The Tribeca Film Festival came to an end Sunday night, but before we put the 13th edition in the books and join the rest of the movie world in spending the coming days being unavoidably obsessed with “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” here’s a look back at the best movies we saw over the past week and a half.
Of course, some context is key: no one could possibly see every film, or even a majority of the movies, offered in a comprehensive festival like this. While it’s hard to say exactly when most of these movies will come around again, it’s a safe bet that they’ll all be distributed.
1. “Among the Believers”
This is a superb documentary that offers an unfettered look at life inside and surrounding the extremist Red Mosque madrassa system in Pakistan, a view of the opposite side in the predominant geopolitical struggle of our age that is at once deeply scary when it comes to what it may presage about the future and thoroughly enlightening.
2. “King Jack”
The audience award winner among the festival’s narrative movies evokes the hopelessness and ennui of small-town American life as it manifests in something far more sinister: a bully stalking a neighborhood teen, driven by a painful past in a violent and affecting movie that achieves its depth through the power of suggestion and the weight of what’s left unsaid.
This documentary is an ideal companion piece to “Among the Believers,” shifting focus from Pakistan to the Pittsburgh, where an FBI informant seeks to ingratiate himself with a man suspected of terrorist sympathies. An impressive feat of filmmaking, relying on secretive angles and feeding off intense emotions, it’s also a provocative look at the thin line between the illusion of security and the reality.
4. “Bleeding Heart”
Jessica Biel and Zosia Mamet, both superb, star as long-lost sisters in a movie about the fierce and immovable bond between family and the sacrifices one makes in its name.
5. “The Wolfpack”
Tribeca offers a superb collection of documentaries. This one, about a family of movie buff brothers who rarely leave their apartment, is one of the strangest and most affecting. It opens in theaters June 12.