Breakfast On Pluto
It’s often the case that the coolest experiences are the least expected. Such was the case at tonight’s premiere of Neil Jordan’s "Breakfast On Pluto."
Neil emailed me late last week and said he had a few tickets to The New York Film Festival. I’ve done Tribeca, and Sundance, but oddly enough, I’d never been to this great festival just ten blocks away. So of course I jumped at the opportunity, even if the nine o’clock screening would have me in bed at even — at best — the night before a half-marathon.
I had some time to kill in the neighborhood, so wandered around Tower and Barnes & Noble. I picked up a copy of Harp magazine (which was highly recommended by Nada front man Jason Walsmith as I killed time while making the new record in Des Moines), and sat on the steps in front of Julliard waiting on Neil and Aaron.
Suddenly, the sky lit up likes a lightening storm. Cillian Murphy, Liam Nieson, and Stephen Rhea had arrived. Liam, I will tell you perfectly comfortable in my masculinity, looked dashing. As the flashbulbs subsided, I spotted Neil standing on a planter. We headed in.
Alice Tully Hall, just minutes from my doorstep, is an astounding space which, despite having been a New Yorker for ten years and then some, I’d never stepped foot in. It’s huge! And we had great seats. And the movie… The Movie!
Like I said, sometimes the coolest experiences are the least expected. I didn’t know a thing about this film. Which is unusual. I’m a pretty big film fan. New York makes it easy. There are tons of great art houses: Film Forum, Sunshine, Quad Cinemas, Film Archives, and the new IFC Film Center. Heck, even the top floor of the AMC mega-plex in Times Square plays some indie films. So I read a lot. I follow what’s opening. And, in addition to MTV News Online, I executive produce Movies on MTV.com. Of course, we’re not doing a whole lot on, say, "Capote" or "Good Night And Good Luck." But we sneak some substance in there between "Spider-Man IX" and "Police Academy 27."
Anyway, I knew nothing of the film. I know the director for "The Crying Game," so I expected some darkness, some twists. But when the camera followed a few robins’ flight over the rooftops and steeples of a small Irish town, and then the robins began to speak to one another, well, I knew all bets were off.
The film is a bombast of contrasts. Murphy plays Patrick "Kitten" Braden, a young, innocent transvestite hell-bent on being him, er, herself. Swirling around him is the choas of Irish Catholic/Protestant unrest: pickets, bombings, and assassinations. Throughout the film’s 135 minute running time, Jordan juggles these two realities: glee and terror, joy and rage. When a bomb rips through a London nightclub, leaving Kitten bloodied on the floor, I thought, "Jesus, what next!?!"
Which, of course, is real life. But not film. And in depicting life as such, Jordan’s film is a triumph. More triumphant, however, is Murphy’s depiction of Kitten. I had great respect for any man courageous enough to wear makeup and a dress, then let someone film him. Plus, he has great cheekbones.