My second day of festival-going once again started bright and early, and boy, was I happy with my strategy of just dumping a box of breakfast bars into my bag at the beginning of the day, because managed to go back-to-back-to-back-to-back all day, with no breaks in between. The intoxicating thing about TFF for a movie fan like me is that you can just float from one movie to the next, and with the locations so close together (I spent my day shuttling between the Chelsea Clearview and the Barnes & Noble on Union Square), it almost feels like the movies are coming to you.
My Friday kicked off with the Polish feature Floating Skyscrapers, an absolutely gorgeous film on a few levels, albeit one that leads to a gut-punch of an ending. This story of a Polish swimmer who finds himself suddenly and intensely attracted to another man is quite compelling. Director Tomasz Wasilewski films some of the more breathtaking underwater scenes in recent memory, and not to get shallow or anything, but you're not going to find two more beautiful actors at the festival than Mateusz Banasiuk and Bartosz Gelner as our unexpected lovers.
After that, it was off to the Barnes & Noble for the New Chick Flicks panel. There were so many great insights from all four panelists. ESPN's Libby Geist talked about her desire to get past simple cheerleading in her series of films about Title IX in women's sports. Tanya Ager Meillier and Rachel Boynton gave insight into the documentary-producing process and the challenges for women therein. Most significantly, writer/producer Laura Goode made such a passionate case for her film, Farah Goes Bang, that I immediately began searching for ways to fit it into my schedule later this week. The enthusiasm for independent film at this festival is really infectious, and I was excited to have yet another movie to devour soon enough.
Back to Chelsea, then, for an afternoon double-header. Bluebird was an atmospheric and lived-in portrayal of small-town American life and the unforeseen events that can ripple through them. Lead actress Amy Morton -- whom you might remember as George Clooney's sister in Up in the Air or perhaps for her blistering Broadway work (August: Osage County; Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf) -- is absolutely mesmerizing and heartbreaking. Certainly one of the performances of the festival so far.
Adult World managed to be my biggest surprise of the festival so far. I found myself absolutely delighted by Scott Coffey's gawky comedy, and especially by the lead performance of Emma Roberts. I was not prepared for just how funny she is, utterly unself-conscious and gifted with some crack timing. Whenever I get to the point of comparing a young actress to "a young Natalie Portman," as I did to a friend afterwards, a) slap me, because Natalie Portman is still incredibly young, but b) take notice, because it's high praise. Also, check this out for rather wonderful supporting work from John Cusack and Evan Peters. Unexpected gems like this one are what make the Tribeca Film Festival so exciting. Go and discover something cool today.