HONG KONG TRILOGY: PRESCHOOLED, PREOCCUPIED, PREPOSTEROUS (Christopher Doyle, 2015)
7 Ludlow St. between Canal & Hester Sts.
Opens Friday, September 22
Master cinematographer Christopher Doyle, who has shot such beautiful films as Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love and Ashes of Time, Chen Kaige’s Temptress Moon, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang’s Last Life in the Universe, and Zhang Yimou’s Hero, once again displays his unique visual flair in Hong Kong Trilogy: Preschooled, Preoccupied, Preposterous, the third full-length work he has directed, after 1999’s Away with Words and 2008’s Izolator. The documentary, which he also photographed and contains some confusing fiction elements, is divided into three sections that examine the hopes and dreams of three generations of people living in Hong Kong, the Australia-born Doyle’s adopted hometown. The majority of the film, which was helped by a Kickstarter campaign that raised $125,000, features long shots of people, streets, buildings, and the waterfront in Hong Kong, with voice-over narration from the men, women, and children shown onscreen, who were interviewed separately. But the film suffers drastically whenever Doyle turns away from that method and has live dialogue and interaction, breaking the engaging premise he begins with. In the first section, “Preschooled,” we meet Pet Shop Boy, who chills with flamingos in a zoo; Ching Man, aka Red Cap Girl, who passes out religious pamphlets about multiple gods of numerous religions while refusing to be tempted by the Devil; Teacher Selene, who is getting tired of waiting around for Beat Box; Vodka Wong, who gets bullied until he fights back and appears to prefer his maid, Yan Yan, to his mother; and Egg Tart Angel, who hands out free egg custard tarts to anyone who looks sad and lonely.
The second part, “Preoccupied,” follows the 2014 Occupy movement in Hong Kong, focusing on the tent city known as Camp Democracy, where the term “Umbrella Movement” defined their use of umbrellas against tear gas and pepper spray. “Everything is predestined in life. A lot of things are decided when you’re born,” says Feng Shui Master Thierry, “but maybe the different people you meet and the different things you do will change the way fate manifests itself.” Architectural conservationist Shandong Zhang, who is always drawing, adds, “I think what makes a building or a space beautiful are its people.” The movement is so well organized that the tent city has its own mail system and organic farm to go with its Lennon Wall, where optimistic messages are posted inspired by John Lennon’s “Imagine.” And the final chapter, “Preposterous,” deals with a party tram where senior citizens meet for speed dating. When, in voiceover, they talk about their past relationships and discuss what they’re looking for now, the section is intriguing, but when the action becomes live, things fall apart, especially when the scene is clearly staged. Some characters show up in more than one part, which can be charming, like when it’s Red Cap Girl and Shandong Zhang, and not so charming, like when it’s Beat Box and Teacher Kevin. Doyle is attempting to highlight and preserve Hong Kong culture and heritage, particularly since the changes that have occurred since the 1997 reunification, but as the film goes on, it devolves into treacly sentimentality, political propaganda, and downright silliness (whenever the police arrive). Hong Kong Trilogy is a gorgeous film to watch, but the inconsistent narrative style ultimately lets it down.
260 West 23rd St at Eighth Ave.
September 22-24, $30
The folks behind the massively successful Tribeca Film Festival, which launched in 2002 as a way to help rebuild Lower Manhattan following 9/11, are now turning their attention to the small screen. The inaugural Tribeca TV Festival takes place this weekend, with special inside looks at more than a dozen television shows in addition to other special events, celebrating this new golden age of the boob tube as cable and streaming services have led to more programs than ever, along with a tremendous rise in overall quality. Below is the schedule for Saturday and Sunday, featuring sneak peeks at upcoming episodes and conversations with members of the cast and crew; among the participants are Kyra Sedgwick, Paul Reiser, Maggie Q, Kal Penn, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes, Samira Wiley, Trevor Noah, and Megan Mullally. In addition, there are Virtual Reality Experiences with Mr. Robot, Snatch, and the 1969 moon landing, free with any festival ticket.
