You know, the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival may not stand among the ranks of the world's biggest movie confabs, but its an unfailingly good time and the place where I saw three of my favorite movies of last year.
The festival returns from Nov. 11-15, and though the lineup hasn't been set (it says early October, so hopefully soon), you can find out other details about this year's event here. I'll be there, and I can't wait.
Last year, I saw easily my two favorite movies of 2008 there, "Let the Right One In" and "Tell No One" (granted, that one for the second time, which made it all add up a heck of a lot better.)
Just as good as finding movies like those, however, is walking into one I know next to nothing about and finding a real gem, which was the case with Jeremiah Zagar's "In a Dream." What did I expect it to be? I really had no idea except that the brief description said it had something to do with public art in Philadelphia, which sounded interesting enough to me. What I got, though, is a whole lot more.
The documentary is indeed a portrait of Zagar's father, Isaiah, who has covered 50,000 feet or so of South Philly with his very intricate mosaics. The works reveal details about his life with wife Julia and his two sons, which we slowly find out is almost as complex as his artwork itself.
There's no "Capturing the Friedmans" crime (or not?) here, but a secret that once revealed tears the Zagar family apart, and watching Isaiah and Julia try to put their lives back together can be as painful as it is ultimately insightful and very entertaining. Most of all, it's a touching look at a man who is capable of great public works but at the same time has a lot of difficulty dealing with the rest of the world around him, and I recommend it very highly.
The DVD is out this week, and can be rented through Netflix or purchased at Amazon or through the movie's official site here. Here's the trailer, to give you more of a taste of a truly unique documentary. Peace out.