Mistress America and the Freedom of Being

mistress america

Tracy just started a writing program at Barnard in NYC, however, her life is not what she had dreamed about. The literary club rejected her work, her only friend found himself a jealous girlfriend and being an introvert she dares not join the college party scene on her own. Suddenly, the idea of calling her soon-to-be stepsister Brooke she has never met doesn’t seem such a bad idea.
Brooke, a 30 year-old Times Square resident, turns out to be everything Tracy would dream of being: crazily fun, confident and enchantingly unpredictable. Together they start a fresh and honest friendship while Brooke becomes Tracy’s muse for her new writing piece, Mistress America.

As Michael Mohan perfectly describes in The Talkhouse, “The drama is rarely manufactured from plot, but usually stems from the characters going through some kind of real transition. And somehow he always manages to do this hilariously without ever betraying the characters or dramatic situations.

It’s true that Baumbach’s movies have a great deal of comedy and you usually find yourself smiling during most of the movie. But Mistress America is seriously hilarious, the whole scene at Dylan and Mamie-Claire’s house (Brooke’s ex-fiancé and ex-best friend respectively) with fast-paced dialogues, perfectly timed puns and twisted plots is simply perfect with absolutely no time for boredom. I remember wishing Woody Allen‘s last movie, Irrational Man, had been anywhere close to this. It’s, as some critics have described, a modern screwball comedy up to the best Capra.

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Narco Cultura- Barcelona In-Edit Festival

narco-cultura-in-edit-barcelona

I’ve lost count of how many festivals are based in Barcelona, almost every week there’s a chance of discovering a new artist or movement you hadn’t heard about.

Beefeater In – Edit is one of my favourites. Celebrating 11 years showing a selection of muisc documentaries, from the most internationally acclaimed to some portraying the local scene, this year it’s brought an especially sensitive film “Narco Cultura“.

From Israeli photo-reporter Schaul Schwarz and Spanish sound technician Juan Bertrán, who spent three years filming in Mexico and United States, Narco Cultura shows two opposite realities surrounding narco-trafficking in Mexico.

On one side we follow Richi Soto, working for the CSI of Juárez, dealing with violent murders every single day in one of the most dangerous cities of the world. The film spares no images when showing the victims and circumstances of the murders, so sensitive viewers should be alert. It is heart breaking to see desperate mothers crying for their lost children in what seems a never-ending absurd massacre. Richi confesses how he’s been tempted to quit, especially after some of his colleagues are murdered, but that he feels he’s gotta do his job.

On the other side of the border we follow Édgar Quintero lead singer of the BuKnas de Culiacán performing narcorridos, songs glorifying the deeds of Mexican drug lords. Getting more and more popular in Mexico and United States, Édgar sees no harm in singing about violence and murder. It’s his job and it’s better than what he was doing in his younger years when he ended in prison. Narco Cultura, portrays how multitudes chant together Quintero’s songs and teenagers confess they wouldn’t mind dating a narco as they’re successful and rich.

In cities where there are no jobs, being a drug lord seems to promise a better life a new form of American dream.

Make sure you don’t miss Narco Cultura, although harsh it’s an unmissable documentary to understand the reality of Mexico, will it ever change?