Saturday, September 23
Look But with Love, documentary VR series, fee with any festival ticket, 3:30
Gotham, with Ben McKenzie, Robin Lord Taylor, Jessica Lucas, Erin Richards, and executive producer Danny Cannon, $30, 4:00
Pillow Talk, with writer-director Mike Piscitelli, writer Rachael Taylor, and star Patrick J. Adams, $30, 5:00
A Conversation with Will & Grace, with cocreators/executive producers Max Mutchnick and David Koha and stars Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Sean Hayes, and Megan Mullally, $30, 7:00
Liar, with creators Jack and Harry Williams and star Joanne Froggatt, $30, 7:45
Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television, with Ryan Hansen, Samira Wiley, and series creator, writer, director, and executive producer Rawson Marshall Thurber and executive producer Beau Bauman, $30, 8:30
Sunday, September 24
Look But with Love, documentary VR series, fee with any festival ticket, 2:00
A Conversation with Trevor Noah & the Writers of The Daily Show, with Trevor Noah, Steve Bodow, Zhubin Parang, Michelle Wolf, and Joe Opio, $30, 2:30
Ten Days in the Valley, with executive producers Kyra Sedgwick, Marcy Ross, Sherry White, and Jill Littman and creator Tassie Cameron, $30, 3:00
Red Oaks, with Paul Reiser, Craig Roberts, Alexandra Turshen, Ennis Esmer, and creators Joe Gangemi and Gregory Jacobs, $30, 5:00
Designated Survivor, with Maggie Q, Kal Penn, and Italia Ricci, $30, 6:00
Queen Sugar, with Queen Sugar, Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, and Kofi Siriboe, $30, 7:15
Jeremy Kagan’s Shot is a profound film about gun violence in America, seen through the eyes of both the victim and the shooter of a horrific event. Noah Wyle stars as Mark Newman, a Hollywood sound mixer who is working on punching up a scene in a Western involving a shootout. Later that day he goes to meet his estranged wife, Phoebe (Sharon Leal), for lunch during which she asks him to sign divorce papers. When they leave the restaurant, they are talking on the street when Newman gets hit in the chest by a stray bullet accidentally fired by Miguel (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), a teen who was thinking about getting a gun from his cousin because he was being bullied at school. Most of the film occurs in real time as police officers Anderson (Brad Lee Wind) and Ramirez (Maria Russell) respond at the scene and EMTs Jones (Malcolm-Jamal Warner), Garcia (Dominic Colon), and Turner (Tommy Day Carey) rush Newman to the hospital, where nurses Gina (Eve Kagan), Samantha (Joy Osmanski), and Marci (Elaine Hendrix) and Dr. Roberts (Xander Berkeley) try to save his life as Phoebe looks on. Meanwhile, Miguel, who is not a bad kid, tries to figure out what to do next as he is on the run through the Echo Park section of Los Angeles, terrified by what he did and what the consequences might be. Producer-director Kagan (The Chosen, The Journey of Natty Gann) and editor Norman Hollyn tell both parts of the story at the same time using split screens as cinematographer Jacek Laskus puts the viewer right in the middle of the action, occasionally shooting from Newman’s point of view as he wonders if he will live and, if so, will ever be able to walk again.
Written by Anneke Campbell and Will Lamborn based on an original story by Kagan, Shot is filmed like a special episode of, well, ER, on which Wyle played Dr. John Carter. Longtime film and television director Kagan, who won an Emmy in 1996 for directing an episode of another hospital drama, Chicago Hope, previously worked together on the television series The ACLU Freedom Files. The narrative often borders on melodrama and comes close to being overwhelmed by genre clichés but is mostly able to avoid them, although it is very much a message picture; at the end, facts about gun violence take over the screen. “I have learned that telling a captivating dramatic narrative is the most effective form of cinematic influence, so I chose to make a dramatic movie rather than a documentary,” Kagan, who spent seven years putting the film together, including meeting with doctors, nurses, EMTs, and gunshot victims as well as advocates on both sides of the gun-rights dilemma, explained in a statement. Wyle (The Myth of Fingerprints, The Californians) gives a brave performance, the camera rarely leaving him, zooming in on his face and eyes as he comes to understand what he is truly facing, while Lendeborg Jr. (The Land), in only his second movie, is effective as the guilt-ridden accidental shooter. The film is meant to make viewers never want to pick up a gun, and it certainly makes a great case for that.
