Pictures will release Once Upon a Time in Hollywood on July 26.

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Watch the Stranger Things 3 Trailer, and to the Tune of Mötley Crüe and the Who

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence.

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Stranger Things 3
Photo: Netflix

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence. On Friday, Jeff Tremaine’s The Dirt, a biopic about Mötley Crüe’s rise to fame, drops on Netflix. Today, the streaming service has released the trailer for the third season of Stranger Things. The clip opens with the strains of Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home,” all the better to underline that the peace and quiet that returned to the fictional rural town of Hawkins, Indiana at the end of the show’s second season is just waiting to be upset again.

Little is known about the plot of the new season, and the trailer keeps things pretty vague, though the Duffer Brothers have suggested that the storyline will take place a year after the events of the last season—duh, we know when “Home Sweet Home” came out—and focus on the main characters’ puberty pangs. That said, according to Reddit sleuths who’ve obsessed over such details as the nuances of the new season’s poster art, it looks like Max and company are going to have to contend with demon rats no doubt released from the Upside Down.

See below for the new season’s trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEG3bmU_WaI

Stranger Things 3 premieres globally on July 4.

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