Choosing the best of the best from the Los Angeles Film Festival to highlight was tremendously challenging. On the must-see list is the documentary “In a Perfect World” by Daphne McWilliams, “Ayanda and the Mechanic” by Sara Blecher (“World Fiction” competition), “Aram, Aram” by Christopher Chamber (“LA Muse” competition), “Sweet Micky for President” by Ben Patterson (“Buzz” competition) and “Puerto Ricans in Paris” by Ian Edelman (“U.S. Fiction” competition), and in the short program, “Myrna the Monster” by Ian Samuels.
High above the cream is “French Dirty” by writer-director Wade Allain-Marcus, co-director Jesse Allain-Marcus and co-writer Peter K. Hagen. Affected by his parents’ divorce, Vincent (Wade Allain-Marcus) is flittering through life, searching for his purpose. Untethered to a career, he spends his quality time with Steve (Arjun Gupta), his childhood best friend, and Jess, his girlfriend. That is, until the moment he meets Roma. The chemistry is undeniable, but Vincent is still involved with Jess, so he introduces the beautiful and free-spirited Roma to Steve and watches love bloom, forcing Vincent to hide his deep feelings for Roma.
When Steve leaves town, Vincent and Roma hook up, admit they are in love and vow to tell Steve by the end of the day. But as the sun sets behind the Los Angeles skyline, Vincent ruminates on his parents’ failed marriage, his own arrested development and the choice he must make to become a better man.
Here’s what brothers Wade and Jesse Allain-Marcus had to say about “French Dirty.”
“This is as small and personal as a film gets. Everybody’s name on this film is considered family—a family affair, you could say. And the subject would probably be filed under autobiographical fiction,” said the brothers. “Both of us are part of the millennial generation, but on opposite sides of the spectrum. Whether you are 29 [Wade] or 19 [Jesse], growing up is hard. It is difficult to own your choices, decisions and mistakes.
“There are millions of errors that a human makes between the time they are born and the time they die. We are put here to walk the Earth for however long we are given, and with that gift we do as we choose. One of the most important aspects of that gift is ownership. At its core, our film is a 70-minute meditation on growing up at 30 and dealing with the internal struggle of breaking away from the parental influences that often guides one’s life choices. We’re hoping to explore the idea that no matter what direction life takes, making decisions and, more importantly, making your own decisions is critical or else we will stay stuck in a cynical nature of repeating the same mistakes.”
Concluding, they said, “It is on us as individuals to recognize our free will. It’s easy to throw blame around for what could or should have happened in your life, whether with loved ones or family, work peers or strangers, but at the end of the day, it is on us to break the cycle.”