REPO MAN (Alex Cox, 1984)
34 West 13th St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
Friday, September 22, 7:00, Friday, September 29, 5:00, Sunday, October 1, 5:30
Series runs September 22 – October 5
The Quad’s twenty-four-film series “Also Starring Harry Dean Stanton” was meant to be a celebration of the beloved character’s actor long career in conjunction with the September 29 release of Lucky, in which he has a rare starring role. But the Kentucky-born actor, singer, and musician passed away on September 15 at the age of ninety-one, so the festival instead becomes a memorial tribute to the man who appeared in more than 130 films. One of his absolute best is Alex Cox’s Repo Man, the 1984 cult classic about car repossessors and alien technology and one of the most quotable movies ever made. Stanton is Bud, one of four repo men named after beers, along with Tracey Walter as Miller, Sy Richardson as Lite, and Tom Finnegan as Oly (Olympia). Bud recruits young punk Otto (Emilio Estevez) to become a repo man, explaining to him, “The life of a repo man is always intense.” Soon all of LA’s repo men, including the group’s main competitors, the Rodriguez brothers (Del Zamora and Eddie Velez), are after a mysterious 1964 Chevy Malibu being driven by the conspiracy-spouting scientist Fox Harris (J. Frank Parnell, who could not drive), which has a deadly glowing object in the trunk (a nod to Robert Aldrich’s 1955 Mickey Spillane sci-fi picture, Kiss Me Deadly.) Otto hooks up with UFO hunter Leila (Olivia Barash), who works at the United Fruitcake Outlet; keeps bumping into former cohorts Duke (Dick Rude), Debbi (Jennifer Balgobin), and Archie (Miguel Sandoval), a trio of vandals who do things like “Let’s go get sushi . . . and not pay!”; and has to get a job in the first place because his parents (Sharon Gregg and Jonathan Hugger) have donated all their money to a TV preacher (Bruce White). The eclectic cast also includes Vonetta McGee as Marlene, the office manager, Susan Barnes as Leila’s boss, Agent Rogersz, Richard Foronjy as knitting security guard Plettschner, and a 1964 Ford Falcon, a 1973 Impala, a 1978 Cutlass Salon Couple, a 1971 AMC Matador, and two 1964 Chevy Malibus, as one was actually stolen during the making of the movie.
As crazy and bizarre as the film is, a remarkable amount of it is inspired by reality. Writer-director Cox rode around with a friend who was a repo man, so several stories are based on fact; the generic labels for food and drink were already in use by Ralphs supermarket; and even the classic John Wayne tale was told to Cox by someone who claimed it was true. The soundtrack is so amazing — featuring songs by Iggy Pop, Black Flag, the Plugz, Fear, and the Circle Jerks, who appear in the film and later added Zander Schloss, who plays Otto’s nerdy supermarket coworker, to their lineup — that it saved the film, which was pulled from distribution a week after it was released but was brought back after the soundtrack became a hit. Cinematographer Robby Müller, who went on to shoot such films as To Live and Die in L.A. and Barfly and to work with Jim Jarmusch and Lars von Trier, adds a comic-book-like gauze to the proceedings. The film is also filled with words to live by, philosophical meanderings that are hysterical and, sometimes, very true. “The more you drive, the less intelligent you are,” Miller opines. “Only an asshole gets killed for a car,” Bud says. “No one is innocent,” Agent Rogersz tells Olivia. And, perhaps most prophetically, Bud declares “I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees,” borrowing a line from Emiliano Zapata. It all comes together in a surfeit of ways, culminating in Miller’s brilliant monologue that begins, “A lot of people don’t realize what’s really going on. They view life as a bunch of unconnected incidents and things. They don't realize that there’s this, like, lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything.” You’ll never look at a plate of shrimp the same way again. Cox has said that Stanton was a bit of a diva on the set, but given the results, who cares. Again, in the words of that grand philosopher, Miller, “It’s all part of a cosmic unconsciousness.” Repo Man is screening at the Quad on September 22 at 7:00, September 29 at 5:00, and October 1 at 5:30. The series continues through October 5 with such other Stanton vehicles as Alien, Escape from New York, The Last Temptation of Christ, Dillinger, The Straight Story, and Wild at Heart.
