As if you needed another reason to visit New York, the Tribeca Film Festival has begun rolling out its annual showcase of must-see movies. Now in its 15th year, it was started in the wake of 9/11 to help revitalise lower Manhattan. From an Estonian crime black comedy (Mother) to a Mexican doc about a macho mariachi singer with HIV (The Charro of Toluquilla), it continues to serve up an eclectic global mix – amid a feast of the hottest new US indies and docs. Here’s what we can’t wait to see...
Women Who Kill
Brooklyn-based filmmaker Ingrid Jungermann became known for the whip-smart, bitingly satirical web series The Slope that she made with Desiree Akhavan about two “superficial” lesbians. Her former creative partner’s solo offering Inappropriate Behaviour was just as deadpan and sassy. Now Jungermann’s hotly awaited directorial debut feature Women Who Kill will have a Tribeca world premiere. She plays Morgan, who hosts a true crime podcast with an ex. Paranoia and awkward situations erupt as the pair suspect Morgan’s mysterious new love interest might be a murderer.
The First Monday in May
Tribeca opens with the world premiere of a doc about another high-profile New York showcase – the Met Gala. Each year, the themed couture party opens the Costume Institute’s fashion exhibit, and it’s no place for restraint. Rihanna dropped jaws last year by turning up to perform in imperial yellow Guo Pei with a mammoth hand-embroidered train. Director Andrew Rossi takes us behind the scenes of the creation of 2015’s “China: Through the Looking Glass” show, from debates over the cross-over of fashion and art, down to intricate seating-chart logistics.
Wickedly funny yet melancholy indie Actor Martinez follows its directors Nathan Silver and Mike Ott as they try to get a film made with the title character, a Denver pot-smoking computer repairman intent on gaining a level of recognition to free him from his daily grind. The tyrannical aspects of directing are as much the brunt of the film’s comedy as the limits of less than transformative acting. As the working relationships between cast and crew become awkwardly strained, the film blurs the lines between performance and reality to a mind-bending degree.
Maurizio Cattelan: Be Right Back
Maura Axelrod’s doc portrait of art world provocateur Maurizio Cattelan will have its world premiere in a special Tribeca screening at the Guggenheim. The Italian artist is best-known for satirical sculptures that take the mickey out of society’s powerful forces, such as Pope John Paul II being crushed by a meteor, and a marble hand giving the finger outside the Milan Stock Exchange. The film’s title echoes the words on the sign of the closed gallery door at Cattelan’s first solo exhibition, summing up his prankster sense of humour.
Taxi Driver – 40th Anniversary
With Robert de Niro one of Tribeca’s founders and driving forces, it’s only fitting that a screening will mark the 40th anniversary of Taxi Driver. It boasts one of his most iconic roles as Travis Bickle, a New York cabbie and Vietnam vet turned off-the-rails vigilante. Shot during a heatwave with steam rising from manholes, it’s wired with edgy aggression, and is a searing take on urban alienation. In other words: it’s American filmmaking at its fiercest. Director Martin Scorsese, writer Paul Schrader, De Niro and actresses Jodie Foster and Cybill Shepherd will all reunite for an onstage conversation.
Tribeca Film Festival runs until April 23, 2016.