Livia De Paolis co-wrote, directed, and stars in this interesting look at modern day family structures and trans-generational and interracial dynamics, co-starring Michael Cristofer, most recently seen in NBC’s hit show last year, SMASH.
Cristofer’s character, Walter has 2 adopted teenage children from his failed marriage who live with him, as the “lesser of the two evils” parent. Their mother is far too busy living her jet-set life to be burdened down with the needs of her teenage kids. So the adopted brother and sister (with only 4 months difference in their ages) are stuck living with their father and witnessing his journey through midlife crisis with his sports car and frequent changes of younger women he is dating.
The title of the story comes from the doctorate thesis of Livia’s character, Elena, who is an anthropologist, which she is working on throughout the length of the film. It deals with modern means of communications in the electronic age and Walter’s adopted children are each dealing with their own teenage angst with Luke, an aspiring musician being introduced to the dangers of unplanned teenage sex and his sister, Mandy, who is a Latina, becoming curiously interested in her Hispanic heritage after meeting another Latina girl from a poorer part of Manhattan who gets her in touch with her roots.
Filmed mostly in Manhattan except when Elena takes the siblings on a vacation trip to Mexico so Mandy can experience her Mexican background for herself, it offers an insight into New York City life where children generally grow up faster than in other areas in order to survive and move around in the big metropolitan area of Manhattan, which is different than living anywhere else in America!
The well written story deals with unexpected pregnancies and how they can turn lives upside down in a heartbeat as well as the joys and pitfalls of trans-generational relationships.“Emoticon ;)” was a hit at Sundance and is in the New York Premiere Opening Night at the GENART FILM FESTIVAL Thursday, October 3, 2013. When asked “What is the most important message in this film to you?”, Livia De Paolis responded, “That as human beings, we’re all magnificently flawed and inherently co-dependent. We need each other. And that’s a good thing.”
When asked about her approach to making the film, she replied, “I wanted to make a movie that was honest and transparent. That would show real people with their flaws, lies, and heartaches. I wanted to show a longing for human connection. I wanted it to be soft spoken. And I wanted it to be an ensemble piece. I wanted it to be inclusive of all the different people that make up the city of NY.”
I think she accomplished her goal and feel you would enjoy this touching family story. Comments welcome below!