PARIS, TEXAS (Wim Wenders, 1984)
34 West 13th St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
Friday, September 22, 9:00, and Sunday, September 24, 1:00
Series runs September 22 – October 5
Winner of both the Palme d’Or and the Critics Prize at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival, Wim Wenders’s Paris, Texas is a stirring and provocative road movie about the dissolution of the American family and the death of the American dream. Written by Sam Shepard and adapted by L. M. Kit Carson, the two-and-a-half-hour film opens with a haggard man (Harry Dean Stanton) wandering through a vast, deserted landscape. A close-up of him in his red hat, seen against blue skies and white clouds, evokes the American flag. (Later shots show him looking up at a flag flapping in the breeze, as well as a graffiti depiction of the Statue of Liberty.) After he collapses in a bar in the middle of nowhere, he is soon discovered to be Travis Henderson, a husband and father who has been missing for four years. His brother, Walt (Dean Stockwell), a successful L.A. billboard designer, comes to take him home, but Travis, remaining silent, keeps walking away. He eventually reveals that he is trying to get to Paris, Texas, where he has purchased a plot of land in the desert, but he avoids discussing his past and why he walked out on his wife, Jane (Nastassja Kinski), and son, Hunter (Hunter Carson, the son of L. M. Kit Carson and Karen Black), who is being raised by Walt and his wife, Anne (Aurore Clément). An odd man who is afraid of flying, has a penchant for arranging shoes, and falls asleep at key moments, Travis sets out with Hunter to find Jane and make something out of his lost life.
Longtime character actor Stanton (Repo Man, Wise Blood) is brilliant as Travis, his long, craggy face and sad, puppy-dog eyes conveying his troubled soul and buried emotions, his slow, careful gait awash in loneliness and desperation. The scenes between Travis and Jane are a master class in acting and storytelling; Stanton and Kinski (Tess, Cat People) will break your heart over and over again as they face the hardest of truths. Wenders and regular cinematographer Robby Müller use a one-way mirror to absolutely stunning effect in these scenes about what is hidden and what is revealed in a relationship. Wenders had previously made the Road Movie Trilogy of Alice in the Cities, The Wrong Move, and Kings of the Road, which also dealt with difficult family issues, but Paris, Texas takes things to another level. Ry Cooder’s gorgeous slide-guitar soundtrack is like a requiem for the American dream, now a wasteland of emptiness. (Cooder would later make Buena Vista Social Club with Wenders. Another interesting connection is that Wenders’s assistant director was Allison Anders, who would go on to write and direct the indie hit Gas Food Lodging.) A uniquely told family drama, Paris, Texas is rich with deft touches and subtle details, all encapsulated in the final shot. (Don’t miss what it says on that highway billboard.) Paris, Texas is screening at the Quad on September 22 at 9:00 and September 24 at 1:00 as part of “Also Starring Harry Dean Stanton,” which continues through October 5 with such other Stanton films as The Missouri Breaks, Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins, Death Watch, Christine, and Pretty in Pink.
COCKFIGHTER (Monte Hellman, 1974)
34 West 13th St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
Sunday, September 24, 5:45, and Saturday, September 30, 3:10
Series runs September 22 – October 5
Director Monte Hellman and star Warren Oates enter “the mystic realm of the great cock” in the 1974 cult film Cockfighter. Alternately known as Born to Kill and Gamblin’ Man, the film is set in the world of cockfighting, where Frank Mansfield (Oates) is trying to capture the Cockfighter of the Year award following a devastating loss that cost him his money, car, trailer, girlfriend, and voice — he took a vow of silence until he wins the coveted medal. Mansfield communicates with others via his own made-up sign language and by writing on a small pad; in addition, he delivers brief internal monologues in occasional voiceovers. He teams up with moneyman Omar Baradansky (Richard B. Shull) as he attempts to regain his footing in the illegal cockfighting world, taking on such challengers as Junior (Steve Railsback), Tom (Ed Begley Jr.), and archnemesis Jack Burke (Harry Dean Stanton); his drive for success is also fueled by his desire to finally marry his much-put-upon fiancée, Mary Elizabeth (Patricia Pearcy). The cast also includes Laurie Bird as Mansfield’s old girlfriend, Troy Donahue as his brother, Millie Perkins as his sister-in-law, Warren Finnerty as Sanders, Allman Brothers guitarist Dickey Betts as a masked robber, and Charles Willeford, who wrote the screenplay based on his novel, as Ed Middleton.
