When first hearing that Death of a Ladies’ Man would be available on March 12 “everywhere,” my heart leapt. Finally!
But no. Everywhere turned out to be Canada. Dang. I have cleaned up my real response because this is generally a G-Rated website. Help was on the way, though! Cinequest Film Festival, a festival unknown to me, and restyled as Cinejoy for this virtual edition of the festival, came to the rescue.
The opening night film for their online festival, which runs March 20 – 30, was Death of a Ladies’ Man. Tickets included a pre-screening talk by Gabriel, plus a Q&A with the film-makers after the screening. It was unexpected, inexpensive, and the perfect way to watch this lovely movie during the time of the pandemic.
Thank you, Cinequest, for giving audiences in the USA a chance to see this film!
I love this movie.
No, really. I love this movie.
I love Gabriel in it. I love that Gabriel decided to do it. And I love Matt Bissonnette for writing and directing this acidic and yet somehow sympathetic look at the myth of the “Ladies’ Man.”
Matt is a master of visual story-telling. The surreal and hallucinogenic visuals he employs (you’ve seen some examples in the trailer) are never jarring or “too” weird. He keeps the story humming and then gives you the occasional unexpected JOLT to remind you that this is not a simple story, but a compelling look at someone who is falling apart, slowly.
The story also offers proof that we can have empathy for someone even when they are being a self-involved, self-destructive, narcissistic jerk. But it goes beyond that. We also see what being such an egocentric narcissist can do to the person who is being one. Illness is the brilliant metaphor in the film, and it works quite well in two ways: it shines a light on the character, while also serving as his punishment. I thought this metaphor was handled beautifully. And the supporting cast is fantastic. Brian Gleeson absolutely shines as Gabriel’s father. It was so much fun to see them reunited on the screen.
Gabriel is in almost every scene and he may indeed be in EVERY scene. He is his character, Samuel O’Shea, but I felt that bits and pieces of his true self were shining through-out. He has all the necessary energy and emotion to carry this story and I was riveted to my computer screen the entire time. I find the idea of this movie on the big screen in a dark theater absolutely thrilling and I will run, not walk, to the nearest venue as soon as THEY FIND A U.S. DISTRIBUTOR!
When you can, see it. I will write more after I’ve watched it more. These ramblings of mine are first impressions only.
Your takeaway here? I love this film. I am pretty sure you will, too. heart
Note: Most of the images you will see in postings for this film here at Byrneholics are courtesy of Mongrel Media, the Canadian distributor for Death of a Ladies’ Man. We thank them! And credit must be given to producer Corey Marr–Gabriel gave him a great shout-out during his opening remarks at this premiere, explaining how Corey cobbled together the funding to get the film made, as well as noting that festivals like Cinequest are important because they help push these independent films out into the world. The world of independent film-making is not an easy one. That’s why my favorite hashtag on Twitter is: #SupportIndieFilm !
GIFs by Josh
Josh is a Byrneholic (you are a Byrneholic, aren’t you, Josh? wink ) from Canada who has had the good fortune to see Death of a Ladies’ Man TWICE. Yes, I’m still speaking to him, partly because he loves to make GIFs. He made these from the film and I share them with you now. Thanks, Josh!
Covers of Leonard Cohen’s songs
Exclaim! in Canada tells us:
The upcoming film Death of a Ladies’ Man takes its title and inspiration from classic Canadian songwriter Leonard Cohen. To celebrate, a selection of Canadian artists have recorded covers of their favourite Cohen tunes for a song series rolling out this month.
There are nine songs in total, which will be rolled out daily starting on March 12 (running until March 20). It kicks off with Ron Sexsmith; the series also includes Whitehorse, Dan Mangan, Chad VanGaalen, Leif Vollebekk and more.
Head over to Death of a Ladies’ Man Sessions at the YouTube Channel for Death of a Ladies’ Man to enjoy them all. One of my favorites is Jenn Grant’s version of “Bird on the Wire,” a Leonard Cohen classic used to great effect in the film. Enjoy!
You can also check out the Instagram for Death of a Ladies’ Man where you will find these song covers waiting for your viewing and listening pleasure! There are tons of other goodies for the film there, too, including some brief interviews with the cast. What are you waiting for? GO!
Reimagining Silicon Valley’s Cinequest as Cinejoy, with an emphasis on the joy
Here is more background on the Cinequest Film Festival and how it is meeting the challenges of these changing times.
The new name points to the festival’s transformation from a live to virtual event and aims to emphasize both the pleasure of watching films and the possibilities for viewer engagement.
“Cinejoy is a term we feel is important, the way that cinema does bring joy to people and the experience of connecting with others,” said Cinequest CEO and co-founder Halfdan Hussey.
As Silicon Valley’s film festival, Cinequest has always been bound up with technology, but this year organizers plan to use the event to launch its own streaming platform, Creatics. It’s another milestone for Cinequest, which presented the first online worldwide film festivals in 2005 and 2007. . .
The festival is broken into two sections: Showcase Screenings and Spotlight Events. The showcase films are the ones screening on demand throughout the festival. The spotlight events are for appointment viewing, at specific times.
The Spotlight Events are also the festival’s biggest films . This year’s highlights include the opening-night feature, “Death of a Ladies’ Man,” starring Gabriel Byrne as a man whose brain tumor causes movie-musical hallucinations, inspired by the oeuvre of Leonard Cohen. Byrne will take part in a live conversation preceding the screening, while a Q&A with other cast members and crew will occur after the movie.
Other spotlights include tributes to Eddie Izzard, who screens his latest film, a prewar thriller, “Six Minutes to Midnight,” and Sam Neill, who is screening one of his most recent films, 2020’s “Rams,” a comedy about feuding sheep farmer brothers.
I love Eddie Izzard and Sam Neill. I will definitely be on the lookout for their new films, plus a bunch of others spotlighted by the Cinequest Virtual Film Festival!
Rotten Tomatoes score
Sometimes I hate Rotten Tomatoes. Sometimes I love Rotten Tomatoes. Today I love Rotten Tomatoes.
A round-up of the reviews for Death of a Ladies’ Man in the Canadian media is on the way, so stay tuned for that and more news about this lovely film and the lovely Irishman who brought us to it. heart