Jennifer Gerber’s accomplished first feature emphasizes the disconnect between Pastor Eli and his Southern Baptist flock, which screenwriter Samuel Brett Williams details in a backstory about familial obligation and suppressed desires.
A straightforward performance film benefits one-person shows that are conversational or invoke characters through voice and gesture, but that doesn’t suit Okwui Okpokwasili’s demanding multidisciplinary piece, Bronx Gothic.
The defanged film adaptation of Stephen Karam’s 2007 play Speech & Debate takes a Breakfast Club approach to high school characters, defining each by a single trait. There’s journalism nerd Solomon (Liam James), theater geek Diwata (Sarah Steele), and openly gay Howie (Austin P. McKenzie).
In his atmospheric debut film, Simon Stone whittles down The Wild Duck into a cautionary tale about welcoming home an emotional exile. While stage adaptations of Henrik Ibsen’s tragicomedy often emphasize its farcical elements, Stone sticks to tragedy in his naturalistic version.
The debut feature of Australian theater director Rosemary Myers and playwright Matthew Whittet plays like the love child of Jane Campion and Guy Maddin, an otherworldly quinceañera that celebrates female rites of passage and the hallucinatory power of film.