Shot in a mere four weeks, Cockfighter is not a very easy movie to watch. The cockfighting scenes are real, filmed in a documentary style by master cinematographer Néstor Almendros, who had previously worked with Eric Rohmer and François Truffaut and would go on to lens such films as Days of Heaven, Kramer vs. Kramer, Sophie’s Choice, and The Blue Lagoon. However, Almendros was hampered by a less-than-stellar staff and a low budget courtesy of producer Roger Corman, who wanted more blood and sex and did not allow Hellman (Two-Lane Blacktop, The Shooting) to rewrite the script the way he wanted to. Corman even had coeditor Lewis Teague (Cujo, The Jewel of the Nile) film some additional scenes to increase the lurid factor. (Hellman, who was inspired by A Place in the Sun and Shoot the Piano Player, has noted that the versions that are not called Cockfighter are not his director’s cut.) Even the music, by jazz singer-songwriter Michael Franks, feels out of place. But the film ultimately works because of Oates’s scorching performance as Frank, another in a long line of luckless, lovable losers that would fill his resume (Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Race with the Devil, The Wild Bunch). Oates ambles from scene to scene with an infectious relish; you can’t wait to see what Frank will do next, and how Oates will play it. Hellman also doesn’t glorify the “sport” of cockfighting but instead presents it as pretty much what it is, a vile and despicable business populated by low-grade chumps. Cockfighter is screening at the Quad on September 24 at 5:45 and September 30 at 3:10 as part of “Also Starring Harry Dean Stanton,” which continues through October 5 with such other Stanton films as Rancho Deluxe, The Rose, Wise Blood, UFOria, Twister, and Stars and Bars.
If you didn’t know any better, you might think that Elvia Lund’s extraordinary Bobbi Jene was a fiction film. Danish director and cinematographer Lund, editor Adam Nielsen, and composer Uno Helmersson have employed narrative story techniques in crafting a bold and intimate tale about fear and desire, romance and ambition. But Bobbi Jene is actually a deeply personal documentary about a woman turning thirty and taking stock of her life. “I want to get to that place where I have no strength to hide anything,” Iowa native Bobbi Jene Smith says, and that is evident from the brief opening scene of Bobbi dancing naked and alone. When she was twenty-one, Bobbi moved to Israel to become a member of the world-renowned Batsheva Dance Company, led by choreographer Ohad Naharin, developer of the unique Gaga movement language. (I’ve seen her dance several times with Batsheva and have been touched and impressed by her abilities.) Now that she’s nearly thirty, Bobbi has decided to go back to America and create pieces herself, which she tells Naharin, with whom she had a relationship. “I love being in the company. I love dancing for you,” she says during their talk at a busy café. “I just feel it’s time for me to go make my own work.” Naharin carefully responds, “So it’s painful, but it’s probably also what you need.” Bobbi is not only leaving the troupe but her boyfriend, twenty-year-old company dancer Or Schraiber, who loves her but does not want to leave Tel Aviv. We see her struggling with her decision, trying to convince herself that she can both make a career in the States while also maintaining a long-distance relationship with Or. Once back in America, Bobbi concentrates on her durational solo piece A Study on Effort, a raw, intense work that combines power with vulnerability as she explores pleasure and pain. As she prepares to perform the piece at the Israeli Museum in Jerusalem, all the different parts of her life threaten to overwhelm her.
“The film is a dance,” Bobbi says in the press notes, and it’s an exquisite one. Lind, whose previous documentary feature was 2014’s Songs for Alexis, about a pair of teenage lovers, moves her camera like she is photographing an epic performance. The two met through mutual friends, and Lind instantly wanted to make a documentary about Bobbi, “an uncompromising female artist who was not afraid to push boundaries,” as she describes in her director’s note. And there are indeed no boundaries as Lind, who recently gave birth to a child with boyfriend Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis, Ex Machina), who plays guitar on one song on the soundtrack, goes beyond being a mere fly on the wall and Bobbi holds nothing back, never flinching away from the camera. Nor does her mother, her friends and colleagues, and Or, who doesn’t seem to know or care that Lind is always right there, even when he flashes his genitals over FaceTime. Bobbi Jene is about not only one woman’s drive to establish her own creativity and identity but also the freedom to be true to who you are and what you desire. You’ll get deeply involved in Bobbi’s situation, but you’ll also take a good look at yourself and wonder about your own sense of commitment to life. The first film at Tribeca to win Best Documentary Feature, Best Cinematography in a Documentary Feature, and Best Editing in a Documentary Feature, Bobbi Jene opens at the Quad on September 22, with Lind and Smith participating in Q&As following the 6:45 shows on September 22 and 23 and after the 2:25 screenings on September 23 and 24 (Smith only) in addition to introducing the 9:00 show together on September 22.
