Directed by: Steve Barron
Running time: 84 minutes
Release date: November 9, 2007
Genre: Drama, Comedy and Fantasy
Distributor: International Film Circuit
MPAA Rating: Not rated
This is a combination of intense psychological drama, mystical realism and comedic situations that immigrants experience in America.
This is a unique tale focusing on Jorge (Octavio Gomez Berrios) an extremely shy and morbid dishwasher from Ecuador. He is a hard working man who spends most of his day cleaning pots, pans and dishes at a local Queens, New York diner ran by a Greek American named Rick (Mandy Patinkin). Jorge's work area is shadowed by a Heimlich Maneuver instruction poster that seems to lurk over him.
From his solitary kitchen corner, Jorge gropes mutely for a bond with Amy (Eugenia Yuan), a newly hired Asian waitress. Even though she tries to reciprocate, the gulf that separates them may be too large. On the job he is continually tormented and teased by his co-worker Jerry (Aaron Paul) and at home in his lonely Harlem apartment, under psychological control of his domineering roommate, he battles his inner demons.
The fantasy sequences featuring an animated rabbit give the audience the impressions of life from Jorge's point of view. Meanwhile the Heimlich instruction poster in the diner, gives the film the platform for the series of action. This action finally occurs in the form of a choking patron. This incident gives Jorge a spritual awakening to force out his demons - or - force out his alter ego (his domineering roommate).
The character of Jorge is somewhat of an invisible man that gives you few clues as to what is going on in his mind. I found myself asking, where does he disappear to when he enters his lonely apartment? How far can he be moved from ' who' he is? What is his breaking point?
This fine indie was shot in 18 days in Harlem and the Queens Olympia diner (JFK Airport). These areas captured the feeling of claustrophobia and added to the feelings newcomers to America would experience as they struggle to find a place and purpose in this strange land.
Good indie films are hard to find, but I hope many people find time for this one.
FILM RATING (B)