What makes a movie? Is it the sum of its parts—story, performance, social commentary, audio, visual, on and on, ad nauseum, etcetera? Do these pieces even form anything without an audience, a reception, a reaction? We could tease out a cinematic epistemology, or we could lead with cynicism. What makes a movie? People with a lot of money make a movie.
Perhaps it's an aging titan of industry wishing, in spite of personal fortune, to leave a public legacy. Buy a story, buy an iconoclastic director, buy some star power—buy the best and it ought to make a pretty good movie. This is Official Competition. Spanish-Argentinian duo Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat skewer the insincerity, pretension, and egomania of prestige cinema to outrageous effect—all while making a pretty prestigious picture themselves.
Money in, movie out might be right, but let’s look to a movie without much money. Finally emerging from the fog of 2020 after two years on the festival circuit, Olivia Peace’s microbudget debut Tahara proves that sincerity doesn’t require ample cash. A story about the swirling confusion following a kiss between two Hebrew school girls, the film finds authenticity between scenes of catty teen angst, animation, and aspect-ratio shattering inventiveness. Universal in its honesty and refreshing in its representation, Tahara is a welcome entry into the burgeoning Bisexual Jewish Funeral Cinematic Universe.
We laugh to keep from crying,