THIRST STREET (Nathan Silver, 2016)
34 West 13th St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
Opens Wednesday, September 20
After her lover, Paul (Damien Bonnard), hangs himself, Gina (Lindsay Burdge), a rather dim flight attendant, hooks up with Jérôme (Bonnard again), a bartender at a strip club. But what is a one-night stand for Jérôme turns into a dangerous obsession for Gina in Nathan Silver’s Thirst Street, a dark comedy that is neither dark nor funny. The problem is that until a rousing finale, Gina and Jérôme are not sympathetic characters that the audience will care about in the slightest. It doesn’t appear that it’s the suicide that drives Gina nuts; she’s already a dull, uninteresting person before that, and Jérôme is not exactly someone you can get behind either. Silver has said that Gina was inspired by Don Quixote, but she’s more of a disappointing combination of the protagonists from Aki Kaurismäki’s Match Factory Girl, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie, and Adrian Lyne’s Fatal Attraction as seen through the lens of Brian De Palma and Wes Anderson (especially when it comes to Anjelica Huston’s narration). Burdge (The Midnight Swim, A Teacher) turns in a brave performance, and Esther Garrel is terrific as punk rocker Clémence, Jérôme’s former flame, but the rest of the cast fails to ignite, despite boasting such actors as Jacques Nolot as nightclub owner Franz and Françoise Lebrun as Gina’s landlady. (Silver also once again casts his mother, Cindy, this time as one of Gina’s fellow flight attendants; let’s just say she doesn’t do him any favors with her acting ability.) Silver (Uncertain Terms, Stinking Heaven) never quite grasps what the film should be, resulting in a confusing mess of multiple genres that merely brushes the surface of his tongue-in-cheek (or is it?) narrative. Thirst Street opens September 20 at the Quad, with Silver and Burdge participating in Q&As following the 6:55 screenings on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday night.
Who: Ethan Nichtern, Dani Shapiro
What: Book release party for The Dharma of the Princess Bride: What the Coolest Fairy Tale of Our Time Can Teach us about Buddhism and Relationships (North Point Press, September 12, $25), featuring a talk and book signing
Where: Deepak HomeBase, mezzanine, ABC Carpet & Home, 888 Broadway at Seventeenth St.
When: Tuesday, September 19, $30 (includes copy of book), 7:00
Why: “Hello. My name is Ethan Nichtern. The Six-Fingered Man was my father’s best friend. Prepare to read.” So begins author and Buddhist teacher Ethan Nichtern’s fourth book, a unique exploration of one of the most beloved films of the 1980s, Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride. Based on William Goldman’s novel, the cult classic begins with a grandfather (Peter Falk) reading his grandson (Fred Savage) the best bedtime story ever. The romance fantasy adventure stars Cary Elwes as Westley, Robin Wright as Buttercup, Chris Sarandon as Prince Humperdinck, Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya, Christopher Guest (a close friend of Nichtern’s father since childhood) as Count Rugen, Wallace Shawn as Vizzini, and André the Giant as Fezzik, along with appearances by Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, and Peter Cook. Although the film is not a Buddhist parable, Nichtern, a husband and new father whose previous books, including The Road Home and One City, combine serious philosophy with humor and pop-culture references, examines the Buddhist nature of life, especially his own, through the lens of his favorite film. In the book’s introduction, “Fairy Tales, the Real World, and True Love,” Nichtern writes, “As for the movie’s relation to Buddhism — it may be correlation rather than causation, but here’s the truth: almost everything I know about relationships, I learned over the past thirty years of doing two things that seem to have very little to do with each other — loving The Princess Bride and practicing Buddhism.” Among the chapters in the hardcover are “Find Your Inner Fezzik: The Practice of Friendship,” “Fred Savage Is a Jerk, and I Am Fred Savage: Gratitude for Your Lineage,” and “Have Fun Storming the Castle.” Nichtern will be at ABC Carpet & Home on September 19 to launch the book, in conversation with writer Dani Shapiro (Family History, Devotion) and signing copies of The Dharma of The Princess Bride.