Dir/scr: Ryan Piers Williams. US. 2014. 82mins
The fragility of love and any kind of emotional connection is ably explored in Ryan Piers Williams’ second film X/Y, a mournful story of lost souls trying to connect, all set against a resolutely trendy New York backdrop.
Rather then looking for love or romance it is about a need for a physical connection and reassurance, and as such a paints as dour picture about contemporary New York dating.
While there is little to smile at here – which will likely impact on its distribution options – there is an admirably intense rigour to the film, which had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.
The film follows four New Yorkers, all of whom have issues with life, love and work, and all of whom share an interconnection. The opening scene sees couple Mark (director Williams) and Silvia (America Ferrera, who is married to Williams in real life) having bad sex…which soon spirals off into a discussion about their relationship; a revelation that she slept with an office colleague (Common) and Mark speedily vacating the premises. The film gets downbeat from there onwards.
Also in the frame are Jake (Jon Paul Phillips), a handsome bi-sexual model/ artist getting over the break-up with a longtime girlfriend by casual sex and Jen (Melonie Diaz), whose recent Internet date saw her having sex with a married man who may have given her herpes.
The foursome circle each other, getting drunk, having sex (Silvia hooks up with her co-worker/lover in restaurant bathrooms at lunch for sexual assignations, but at the same time want to know if he cares about her, while Jake and Mark also get it on at one stage) and gloomily checking their mobile phones for reassuring texts.
These are unhappy folk to be sure and sensibly Williams makes sure his actors (who are all pretty good) never make them sympathetic are appealing – instead they are gloomily self-absorbed, going about their lives with a sense of self-pity and unhappiness. Rather then looking for love or romance it is about a need for a physical connection and reassurance, and as such a paints as dour picture about contemporary New York dating.
Production companies: Take Fountain Productions, Films Deconstructed Pictures, MindSmack Productions, 5 Productions
Sales contact: Preferred Content, www.preferredcontent.net
Producers: America Ferrera, Thomas B. Fore, Jason Michael Berman, Ryan Piers Williams, Kwesi Collisson
Executive producers: Kim Gillingham, Mark G. Mathis, Caroline Kaplan, Dori Rath Sperko, Paull Cho, Todd Feuer, Mike Feuer, Jason Silverman, Caroline Kaplan, Kim Gillingham
Cinematography: Pedro Gomez Millan
Editors: Sabine Hoffman, Sloane Klevin, Marco Perez
Production designer: Simone Duff
Music: Will Bates
Main cast: America Ferrera, Ryan Piers Williams, Melonie Diaz, Jon Paul Phillips, Amber Tamblyn, Common, Dree Hemingway, David Harbour, Adam Rapp