Cinema by the Bay
USA, 2009, 96 minutes
Fri, Apr 24 / 9:00 / Kabuki / UNTI24K
Sat, Apr 25 / 8:45 / Kabuki / UNTI25K
Mon, Apr 27 / 4:15 / Kabuki / UNTI27K
The director of cult favorite Bartleby returns with this satiric comedy on that battleground of creativity, commerce and love: the downtown art scene and the self-obsessed, remarkably dressed individuals that pose and preen within. Busy crumpling paper and kicking buckets during his “sound performance,” avant-garde composer Adrian (Adam Goldberg, Two Days in Paris) at first has little time for his brother’s date, the aggressively fashionable art gallery dealer Madeleine (Marley Shelton). Finally aroused by the sounds of her vinyl clothes and apparently sincere flattery (“I’m still shaking from your bucket kick: Is it a death knell? A call to manual labor?”), Adrian soon finds himself in a new world of fancy gallery openings, collector courtships and difficult artistes, where opinions are “judgments” and the one with the most jargon wins. Unfortunately, his brother, a painter whose work is better suited to hotel lobbies than museums, also wants Madeleine’s love and (even worse) a chance to prove he’s a real artist. A former modernist musician and collector of abstract expressionism, director Jonathan Parker flavors his smart and sexy love triangle between three narcissists with an insider’s perspective on the pretensions and passions of the contemporary art and new music scenes, ably assisted by a razor-sharp script and excellent support from a cast that includes Vinnie Jones as a Damien Hirst–like firebrand and Zak Orth as a befuddled collector. “Sometimes you hide behind intellectual mannerisms,” notes one character about another’s artwork. As this urbane film makes clear, it’s a comment that applies both hilariously and sometimes horrifyingly to everyone onscreen.
Presented in association with the American Conservatory Theater and Other Minds