Flutterby™! : Pieces of April

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Pieces of April

2005-03-13 19:47:16.722376+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

Apologies for the lack of entries from me over the last week, and thanks to those who helped pick up the slack. My parents were in town, left yesterday morning, and Charlene and I spent the rest of yesterday goofing off and doing nothing. Out to Limantour Beach to nap on the sand and listen to the surf break (the fog never lifted, so it was cold, but very soothing), and we rented a pair of movies, Harvie Krumpet[Wiki] and Pieces of April[Wiki].

Harvie Krumpet[Wiki] was one of those cute little clay animation pieces that had a few laughs, not a wasted watch, but nothing that spoke to us deeply.

However, especially given the week with family, and partially because it crept up on us by being a little slow and apparently light (and even mean-spirited) in the beginning, Pieces of April[Wiki] was one of the most powerful movies we've seen in a while. When the climax hits, it's an instant tear-jerker.

It follows the slightly punk April, who lives in a run-down tenement in New York, and her black boyfriend Bobby, as they prepare to host a Thanksgiving visit from April's estranged suburban family. To get a feel for the depth of the estrangement we also follow the family as they deal with the grandmother's Alzheimer's, the mother's most-likely losing battle with breast cancer, on the drive into the city.

As her boyfriend leaves to run an unspecified (and, from the context, we assume unsavory) errand, April prepares to put a turkey in the oven, only to discover (after clearing out the assorted items that had been stored there) that it doesn't work. So we have the escapades as April meets her assorted neighbors in the hopes of borrowing oven time as each of them makes similar preparations, along with all of the conflicts that come up from the rest of these personalities.

And when it all comes together there's a tremendous feeling of "where the hell did all of these tears come from". Recommended.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Animation Movies Food Sociology New York ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2005-03-14 15:07:53.454086+00 by: petronius

I, too enjoyed Pieces of April. While the estranged kid, bumptious family theme is one of the standard indie-film plots (alongside the basic "Coming Of Age in New Jersey", the "Sensitive Child Observing the Strange Grieving Rituals of Southern Adults" story and the "Aren't Republicans Awful" plotlines), I particularly liked the dying mother's what-the-fuck attitude. While the prospect of hanging might indeed concentrate the mind, I think a certain impatinece with all the bullshit is a reasonable approach.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-03-14 15:45:43.314636+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, this could have so easily been a "director thinking he has something profound to say because his mom died of breast cancer" film, but it wonderfully transcended that genre.

And the culmination shot... We knew what was coming, but the way in which it was cut together took that trite moment and tied it back to some particularly poignant elements of earlier scenes was beautiful.