Tribeca Festival Makes Film A Cultural Medium

by LAUREN BELSKI · April 16, 2008

tribecaThe Tribeca Film Festival events are less than a week away. I’ve been spending my spare minutes soaking in the trailers, my picks so far being Elephant Garden (sort of sexy/spooky), Sita Sings the Blues (Indian/humor/fairy tale), and, the most heart wrenching one for me, The New Boy, which is the story of an African boy who is forced to move to Ireland as a refugee, and the challenges that ensue when being thrust into westernized culture. Having finished Egger’s What is the What not long ago, the stories of newly westernized persons adjusting to our overwhelming, (mostly) peaceful, though competitive culture always makes me hyper aware of just how nutty our society is.

I had the opportunity to speak with a few directors yesterday, and the resounding message I’ve found both from their mouths, and from their work, is that these cross cultural stories are meant to soften divisions—whether these boundaries are gender, political, or emotional. As globalization becomes a greater reality, so does the need for a person’s conscious to expand. As short film director and artist Bahar Behbahani put it, “I think the differences between Iran and the US are not that deep, the problems are the same and the struggles for human beings are the same.” If it hadn’t been a phone interview, I may have hugged her.