There’s no lack of films to see, talks to hear, or lines to stand in at Tribeca Film Festival. Sometimes, the films you do find yourself watching may not always be the best, the buzziest, or the ones to beat. However “Bleeding Heart” and “The Survivalist” each fall into one of those categories.
“Bleeding Heart” rode into the festival carried on high hopes with a cast led by Jessica Biel and Zosia Mamet. May, a yoga teacher, and Shiva, a prostitute (or as she calls herself, a sex worker), discover they are long-lost half sisters and they set about navigating each others lives while getting weighed down by symbolism, blatant mirroring, and worn-out cliches along the way (Biel, the yoga teacher frequently wears white. I’ll give you one guess what color Zosia wears. Early in the film, Biel mentions the “new postcards” have come in. We never see her postcards, but the film does cut to the postcards advertising Zosia’s “SeXXXy Massage”). While the cast and director Julia Bell did more than their best with the material on hand, the film never rises above the faults in its script.
On the other hand, “The Survivalist”, from first-time director/writer John Fingleton, proved to be as vital as its title.
“The Survivalist” takes place somewhere in a post-apocalyptic near-future, after humanity has been wiped out by over-dependency on oil. The film gets its title from its unnamed main character (Martin McCann) – a strong-willed, independent, oft-naked Irishman who lives deep in the forest, farming and guarding a small plot of land. It’s equal parts “Mad Max” and “Cast Away” – until a middle-aged woman (Olwen Fouéré) and her daughter (Mia Goth) stumble onto his farm. To say much more would be a disservice to the thrilling, taut, meticulously-detailed world that Fingleton and his cast have created. Though you may only spend two hours in his lost world, it’s one of those wonderful two hour trips that stays with you for days to come.