Virgil Films & Entertainment has tabbed Sept. 17 as the DVD street date for one of the most innovative “stage-like” plays ever set to film. This would be Oscar-winner Michel Gondry’s The We and the I.
The ARR is 193 days and the box office take from the film’s limited arthouse run was reported at $28,254.
We say that this is a stage play when we speak of writer/director Gondry’s The We and the I, and in every sense of the word this is a play, only instead of being stage-bound, this production has wheels!
The Bronx and the last day of school; the last bus ride of the year … that’s the set up for this story featuring a dozen or so “players,” who must first stop at the local bodega to collect their electronic communication devices (the school wisely bans them). It is a clever way to introduce us to the cast of characters.
Then on the bus they go, with Michael (Micheal Brodie) and Teresa (Teresa Lynn) — both making their screen debuts here and pretty much playing themselves — taking center stage (although that isn’t quite so obvious during the early going when the bus is crowded with their peers and the “Greek Chorus”).
Filmmaker Michel Gondry glides us effortlessly through the bus, giving us vignettes and snippets of conversations (interactions) between the students. The pecking order is established; the students and players … for some it will be their last bus ride.
To break up the confinement and restrictions of a ride on a crowded city bus, he peppers in flashbacks, backstories (via those electronic communication devices) and gives up glimpses of the action on the outside as riders exit to the “real”world as the bus pulls away (exit stage left, so to speak) — there is a lot to cover in the film’s running time.
This is a sleeper film that is just waiting to be discovered. Playing to a handful of critics, working the festival circuit (both domestically and internationally — stops at the Cannes Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival among others in 2012) and being showcased to a smattering of arthouse devotees only goes so far.
With the DVD launch on Sept. 17, Virgil Films & Entertainment is poised to take The We and the I to the much larger audience that it deserves.
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