One of the big questions many have coming away from Lisa DApolitos mesmerizing feature documentary Love, Gilda which kicked off Tribeca on Wednesday is why Gilda Radner Saturday Night Live peers Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and even Father Guido Sarducci (aka Don Novello) arent interviewed in the movie.
Truth be told DApolito did in fact reach out to all of Radners peers -well over 100 names- however, some never responded. No hard feelings, DApolito gets it.
“Its hard for everybody (to talk about Radner),” says the director, “People loved her so much and to talk about her, was very painful because it brought back that loss. I totally understand why people didnt want to be in it. Its personal.”
Of those SNL folks who worked with Radner in the doc are her writing partner Alan Zweibel, SNL producer Lorne Michaels, Martin Short (who was in Godspell with Radner), Chevy Chase, and Laraine Newman.
Whats striking about the doc is how DApolito gets into Radners ID, and how much of the film is narrated by the late comedienne. Much of that stems from the 32-hour audio archives which Gildas brother Michael Radner provided to DApolito including a chemo-therapy short that the comedienne made. Radners audio files are from when she was writing her autobiography Its Always Something. DApolito found her way to making the doc as she helmed many of the videos for Radners fundraising non-profit for cancer patients Gildas Club.
Before Radners husband Gene Wilder passed in August 2016, DApolito spent a day with him about a year before he died. Wilder is not in the doc out of respect for the fact that he was ill in the last year of his life. “You can tell why Gilda loved him. People say he wasnt funny, but he was funny,” says DApolito.
“He told me all kinds of great stories, he said he couldnt live with her and couldnt live without her. I think that kind of sums up their relationship,” says the director.
Love, Gilda continually underscores how Radner was a pioneer for female empowerment in comedy. “Gilda felt equal to men,” says DApolito, “She could be up there with John Belushi and all these guys and if it wasnt working her way, shed would find a way to make it work.”
The CNN Films doc will air in early 2019.
‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.
Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.
More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.
The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.
Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)
The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.
Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”
“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.