Thursday, 18 October 2007

The Anniversary Party

The independent film The Anniversary Party was released six years ago today (in Australia, anyway). The party of the title is to celebrate the sixth wedding anniversary of Joe, a rising author, and Sally, a (slightly older) film actress whose star is --- as they say --- beginning to fade. I guess you've already worked out that neither the party, nor the relationship, go especially smoothly.

Written and directed by the lead actors, the excellent (if unsmiling) Jennifer Jason Leigh and the all-too-appropriately named Alan Cumming, the film was shot in 19 days on digital video at a friend's house; the directors got their mates to play the other roles, with DIY makeup. It shows you what you can do with a little initiative, although it surely helps if the friend with the house is Sofia Coppola, and your mates include Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates (and their real-life kids), John C. Reilly, Jennifer Beals, Parker Posey, and Jane Adams. (I must re-watch it and see what the glorious Mary-Lynn Rajskub was doing back then, before 24.) They got Gwyneth Paltrow to play an emotive starlet who's actually a fair bit sharper than people suppose ... a lot of the roles sail similarly close to the wind.

It is rather well written and very well (and fearlessly) acted. But you maybe don't want to see it if you only recently reconciled with your spouse.

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