Film Scouts Diaries

1995 Independent Feature Film Market Diaries
Market Report 2

by Kathleen Carroll

Sept. 22, 1995

The first thing you notice about IFFM screenings is that the aisle seats fill up immediately even those in the front rows. The reason is obvious. The idea is to be in a position to make a fast getaway even if it means crouching in the aisle rather than taking a seat on the side of the theater.

I did see at least two films with real potential. Pat O'Connor's SACRED HEARTS gently probes the life of a 17-year-old Indiana farm girl who takes over the adult role of keeping her family together. Needless to say every other film in the Market seems to be a coming-of-age story. "I'm sick to death of these coming of age movies in which they do drugs and get shot," declared one older observer. Happily no one does drugs in SACRED HEARTS. It examines its three main character with remarkable subtlety and depth.

No one would call HEADLESS MAN IN TOPLESS BAR subtle. The title of this intense psychological thriller was inspired by the famous New York Post headline. But director James Bruce happens to be a protÈgÈ of the great French filmmaker Louis Malle and the film, with its relentless depiction of a hostage situation in a strip joint, is extremely well acted. Raymond Barry, as the deranged gunman, and Jennifer MacDonald, as his topless victim, are both electrifying. I was shocked by only one thing. A man had brought his infant son to see this graphic film. "You will notice his head is turned away from the screen," said this Mr. Mom as he cuddled his son in his lap. By the time I left the film the baby was safely asleep.

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