I got invited to see ‘In Montauk’ an independent film by Kim Cummings in one of the coolest screening rooms I’ve ever been to, at the ReRun Theater in Brooklyn. Once you walk past the restaurant/bar area you walk down the hallway leading up to the theater, which is decorated with art by local artists and the movie theater itself is painted with wonderful colors and images, it has a bar inside the theater that offers popcorn and any alcoholic or non alcoholic drinks to enjoy while watching the movie, what tops it all are the seats, which are comfortable car backseats. This place is full of originality and a perfect place for a very original film.
The director greeted everyone at the door with a smile and excitedly introduced her film to the audience. The 68 minute long drama explores the life of an artist, Julie Wagner (Nina Kaczorowski) who goes to Montauk to take shots for her upcoming solo photography show, while struggling to manage a family life with Josh Cohen (George Katt). In Montauk she meets Christian Nygaard (Lukas Hassel) who unexpectedly ends up helping her to accomplish the task she sets out to do, while also helping her realize her life isn’t what she thought it was.
My favorite thing about the film is the artistic shots of the beach, my very favorite among these is one where the main characters are at the beach and put sky lanterns up in the air, also the photos that Julie takes are beautiful. The film has a very artistic atmosphere without being pretentious; it stays very true to itself as well as to the story. The director mentioned that she wanted to make a film for women, because she feels there’s not a lot and I think she accomplished that, as her story explores the life of a woman who’s trying to balance a life between work and family and that’s a story many people and women in special can identify with. The music is beautiful and goes perfectly well with the melancholy set throughout the film.
There’s not a lot of dialogue in the film, especially towards the beginning even when Julie and Christian are getting to know each other we don’t really hear them speak much about their lives or feel a connection until later. This worked on some levels but on some others it gave some scenes too much of a dramatic feel, specially when the characters are staring into space looking melancholic. There are some obvious mistakes that happen in some scenes, but considering the fact that such a low budget film was shot in just 10 days during a bitter winter; you can easily oversee them.
I loved Kaczorowski, she has so much spunkiness and is so independent in her own way, that she beautifully shows a woman who pretends to have a bulletproof exterior, but in reality has this sad aura which shows her real self. Hassel is such a perfect muse; he is able to adjust to the main character’s needs without seeming unnatural and we clearly can see why he’s able to provide her with everything she needs. Katt rounds off the cast wonderfully with his poise and the reality he brings to the story of a man that tries to do the right thing, even if it hurts him.
The short length of the film limits the story to a certain extent, since it seems to leave certain things unexplained, creating some distance between the audience and the film. Obviously the director chose to try not to steer far away from the main character, but perhaps that takes potential from the story since we don’t get a well-rounded tale but pieces of a incomplete puzzle that not even the main character is able to explain. I still enjoyed the film and the sad reality women face even today, the struggle between family and work and the fact that unlike men women can’t have it all.