The 17th edition of the Tribeca Film Festival, running through April 29, is once again packed with films, talks, and moving image work beyond film such as VR, television, online work, and gaming events. The opening film is Lisa D'Apolito's Love, Gilda, a documentary about the late, beloved comedian Gilda Radner; the centerpiece is Drake Doremus' sci-fi romance Zoe; and closing out the fest is Liz Garbus' documentary The Fourth Estate, detailing how the staff of The New York Times dealt with the election and subsequent first year of the Donald Trump administration.
This year's edition boasts 96 feature films, which includes a particularly notable statistic: a record 46% of them are directed by women, a fact that resonates for obvious reasons relating to the current heightened consciousness of women's position within the film industry and beyond. In keeping with this theme, TIME'S UP will host its New York inaugural event during the festival, featuring many relevant speakers and conversations.
A long-running staple of Tribeca is star-studded reunion screenings of iconic cinema classics, and this year features two heavyweight titles: anniversary screenings of Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List and Brian DePalma's Scarface. Both are screening at the Beacon Theatre with post-screening panels with the directors and cast members including Liam Neeson, Sir Ben Kingsley, Al Pacino, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Also, Alexandre Rockwell's American indie classic In the Soup will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a world premiere 4K restoration and a post-screening discussion with Rockwell, stars Steve Buscemi, Sam Rockwell, Jennifer Beals, and cinematographer Phil Parmet.
In other words, Tribeca will as usual be an amazingly packed 12 days. Below are my picks of ten festival selections, culled from various areas of programming, that may lack the star power of other films on offer, but are no less accomplished or worthy of your time.
For information on these and other films, visit Tribeca's website.
Dry Martina (Che Sandoval)
Antonella Costa is the riveting center of Sandoval's road movie - traveling from Argentina to Chile - wonderfully embodying the journey of the titular Martina's quest to get her groove back, both inside and outside of the bedroom.
We first meet Martina as her singing career and love life are on the skids, resulting in her severely reduced libido (hence the "dry" of the title). But all that changes when Francisca (Geraldine Neary), a super fan of Martina's barrels into her existence. Francisca claims to be a long-lost half-sister, and exhorts Martina to follow her to Chile to meet her father. Martina agrees, not because she believes this story, but to get closer to Francisca's boyfriend Cesar (Pedro Campos), whom she believes is the key to regaining her lost sexual desire.
This all unfolds with an unforced and naturalistic wit, with Martina's central journey encompassing several other colorful characters, traversing a landscape that is just as continually entertaining and surprising as the people who travel across them.