The National

The Berninger brothers in MISTAKEN FOR STRANGERS

A secret service member glances at Tom Berninger, our filmmaker/protagonist/underdog hero, and gives him a piercing glance of total disregard, waving him to get out of the way in such a fashion that both rigidly instructs Tom and potently ignores the fact that he exists. It’s such a brief yet powerfully condescending look, and puts us directly in the shoes of someone who is invisible while surrounded by those who are hyper-visible. Moments later, Matt Berninger, Tom’s brother and lead singer of the successful indie rock band The National, tells Tom, “I’m sorry you didn’t get to meet the President.” Matt is achingly sincere in this sentiment, yet you can tell he hates the fact that such an unavoidably haughty-sounding sentence just tumbled out of his mouth. Mistaken for Strangers is less a tour documentary about a successful rock band, and more a chronicle of one dude’s attempt to accomplish something in the shadow of his far more successful brother. It’s Don’t Look Back by way of American Movie: an intimate behind-the-scenes portrayal of rock stardom, but framed by an intoxicating irreverence that relieves the film of any stuffy adulation that so often burdens many rockumentaries. Who would have thought a band as solemn and tortured as The National would be involved in a documentary so surprisingly funny and unapologetically sincere?

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Mistaken for Strangers

If you’ve somehow missed our relentless reportage on the subject, the Tribeca Film Festival kicks off later this week with the premiere of Tom Berninger‘s Mistaken for Strangers, a tour documentary about Berninger’s time on tour with his brother’s (Matt Berninger) band The National. The film’s first trailer is a solid mix of standard tour stuff (life as a rock star is wacky!), family drama (it looks like the Berningers get down to some long-needed heart-to-hearts in the film), and performances by the band. Basically, a perfect music doc. Jam out with the first trailer for Mistaken for Strangers after the break.

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Sundance: Big Sur

Jack Kerouac is best known for his novel “On The Road,” which helped inspire the Beat generation and brought the author fast fame, but his next novel, “Big Sur,” told the story of how success only made Kerouac feel more lost and trapped. Director Michael Polish attempts to bring the novel to life with Big Sur as we watch Kerouac (Jean-Marc Barr) travel to the beautiful area to secretly stay in his friend Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s (Anthony Edwards) cabin and try and find some peace.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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