Friday, February 4, 2011

To Be Understood

It has been quite a week and it isn't over yet.

On Sunday, my son Aaron sounded giddy on the phone. He was talking fast as he has always done when he is excited and his mind is racing ahead of his words. We discussed the feature in the Sunday Times, the week of scheduled interviews and appearances, and of course the opening of Cold Weather at IFC on Friday. In the midst of all the excitement, I could hear some tension when he spoke about the esteemed New York Times reviewer who would be writing about his film in the Friday paper. I asked if he had any idea what to expect and he replied somewhat nervously, "I'm hoping she wouldn't have taken the assignment if she didn't like the film."

I have a Google Alert set up on my computer that generates an email every time something about Aaron's movie is posted on the Internet. When I counted them this morning, I found more than 50 alerts since Monday and each one of them leads to several postings. All week, every few hours, I've checked my computer, read the blog postings, read the articles/interviews, and I still can't get my head around this phenomenon. My little boy and his little movie have been hashed around in the New York Times, New Yorker Magazine, Wall Street Journal, NPR, ABC Entertainment, Time Out New York, and Village Voice, to name just a few.

A lot of people are enthusiastic about the film, some luke warm, and a few hate it. Most writers mention the DIY independent film movement referred to as Mumblecore. Many go on to say Aaron's films have always stood out from the others as having a more polished aesthetic and a keen sense of place and character. They all talk about the detective genre and the connection to Sherlock Holmes. Those who like it are drawn to the quirkiness of the characters, the subtly infused humor, the cleaver twist of plot, and the stunning image of Portland's gray skies.

All day yesterday I nervously checked the New York Times website looking for the promised review. When it finally came through around 3 pm, I immediately knew Aaron would be pleased and why the words from this reviewer mattered. Manohla Dargis saw through all the hype about film movements and genre conventions and understood what Aaron was trying to achieve:
"With only the most natural of conversations and an exacting relay of close-ups, intimate two shots and meditative landscapes, Mr. Katz reveals how the self-knowing individual becomes known to others, and me turns into we."
"With no grand speeches or oversized gestures, Mr. Katz creates a specific world that gracefully enlarges with universal meaning. It's a world in which a simple coffee table (carried home by Doug in the beginning) becomes the literal centerpiece for newfound friendship, as the four characters meet for the first time one night, hanging out while Keegan Dewitt's tinkling percussive music keeps them company. As the camera (the cinematographer is the gifted Andrew Reed) moves around the table from one to the other, the warm light brightens their faces, pulling them out of the dark and toward shared discovery."
Last night even though the Skype connection was choppy, I could hear a calm in Aaron's voice. The final outcome of the whirlwind in New York no longer mattered. Aaron had achieved what he came for - to be understood.

Link to the New York Times review: click here


  1. o wow! What an experience! What an achievement. A very perceptive review indeed.

  2. Awesome. That's so cool for Aaron, his crew, and his mom. A tip of the hat to Manohlah Darcis as well.

  3. Ooops, in all the excitement I misspelled the reviewers name. It should have been Manohla Dargis. Please accept my apology.