Film Scouts Diaries

2007 Karlovy Vary Film Festival Diaries
Diary #2

by Henri Béhar

Delirious – a case onto its own

Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, July 1 - Opening night, the sequel. Looking très downtown Manhattan, and mischievously shocked – "I never expected to show any of my films to a president" – American director Tom di Cillo introduced his new opus, Delirious. A wicked choice by artistic director Eva Zaoralová to open the Festival with, as the film's main character is the type of person most stars profess to hate: a paparazzo. Loud-mouthed Lee (Steve Buscemi) whose motto is " go with the flow", runs into a homeless kids named Toby (Michael Pitt ) who came to New York to make it as an actor. A naive dreamer with a rock star's charisma, Toby becomes an assistant to the photographer who teaches him the tricks of the trade. When pop singer and instant star Kharma (Alison Lohman) steps into Toby's life, Lee sees a chance to making it big. But Cupid (and MTV) has different plans for our leading trio. A comedy at once satirical and romantic, the film takes a sharp look at the world of show business, at the speed with which pop stars achieve fame, only to be soon disposed, but also at the way they interact with those tiny cogwheels in the engineering of their rise and fall: the paparazzi. His hair died raven black, Steve Buscemi delivers a wonderfully calibrated over-the-top performance (can this guy ever go wrong?), but the real surprise of the film is Michael Pitt. Far from the stoned student and the Kurt-Cobain-inspired suicidal rock star that Gus van Sant made him famous for (in, respectively, Finding Forrester and The Last Days), Michael Pitt is clear-eyed, genuinely charming (in an early Terence Stamp-ish way) and totally convincing. Beyond his luminous presence, his delightfully modulated performance harks back to a film genre the secret of which one thought completely lost.

Why make such a fuss about a film that was completed nearly a year ago? Because despite such independent hits as Johnny Suede and Lost in Oblivion, Tom di Cillo has not yet found an American distributor for his latest film. Invigorated, however, by the extremely favorable word of mouth Delirious has been garnering in most western countries (where it will be released pretty soon), Tom di Cillo has decided to take the matter in his own hands: he will distribute it himself. So if he succeeds, do yourselves a favor: don't miss it.

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