Friday, April 29, 2011
Lynn Shelton's early WE GO WAY BACK gets a late theatrical release in Brooklyn
TrustMovies' first time to see WE GO WAY BACK, the early (2006) film from Lynn Shelton, the woman who brought us Humpday in 2009 and My Effortless Brilliance in 2008. To TM's taste, this older film is twice the movie Humpday was: funnier, faster, finer in every way. Delicate with out being wispy, and with quite an original idea at its core, the film grabs you, places you into various moods from light to dark, and will not let go until the final frame -- at which point you are left to wonder what will happen to our heroine: a young woman who, up until that point, has shown herself to be quite the lovely and much-used doormat.
Amber Hubert, below, right, and at bottom) bring to wonderful, alternately annoying/funny/sad life.
The filmmaker's "take" on the theater company, its actors and particularly its director results in some of the funniest, low-key satire of an "experimental" theater doing "the classics" that I have ever seen. Simply for what Shelton lets us see and hear of the company's re-creation of Ibsen's Hedda Gabbler, her film deserves its own "classic" status. This is prime stuff, hilarious and all too true. (It should make us New Yorkers even more thankful for our own Pearl Theater Company, which, for nearly thirty years, has given us those classics in their real, rightful form -- unadorned by idiotic experimenters. And it's not that I'm against experimental theater. But create it on your own for christ's sake -- don't bowdlerize your betters.
Maggie Brown (above and further above), and the various men in Kate's life are given small but telling moments. Her theater director is played by Robert Hamilton Wright, and he is low-key, pretentious perfection. Without giving away too much, I hope, I will say that because the director sees the character of Hedda's hubby as a man-child, he decides to replace the adult actor with his own teen-age nephew (below, left). If we were to see the finished production of this Hedda, it might just prove the funniest theater piece of all time. (On the other hand, it might bore us to sleep before our laughter could take wing.)
We Go Way Back opens today for a week's run in Brooklyn at the re-Run Gastropub theater. I saw the film on a wonderfully bright, crisp Blu-ray screener, which put the first-rate cinematography (by Benjamin Kasulke) up front. I hope that the film will be eventually be available to the public -- on DVD, and if possible on Blu-ray.