TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL 2021 REVIEW! COVID-19 hit the world hard, and whether or not you subscribe to the idea that the pandemic was as bad as some claimed, the reality is that everyone was immensely affected by the events of the past fifteen months. With/In is an anthology consisting of thirteen short films, all focusing on the hard times the world faced during the pandemic lockdown. From great minds like Rosie Perez, Sanaa Lathan, and Adrianne Palicki, topics such as day drinking, OCD, sourdough bread, and anxiety, among others, are touched on, bringing light to the dark times we all lived through. Even better, the stars allow us to feel better about ourselves and do our best to normalize all that we experienced.
In the time of Corona (I hate saying that, but it’s a reality), our world split in two. We all became somewhat self-sufficient while trapped in our homes, harkening back to simpler times. We stopped the gaudy vacations and visiting up-scale restaurants and accepted that this was the way things were going to be for a while. However, technology became more important than ever. We became reliant on Zoom, food delivery services, and live-streamed concerts to survive. This juxtaposition of simplicity and technology was unlike anything we had ever experienced.
The content of With/In has to mirror the reality of recent experiences for audiences to relate to it, and that’s a tall task. However, each segment, from directors Jonathan Cake, Bill Camp, Chris Cooper, Griffin Dunne, Gina Gershon, and Sebastian Gutierrez (to name but a few), resonates with viewers. While some of the tales do take some liberties in order to make their point, these short films primarily rely on the truth to get their messages across.
“…an anthology consisting of thirteen short films, all focusing on the hard times the world faced during the pandemic lockdown.”
The first of the thirteen short films is Leap, directed by Sanaa Lathan and written by Margaret Nagle. Of all of the tales presented here, this is the most raw and honest. Viewers feel a deep, meaningful connection to the characters that draws them close to tears from the opening seconds. As the anthology continues, it touches on more of the topics mentioned earlier in several different ways. Comedy exists alongside the drama to prove levity still exists, even in these most uncertain times.
Expressing even the slightest bit of disregard for the coronavirus has the potential to ruffle some feathers and antagonize viewers. The entire cast and crew of each segment of With/In present their content tactfully and gracefully. Nothing about the content is overwhelming, even in its most dramatic moments, allowing the film to remain relatable. Given the nature of an anthology, it is impressive that every story manages to be so profound, heartfelt, or amusing.
With/In is tasked with recreating the many unexpected (and sometimes unspeakable) things the world experienced over the past year and a half. Never before has the world needed others to talk to and commiserate within the fashion they do today. We all need someone to tell us that we aren’t alone, and that is what the film does seamlessly and beautifully. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll appreciate the fact that you’re not the only one feeling the way you do right now. It is so brilliantly positive and relatable, and the combination of thirteen incredibly different stories brings to life the horror and beauty of the past year.
With/In screened at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival.
"…you'll laugh, you'll cry..."