The Tribeca Film Festival is the biggest New York event of its kind, and as such finds itself uniquely positioned to feature movies across genres that tell distinctive and affecting stories that simply wouldn’t be the same in Pittsburgh, Cleveland or Los Angeles.
This year’s edition has seemed especially strong on that front, with movies covering everything from David Byrne’s color guard concert at Barclays Center in 2015 (the documentary “Contemporary Color”) to The New York Times obituary team (“Obit”), a comedy set on the New York improv scene (“Don’t Think Twice”), a drama set in the world of custody courts (“Custody”) and Thursday’s 40th anniversary screening of “Taxi Driver,” one of the all-time iconic New York pictures.
All of these movies screen at least one more time before Tribeca wraps up on Sunday, as do the following three pictures, each of which presents an authentic vision of a New York City milieu rarely seen on the big screen. (Info: tribecafilm.com.)
This is a basketball city, through and through. This Bart Freundlich drama, which the 46-year-old filmmaker/husband of Julianne Moore had been developing since high school, offers a coming-of-age story set amid the Manhattan hoops world that features spectacularly fluid basketball action and a sharply realized sense of the West Fourth Street courts and high school gyms as a metaphoric proving ground for Anthony Keller (Taylor John Smith), a high school star coping with a difficult relationship with his father Lee (Michael Shannon).
‘All This Panic’
Jenny Gage’s documentary effectively functions as a feature-length diary following several teenage girls growing up in the city. Her subjects share their deepest thoughts, in evocative close-ups, as they confront and cope with the joys and pangs of youth, and the ultimate reality that time is forever fleeting. It plays a bit like a modern version of the Michael Apted “Up” series, in which the sort of confessionals one might expect to find on social media are rendered with great context and deeper significance.
‘Women Who Kill’
One of the unquestioned discoveries of the festival, a movie that’s been such a big hit among Tribeca audiences that programmers added a screening, Ingrid Jungermann’s murderous relationship comedy offers a spin on its family-friendly Park Slope setting, capturing one of the city’s most gentrified neighborhoods with a sinister sheen that expresses the reality that nothing in New York is ever quite what it seems to be.