Recently I did some work on promoting and representing a movie - Tears of Bankers, the latest (25th!) by Rick "Feature Filmmaking at Used Card Prices/Extreme DV" Schmidt. Though I have been a big fan of Rick's writing & film work over the years, and we are working together on some future projects, I think I can still offer a useful reaction to the movie as an audience member. Here are my thoughts about Tears of Bankers as I watched it at Anthology Film Archives on Tuesday night as a part of the NewFilmmakers series, just as an audience member, with all of my other hats off.
1. The structure that Rick uses - blending characters addressing the camera directly and telling stories about their lives with the regular action of the movie/the regular unfolding of the plot - is an acquired taste. Rick does it pretty well, though it is difficult on some segments to see what the relevance of the direct-to-camera story is to the sequence from the movie that immediately follows it - sometimes this created, for me, absurd and funny moments. Ed Burns also uses direct-to-camera segments by characters and does it well. Rick's segments are longer and cover aspects that are sometimes removed from the immediate plot in the movie. Rick's segments are also different than what Woody Allen did when he used a little bit of such scenes in Annie Hall. Either way, if you are comfortable with that structure, the movie should work very well for you.
2. The subject matter of the film is very interesting - a person dealing with a mortgage crisis, and might be of interest to many people who are dealing with the same or have dealt with the same over the last few years.
3. The film was shot well, edited well, with good music, and for the most part the acting was well done/solid - so overall a well made movie.
4. From what I know a lot of the movie was improvised or was developed without a script. For a movie made in such a fashion, this one feels like it was well thought out or well written/similar to a scripted movie. So this improvised indie movie does not fall short as many other improvised indie films, by younger directors, usually do. Tears holds up well against a scripted movie.
5. Overall the feeling created by the movie is that of watching a real story, perhaps a documentary.
6. Looks like the film was color corrected in such a manner as to strip away some of the vibrancy that comes with video. Perhaps this was done to reflect the mental state of the main character - who is, for much of the story, beaten down by financial worries.
7. So, overall, for someone who is interested in the subject matter: a person dealing with financial/mortgage trouble, and is comfortable with a unique way of telling the story - a structure that uses long segments where the characters addresses the camera, Tears may be a good movie to watch. I certainly enjoyed the movie. In a world where indie films and mainstream films, for the most part, no longer look and feel different from each other, it is interesting to see Rick tell a story his own way.
For more on Tears of Bankers, go here.
New blogs for projects by NYC artist Katheryn McGaffigan:
Blog 10 (no blog 9, numbered wrong)