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New York Stories: <em>The Pleasure of Being Robbed</em>

A girl who steals, a film composed from stolen moments. Check out Josh Safdie's striking debut.
POBRThere's a sneaky charm to The Pleasure of Being Robbed, the maddening, meandering, exhilarating, and surprising new film by 24-year-old director Josh Safdie. Safdie, a New Yorker, is part of a tightknit filmmaking collective, Red Bucket Films, whose ages range from 22 to 24—his brother Benny, Sam Lisenco, Brett Jutkiewicz, Alex Kalman, and Zach Treitz.

 

In some ways, Pleasure feels very much inspired by the giddy filmmaking of the French New Wave, and, quite fittingly, it was chosen as the closing feature for this year's Director's Fortnight at Cannes, the only American-directed feature to have that honor (and it was preceded by a short, The Acquaintances of a Lonely John, directed by Benny).

 

TribecaFilm had the pleasure of heading to Red Bucket Films' new studio, located on a grungy strip of Broadway, in order to talk to the moviemakers.

 

The story of the sweetest kleptomaniac hustler you'll ever meet, Pleasure follows a girl named Eleonore (actress and co-writer Eleonore Hendricks), both street urchin and gamine, as she runs around Manhattan, compulsively stealing things in the biggest, loneliest city in America. While her "actions are deplorable," the beautifully-shot-on-16mm film gets in her head.

 

16-mm made a difference in the process, according to Josh: "There's a tendency with digital to roll. With film, we're just trying to tap in, I don't know how long it will last. There's that trust factor. It's suicidal, almost, I really like it. We shot on a Bolex a lot. We were sneaking it into places. We snuck a camera into the Met, in the bottom of a backpack. I just like feeling like you're going to war with the world [when you're shooting a film]."

 

Cannes was a particular thrill for Red Bucket; after all, Benny says, it's a festival where "the police chief had a copy of the movie schedule." Josh continues, "He said it reminded him of the book and movie [directed by Louis Malle] Zazie dans le Metro."

 

If Pleasure hits you, you exit the theater a little wide-eyed, looking at the streets as if any moment could be cinematic. It's quite possible to walk around feeling, in some ways, a bit like Eleonore. According to Red Bucket, their favorite "review" of the film was a statement by a friend, summing up the film's lingering beauty: "I can't wait for the girl in Indiana who watches it and romanticizes that New York."

 



The Pleasure of Being Robbed opens at the IFC Center on October 3rd. Cast and Crew will appear at the 6:20 and 8:20 screenings on Friday, 10/3 and Saturday, 10/4.

 

Want to check out more work from Red Bucket Films? Go to their official website, www.redbucketfilms.com, which features loads of short films for your perusal and entertainment.

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