Filmmaker Cherien Dabis’s charming ‘May in the Summer’ kicked off Sundance with two of the festival’s traditional themes: family dysfunction and cultural reassimilation. Get ready for the wedding of the year.
Whether it’s David O. Russell’s twisted debut, 1994’s Spanking the Monkey, or the Southern drama Junebug in 2005, which marked the arrival of actress Amy Adams, there is a very rich history of films exploring the themes of cultural reassimilation and familial dysfunction at the Sundance Film Festival.
A scene from the film “May in the Summer,” directed by Cherien Dabis. (Thierry Van Biessen/Sundance Film Festival)
While this film may not belong in such lofty company, May in the Summer, Cherien Dabis’s sophomore feature—and the opening night film of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival—is a welcome entry to that tradition.
May Brennan (Dabis) seemingly has it all. She’s beautiful, intelligent, a successful author, and about to marry Ziad, an accomplished Columbia University professor. A Palestinian, she travels from New York to her hometown to plan her wedding. Things, however, don’t exactly go as planned. Her mother, Nadine (Hiam Abbass), a born-again Christian, doesn’t approve of her daughter marrying a Muslim, while her two younger sisters, party girl Yasmine (Nadine Malouf) and miserly Dalia (Alia Shawkat), are far from a calming influence on her. Meanwhile, her estranged American father, Edward (Bill Pullman), suddenly enters back into the picture and wants to be a part of her life. And she still has a wedding to plan. Pulled in a million different directions, and with the specter of her parents’ failed marriage looming large, May must decide if this is these nuptials are what she really wants or something that merely looks good on paper.
Once a young pol whose rise was dashed in a coming-out scandal, the former New Jersey governor says he’s done with politics, which is too driven ‘by ego, by self’—and he's focused on family, faith, and his job working with women prison inmates.
Former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey speaks on “Good Morning America,” Oct. 1, 2010. (Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty)
He has a virtuosic talent for connecting with human beings, especially fragile human beings, and he clearly revels in exercising that talent, dazzling anyone he encounters with people-pleasing charm and then basking in reflected affection.
It’s easy to see why the female prison inmates he works with—several of whom are featured in Fall to Grace, Alexandra Pelosi’s documentary about the ex-governor’s new life, premiering Jan. 18 at the Sundance Film Festival and on March 28 on HBO—trust and accept him. It’s also understandable why McGreevey would be somewhat amazed that a successful politician—namely Chris Christie—doesn’t seem to care if he’s likable or not.
Producers believe Lohan is to blame.
Here’s what happens when Lindsay Lohan gets blamed for everything. The producers of the independent film The Canyons are stunned that their film has been rejected by the Sundance Film Festival, but sources told TNZ on Wednesday that producers are blaming the snub on Lohan herself. Coming off of a tumultuous year, Stephen Rodrick’s viral New York Times article on Lohan surely didn’t help her cause. But all things considered, producer Braxton Pope is remaining optimistic. Lohan’s costar James Deen is following suit—joking that the festival falls on a more important day for him. “The AVN (porn awards),” he says “Priorities, man!!” Sundance is the biggest independent-film festival in the U.S., attracting cinema aficionados from across the globe.
Hizzoner is old now, and says he doesn’t have the energy to carry a grudge. But he still has the cojones to speak his mind: Thomas Freidman is a ‘pompous ass.’ Chuck Schumer is a lot of talk. Giuliani’s ‘a little crazy.’ Lloyd Grove takes it all in.
Even before he was an old man—a condition that tends to loosen the tongues of even the most circumspect of diplomats—Edward Irving Koch had a mouth on him.
Ed Koch speaks to supporters during a campaign rally for mayor in New York City, Sept. 8, 1977. (Charles Ruppmann/NY Daily News via Getty)
Now that he is 88, New York’s former three-term mayor—the star of Koch, a rollicking, warts-and-all documentary premiering this weekend at the New York Jewish Film Festival—has nothing holding him back.
“I think he’s a pompous ass,” Koch tells me about New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.
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The New Jersey ex-governor tells Lloyd Grove he’s now focused on family, faith, and working with prison inmates.
‘The World According to Dick Cheney,’ a documentary premiering at Sundance, features revealing interviews with the former VP.