“Palm Trees Down 3rd Street” is a masterpiece as far as short films are concerned. Shot in a grainy, black and white style, the film is reminiscent of John Cassavetes and Charles Burnett at their finest. Here is a film that captures the San Francisco I am familiar with, complete with Muni, taquerias, and crazy homeless people.
The film follows a young girl looking for her father amid the poverty of San Fransisco’s Mission district. Along the way she meets a little hoodlum she eventually comes to realize she has more in common with that she originally thought.
“3rd Street” refuses to scream at you. Dealing with issues that would be easy to take over-the-top, the film dwells, instead, in subtle moments. Emotions run just beneath the surface and never bubble over in dramatic displays. The lead actresses remain deadpan, delivering each line impeccably. I believed in this story. I was invested in this story.
Director, Maria Judice, is looking for the financing to turn this film into a feature-length project. While I am a huge proponent of short films as a final format, “3rd Street” could be a successful feature. If Judice stays true to the independent, grainy feel she started with, I look forward to what she can explore with a feature.