Montclair Film Festival: A Look Back At Day 2 #MFF15

It’s now the third day of the Montclair Film Festival, which runs through May 10th. Here are some of the offerings that were on view yesterday, the second day of the festival.

A Conversation with Richard Gere and Stephen Colbert
Veteran actor and philanthropist Richard Gere sat down with Stephen Colbert at the Wellmont Theater to discuss his career and his latest film, Time Out of Mind, which also screened at the festival later that afternoon. Not many of Gere’s other films were mentioned, but Colbert went into detail on the uniqueness of Time Out of Mind, a portrait of a homeless New Yorker played by Gere, whose director, Oren Moverman, was in the audience. (Moverman also co-wrote Love and Mercy, another film at the festival.) Gere discussed how his Buddhist beliefs have impacted on his view of objective reality (which sparked a half-joking debate on pragmatic philosophy between Colbert and Gere) and Colbert didn’t hesitate to tease Gere on the compliments he received from the audience and festival Executive Director Tom Hall, which all had something to do with compliments from mothers.


The One That Got Away
A distinctly local film still a work in progress showed next at the Wellmont. Director John Block was in attendance to introduce his documentary on Tourrie Wilson, a promising Montclair student who found himself embroiled in the gang wars of Montclair and is now serving a 15-year prison sentence for murder. Glenfield Middle School teachers Dan Gill and Deborah Maher both played prominent roles in this character study probing how such a bright young man could have lost his way. The section of the film that announced Mr. Gill had no plans to retire was met with a roar of approval from the audience, and a sweet after-film Q and A with the director, cinematographer, and the teachers featured in the film was well-received.


Love and Mercy
Probably one of the most unique rock biopics ever made, Love and Mercy traces two periods in the life of Beach Boys frontman and musical genius Brian Wilson, played as a younger man by Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood) and as an older one by John Cusack. Director Bill Pohlad uses Wilson’s apparent developing psychosis as a backbone to trace, on one hand, the creation of the Beach Boys’ 1966 album Pet Sounds, and on the other, Wilson meeting his second wife (Elizabeth Banks) in the late eighties while under the influence of a manipulative, over-medicating psychiatrist (the ferociously snarling Paul Giamatti). The film is fascinating from beginning to end, half an homage to sixties “behind the music” documentaries and half a surrealist exploration of an addled mind. Cusack and Dano are both uniquely incredible in their roles. This film stands to become the sleeper hit of the festival.


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