30 April 2012 | rjc722
Future Weather Has Bright & Sunny Future
The old adage "save the best for last" certainly applies to this year's Tribeca Film Festival as the last screening I attended was the thought provoking emotional journey Future Weather. I met its writer, director and producer Jenny Deller at the Tribeca Press Reception where she gave me the film's background and I'm happy to say it lived up to my expectations. In fact, after watching it, it's hard to assess what this triple threat filmmaker does best.
Obviously this is not the kind of story that utilizes car chases and explosions. Although, despite the fact that its main cast is all female, it's far from a chick flick. The basic plot deals with how a very bright and mature thirteen year old, recently abandoned by her not so bright and immature mother, uses her love of science to fill the gap of a normal family life. Lead actress Perla Haney-Jardine's "Laduree" carries the film with just the right amount of security for her age without seeming too much like a Juno-esque smart-aleck. Lili Taylor's portrayal of understanding teacher "Ms. Markovi" is quite different than many of her other roles and Amy Madigan's beer guzzling grandma "Greta" adds great comic relief.
What helps the characters drives the film is a great balance of dramatic emotion and knowledge. Environmental metaphors not only explain the premise but thanks to Deller's brilliant script they subtly bring together the duel storyline thereby giving it an intelligent, yet relatable perspective. In fact, trying to guess where and how the scientific symbolism will relate to our protagonist is part of the fun and makes watching both interesting and entertaining. In addition, once Deller lays out her characters nothing seems forced. Case in point, we know "Laduree" loves the environment so it seems natural that she would stop in the middle of the street and recycle a plastic bag.
Visually, Denner's direction certainly shows how the actual art of film can say plenty without too much or in some cases any dialogue. Consciously (or sub-consciously) her quick cuts in the right places accentuate humor, her wide singular shots signify loneliness and of course various close-ups show intensity. This versatility may seem like filmmaking 101 except for one thing
as she indicated to me in a previous interview
Deller never took filmmaking 101! Her self taught style is therefore all the more impressive.
Bottom line, if there's one filmmaker that should feel satisfaction from Tribeca 2012
it's Deller. Not only was this "never attended film school" female writer/director/producer's first outing in an A-List festival a feature length...but she combined a story very personal to her by utilizing a political issue very passionate to her. No doubt her creative vision could one day make her the next Nora Ephron, Penny Marshall or Kathryn Bigelow.