Saturday, December 13, 2014
"What It Was": another "Tree of Life" meditation, this time in a NYC community of color
At the QA for a showing of his film “What It Was” at the HRC Friday night Dec. 13 for Reel Affirmations, director Daniel Armando said that he was inspired by the style of Terrence Malick.
Indeed, the story is layered, reflective and visual, with little dialogue. Adina (Arlene Chico-Lugo), a Latino actress, has lost her sister and seen her marriage collapse while living and working in LA. She returns home to the Bronx, and finds her true self, partly with another woman (Deidre Herlihy), but also with another male Puerto Rican actor (Lenny Thomas).
The film does have some odd effects, making a lot of body art and paintings sessions.
There have been other esoteric gay films, most notably “Judas Kiss”, in Malick-style, but this time the emphasis are on the artistic and visual values of a community of color. And the experience is truly bisexual.
One could wonder if the film could have a “prequel”, showing what life is like in LA for younger and less established actors, leveraging themselves on social media.
I could imagine a film with this concept, about my life when I returned from "my own life" in other cities home to look after my mother in the past decade. It wasn't pretty. Maybe a better title would be "What It Had Been."
The look of this film is often mid 70s or 80s. I don’t recall much modern technology in effect. This how some of New York when I lived there in the late 70s.
Afterward there was reception, and the food was definitely ethnic, and right out of an Anthony Bourdain “Parts Unknown”, which has visited the Bronx.
The official site is here (Novo Novus).
The music score, by Sean Balas, uses a lot of religious choral music, somewhat in the fashion of “Tree of Life”.