The crowd-pleasing Cinemania section returns to the Tribeca Film Festival, tempting audiences to experience the most exciting genre films from all corners of the globe. Typified by tense thrillers of all types, this year’s program takes viewers from the simmering home invasion drama Replicas to a twisty underworld kidnapping plot in Graceland; from the intense action of France’s Sleepless Night to online gaming run amok in Rat King. The Cinemania films this year also embrace a darkly comic edge, including the darkly satirical Eddie – The Sleepwalking Cannibal, the over-the-top comedic violence of Revenge for Jolly!, and Jackpot’s heist-comedy-gone-wrong. This gripping lineup, alternately suspenseful and hilarious, serves up just the right number of twists and laughs for late-night filmgoers.
I spoke with Tribeca Festival Programmer Cara Cusumano this morning, and in her words, “ The section itself is supposed to be for late-night audiences. A lot of horror movies, a lot of extreme comedies, a lot of intense thrillers. A lot of stuff that will be exciting for late night screenings. We really want to represent the best of genre filmmaking because it’s really thriving and we want to celebrate it in a special way.”
Hit the jump for the lineup, some stills and a few more words from Cusumano!Eddie – The Sleepwalking Cannibal, directed and written by Boris Rodriguez. (Canada, Denmark) – North American Premiere, Narrative. Onetime art star Lars Olafssen is all washed up. Unable to paint without inspiration, he accepts a teaching stint at a small-time art school in podunk Koda Lake, Canada, and along with it the guardianship of the offbeat town’s neighborhood weirdo, Eddie. As their unlikely friendship evolves, Lars uncovers a dark and violent secret about Eddie’s nocturnal impulses, and finds himself torn between his duty to his friend and his duty to his art.
Graceland, directed and written by Ron Morales. (Philippines, USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Family man Marlon Villar is the longtime chauffeur of prominent politician Manuel Chango. While he and his daughter accompany his boss’ preteen daughter home, Marlon is ambushed and the wrong girl is kidnapped. Suddenly the unassuming driver is propelled into a horrifying downward spiral and, as events in his life unravel, Marlon, Chango, and their families become entangled in a game of deceit and betrayal that will leave no one innocent. In Tagalog with subtitles.
Jackpot (Arme Riddere), directed by Magnus Martens, written by Jo Nesbø. (Norway) – International Premiere, Narrative. Terrified, bloodied, and gripping a shotgun, Oscar Svendsen wakes up in what used to be a respectable strip joint, surrounded by eight corpses and with a gun pointed at him by a detective with the National Criminal Investigation Service. Naturally, Oscar is taken into custody, and during his interrogation a bloody and darkly comic story of betrayal, murder, and lottery winnings emerges—but is this the whole story? In Norwegian with subtitles.
Rat King, directed and written by Petri Kotwica. (Finland) – International Premiere, Narrative. Eighteen-year-old Juri spends his days absorbed in his computer gaming world, to the exclusion of school, friends, and ultimately his exasperated girlfriend. When his internet ally Niki turns up at his door fearing for his life because of a mysterious new online game, Juri eagerly follows him down the rabbit hole. In this taut, violent thriller, the lines between reality and the game blur as Juri and Niki are drawn into its increasingly morbid world. In Finnish with subtitles.
Replicas, directed by Jeremy Regimbal, written by Josh Close. (Canada) – World Premiere, Narrative. Following the tragic death of their young daughter, the Hughes family decide to escape to their upscale vacation home in the woods. But their attempt to get some quality time together is violently interrupted when a neighboring family with a hidden agenda drops by for dinner. First-time director Jeremy Regimbal builds tension to a calculated and ultimately brutal crescendo in this home-invasion thriller. Starring Selma Blair, Joshua Close, James D’Arcy, and Rachel Miner.
Revenge for Jolly!, directed by Chadd Harbold, written by Brian Petsos. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Harry (Brian Petsos) will stop at nothing to avenge the death of his beloved dog, Jolly. He and his demented cousin Cecil (Oscar Isaac) follow a series of clues in a frenzied attempt to track down the dog’s murderer, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Elijah Wood, Kristen Wiig, Adam Brody, Ryan Phillippe, Gillian Jacobs, Bobby Moynihan, Kevin Corrigan, David Rasche, Amy Siemetz, and Garret Dillahunt all stand between Harry and revenge for Jolly.
Sleepless Night (Nuit Blanche), directed by Frederic Jardin, written by Frederic Jardin and Nicolas Saada. (France, Belgium, Luxembourg) – New York Premiere, Narrative. Vincent is a dedicated police officer, or so it seems. After he steals a massive bag of cocaine, his young son winds up being held for ransom by the mob boss it belongs to. When Vincent travels to the outskirts of Paris to trade the drugs for his son, he gets caught in an intense cat-and-mouse game that quickly spirals out of control. This night might not only be the longest of his life—it could be the last. A Tribeca Film release.
More from my chat with Cusumano:
What’s the selection process like?
Similar to the other sections. We have our tracking and our outreach and we try to know what’s going on out in the world from filmmakers we love and work with. Also traveling around the world to other festivals and trying to find discoveries there. And also submissions, a lot of people send stuff in and we really do make discoveries that way.
You have seven films on this particular slate. Are there any encouraging trends you saw in the genre this year?
I think people are being really creative with how they use genre. Whether it’s how we see genre pop up in different kinds of films or how these particular Cinemania films are surprising and creative in how they tell their stories. Genre in unconventional ways, that’s what I’m most excited about. The film Rat King is about a guy who’s playing an online game that gets a little too real. I think that could be sort of a conventional premise, but it’s actually really surprising. It’s so smart and I think that’s the kind of thing that typifies the films across the board.
Since this is sort of the equivalent of midnight programming at Sundance, have you ever had anyone faint? I know you’re not quite at that altitude but do you have any good stories?
I think someone passed out at House Of The Devil when we premiered that a few years back. And we’re always hoping for more.