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NHFF 2011 Art Film “American Animal” Itches for Release on May 18

American Animal was one of my favorite films at the festival last year, I really enjoyed the complexity of themes taking place amidst a background of simplicity.  The entire set consists of one loft apartment, taking place over one day, with a cast of just four people, but wastes no time diving into questions of why we do the things we do, the difference between reality and perceived reality, and an analysis of an entitled generation.

The synopsis from American Animal’s website: Jimmy is a terminally ill young man. He is also quite eccentric, bordering on plain old crazy, and starting today he has decided that he is ‘happy’ and no longer sick. Jimmy’s roommate James is a healthy, dreamy young man. They’re best friends. They live together. They don’t do much of anything and they seem very happy that way. Today, they have a couple of female friends over to their downtown Los Angeles loft for just another day of drinks, drugs, board games and casual sex, among other things. All seems well. But trouble arises when it gets revealed that James will be leaving for a new job in the morning. Jimmy, feeling betrayed, is not pleased by this development. He sees it as nothing short of the destruction of the perfect little world that they’ve set up, and a humorous battle of wills ensues as James prepares for the real world and Jimmy falls deeper and deeper into his world of illness, isolation, and make-believe.

In Slant Magazine’s Review of the film it is called “uncompromising” and like a lazy writer I’m  going to concede to the fact that Slant got it totally and completely right and stop searching the thesaurus for an all encompassing synonym for edgy, crazy, forceful, and insightful.  Because the film does not care about the cringing, and laughing audience, in fact it continues with no care for any audience reaction at all, but instead is completely driven by a strong cast that stays true throughout.

We had the pleasure of having writer, director and lead actor, Matt D’Elia in attendance, who was so very far from the Jimmy of American Animal, that it was shocking.  As D’Elia conducted his Q&A, it was amazing to me how he kept all three of his film entities separate, never compromising on what he as an actor would be comfortable with as oppose to what the script he wrote called for, and continually pushing himself as the director to get to the right intensity as Jimmy.  It was fascinating.

The film was picked up by Screen Media Films and opens on May 18 at the Village East Cinema in NYC.

Don’t miss this film.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jMhqPZMWNw&ob=av3e[/youtube]


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