Pros at Con

Craig Zobel and Ann Dowd, NYC, 6/22/12

In director Craig Zobel’s first feature, “Great World of Sound,” Pat Healy plays an unwitting con artist, feeding the dreams of would-be pop idols, picking their mostly shallow pockets to produce useless demos.

In Zobel’s follow-up, “Compliance,” Healy, barely seen for most of the film, is all malice, even when eating a turkey sandwich.  Based on a true story, Healy phones an Ohio fast food restaurant and claiming to be a cop, Officer Daniels, convinces Sandra (Ann Dowd), the stressed-out manager, that one of her employees has stolen from a customer and must be detained.  As his demands escalate, Sandra, other employees and her fiancé are stuck in a frustration dream with its own logic, horrifyingly powerless to defy the disembodied voice.

Zobel works his metaphor lightly, without literally suggesting bigger cons perpetuated by bigger authority (e.g., WMDs/the Bush administration, the financial meltdown).

Unlike his new film Craig Zobel is very funny.  He recently worked producing “Prince Avalanche” (a remake of “Either Way,” an Icelandic road comedy), directed by David Gordon Greene, in perhaps a hybrid of his “George Washington” and “Pineapple Express” styles–I can only hope.  Asked what he’ll next direct himself, Zobel said he can’t wait to make a third film because then he’ll feel like a real director:  “Do you remember Kim’s Video?  You needed to have made three films to get your own section.”

“Compliance” screens at BAMcineFest Friday, June 29 at 9:30 pm, followed by a Q&A and will open theatrically in August.

Perceived deception and the actions prompted by the delusion, derail a marriage in André Téchiné’s “Unforgivable” (“Impardonnables”).

Judith (Carole Bouqet, with a hairdo reminiscent of David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust phase–she’s beautiful anyway), a model earlier in her life and now working as a real estate broker in Venice, rents enviable real estate, an island house, to Francis (André Dussollier), a successful crime novelist planning to write a new book.  They soon marry and live with the upheaval of learning  about each other.   And like in one of my favorite films, Téchiné’s “My Favorite Season” (“Ma Saison Préférée”), the examination of family, relationships, love, guilt, responsibilities is profoundly true and very moving.

“Unforgivable” will open on Friday, June 29 in New York and Los Angeles.

André Téchiné

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2 Responses to Pros at Con

  1. Pingback: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Jerk | Talking Pictures

  2. Pingback: Love’s (Willing) Labor | Talking Pictures

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