Tribeca Film Festial (2013) “Six Acts” and “What Richard Did”

TFF logoI have been attending this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which, conveniently, has  been taking place, at least partially, in our neighborhood.  Many of the screenings are at the AMC Loews Village 7, at 66 Third Avenue.

When attending film festivals, I usually stick with the documentaries.  In my experience, the documentaries are almost always very good.  The narrative (fiction) films tend to be uneven.  Some are good, while some are not.  In either category it can be hard to tell which films are worthwhile seeing.  The reason for this is that, at film festivals,  viewers are always dealing with untested commodities – new films, many of which do not yet have distribution.

While I still adhere to my “documentaries only” strategy, as a rule, I am nothing if not open-minded.  As a result, this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, now through April 28, has thrown me two very different, thought provoking exceptions to my documentary-centric point of view.  Each of these films involves teenagers dealing with choices and both have stayed with me.

From Israel, first time feature film director Jonathan Gurfinkel’s gritty, searing drama, “Six Acts,” concerns Gili, a teen aged girl at a new school trying to fit in with a certain group of boys.  Gili is a naïve, co-dependent girl, played with a convincing sense of desperation and vulnerability by Sivan Levy.  Gili desperately seeks acceptance and has no compunctions about using  her sexuality to get it. She is essentially passed around, having various encounters with different boys in her circle, while desperately seeking the approval and acceptance of one, Omri (Eviator Mov), in particuslar.  The more permissive Gili is, the less the boys respect her.  As her encounters become more and more extreme, the line of consent begins to become less and less clear.  “Six Acts” is a dark and harrowing look at a young girl’s sexual awakening, very well acted and frighteningly portrayed.

From Ireland, “What Richard Did” is an involving, low key drama about a group of friends spending the summer together before going off to college.  James (Jack Reynor) is popular and good looking, with his bright future ahead of him.  “You’ve got everything worked out,” Lara, James’ new girlfriend, tells him.  Then an incident happens that could put everything in jeopardy.

“What Richard Did” is a quiet tale about ethics, guilt, choices, impulsiveness and families.  Reynor’s performance, as the golden boy who may have blown it all, is genuine and understated.

My only criticism concerns the casts’ Irish accents which, at quite a few points, rendered the dialogue difficult to understand.  It would have been a help for the film to have had English language subtitles.  On the plus side though, the acting in “What Richard Did” is so strong that the meaning came across even if I could not always make out what the characters were saying.

For information on the Tribeca Film Festival visit


About unpaidfilmcritic

Up until 2009 Seth Shire spent nearly two decades in the New York film industry as a post production supervisor of feature films. Highlights include working on the films of Martin Scorsese, James Toback and Spike Lee. Since leaving the film industry Seth has expanded into new and varied areas where he has found a great deal of satisfaction. Seth currently teaches in the Sociology Department of CUNY Queens College. His courses include "Mass Media and Popular Culture," "Introduction to Sociology," and "Sociology of Cinema" where he is a very popular teacher. Seth is also the film critic for "Town & Village," a Manhattan weekly newspaper, a position he has held for the past six years. Seth gives back to his community through volunteer teaching at Manhattan's "The Caring Community," a center for senior citizens, where he teaches a very popular course on documentaries called "The Golden Age of the Documentary. In the fall of 2010 Seth taught "Critical Reading and Writing" at Parsons School of Design. He has also taught "Cinema Studies" at the New York Film Academy. Seth lives in Stuyvesant Town, in Manhattan.

Posted on April 23, 2013, in New and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. You’ve got the knack, Seth, of making me want to see a film without giving it away. I would definitely want to see both of these.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: