The answer was right in front of me, but I couldn't see it. I was searching for a common thread among the three features opening this Friday - BECOMING ASTRID, BEAUTIFUL BOY and MARIA BY CALLAS - when the answer finally revealed itself; each character - a true-life story - found their voice through writing.
BECOMING ASTRID doesn't focus on the famous writer of the Pippi Longstocking series, but rather on the spirited young woman who grew up to become a famous writer. Restless and eager to break free from the confines of her conservative upbringing, Astrid accepts an internship at a local newspaper where she uses her imagination and flair for storytelling to overcome personal challenges, and she emerges with a newfound courage that will later form the foundation of a vast and beloved body of work. BECOMING ASTRID is a well-told tale, anchored by an incredible performance by Danish-Swedish actress Alba August. "A gorgeous piece of heritage filmmaking." -Variety. "This film about an exemplary woman...is as much a pleasure as it is a lesson." -RogetEbert.com
MARIA BY CALLAS is directed by Tom Volf, but he's likely the first to acknowledge that Ms. Callas is the true author of this work. Told through performances, TV interviews, home movies, family photographs, private letters and unpublished memoirs - nearly all of which have never been shown to the public - the film reveals the essence of an extraordinary woman who rose from humble beginnings in New York City to become a glamorous international star and one of the greatest artists of all time. "Dazzling." -Rolling Stone. "Captivating." -The Hollywood Reporter
BEAUTIFUL BOY is based not only on the best-selling memoir by David Sheff ("Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addcition"), but on his son Nic's memoir as well ("Tweak: Growing Up on Methaphetamines"). It's a harrowing story of recovery and relapse and the love and hard work that sees a family through a difficult time. Timothee Chalamet, the great young actor from LADY BIRD and CALL ME BY YOUR NAME stars with a cast that includes Steve Carell, Amy Ryan and Maura Tierney. "An emotional powerhouse too powerful to resist." -Rolling Stone
Elsa Dorfman, the subject of Errol Morris's lovely documentary - THE B-SIDE: ELSA DORFMAN'S PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY - also wanted to be a writer. Instead she became a photographer, a great photographer. And in this film, showing Sunday at noon, she is frank, revealing and funny. Preceding the feature is a short film by New York filmmaker Lynne Sachs. CAROLEE, BARBARA AND GUNVOR are three female filmmakers that the director has known for decades. It's a beautiful testimonial to life-long friendship and living the creative life.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JEFF BRIDGES! You are 69 years young today. Next Saturday, December 15th, we're showing, possibly for the umpteenth time, THE BIG LEBOWSKI. If you'd care to drop by, I'll save you a seat. As a door prize we're giving away two copies "The Dude And The Zen Master," The New York Timesbest-seller that you authored with the late Bernie Glassman. And Jeff, the popcorn is on the house.