Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Poker House - One Week Limited Release in L.A., Johnston Iowa, and Irvine Ends 7/23

Anyone who can should check out this awesome film. A true heartfelt story by Lori Petty. One week only at the Lamelle in Santa Monica. You may not get another chance to see it. It is a story of adolescent rape and as such is not easily able to get wide distribution - similar to Hounddog in that respect.

I caught the world premier last year at the LA Film Festival. Not a dry eye in the house. The audience went nuts. Standing ovation. It has a hard hitting ending that actually hits home in the credits, similar to how No Country for Old Men did but this one doesn't leave you guessing. It just leaves you in tears. What an incredible cast. But I'd have to say the real star of this film is the director, Lori Petty, despite not having an acting role in the film. Her perspective is so original and refreshing.

Set in the 70s, a young girl struggles to survive, with two younger sisters, in a home overrun by gamblers, thieves, and johns. Written and directed by Lori Petty. Right there you know a film about this subject matter written and directed by a woman has got to be good.

There are too few woman directors out there but when they succeed they have a refreshing, interesting and compelling voice. This film was first on my list at the festival. Strangely there were three shows still available when the festival started. People just don't know what's good.

The big problem with distribution is the same thing that makes this a great film, it's subject matter; that being the story of three young girls growing up in a poker house with a hooker mother and an abusive pimp along with their seedy associates. People don't want to hear that films like this are playing at the cineplex. They don't want to know what really goes on in America.

I was discussing this film with someone who mentioned Memoirs of a Geisha in comparison, which got me to thinking about how Geishas are highly respected and trained as in a profession. But in the US people in this business deal with drugs, guns, pimps and violence. It's one of the most outrageous saddest state of affairs that plague American society, and the reason is because it is illegal in most every state, forcing it into the hands of underworld unscrupulous characters.

The film distribution industry is so annal about edgy films like this. Hounddog had to be re-cut and toned down after the controversy generated over the adolescent girl's rape scene, played by Dakota Fanning. It then ended up with a limited release at Lamelle as well. I haven't seen it since then. It shows only than one limited release on IMDB. Will The Poker House have the same fate?

It is a tragedy when films like this don't get out because of the distribution industry's short sightedness. We didn't have this problem in the seventies when The Godfather caused a huge uproar with protests at theaters. The irony is that controversy like this sells. Thus Godfather became a classic hit and helped to launch Coppola's career so he could go on to do greater things.

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