Tribeca Debut for Irish Films

"I wasn't so much interested in the people they were impersonating, but more the character underneath. What type of human being looks at a celebrity icon and not only admires them like fans, but takes it a step further? For them, it's not enough to just enjoy the celebrities they admire.

They make a decision: 'I am going to live through that person. I am going to take that character's identity for myself and somehow sustain a living by pretending to be that person at different functions, like retirement homes or car shows.'"

Korine admits that he was also interested in the disconnect - where does the impersonator begin and the impersonation end? That's why in the film the characters don't have names. They call themselves by the first names of the people they impersonate.

He then took it a step further by having them live in a commune to show they've decided to live full time in the skin of the people they impersonate.

The resulting film is a wild ride that examines our double-edged relationship with celebrity - movie stars are the stuff of dreams, and we're willing to idolize them as long as they play by our rules (not their own).

New Boy, directed and written by Stephanie Green, is one of the most interesting new short features to have come out of Ireland in years. A sensitive and intermittently hilarious meditation on the journey to the new multicultural Ireland, Green handles the provocative material with such grace and humor that you want to cheer by the film's end.

Being the new boy at school isn't easy if you're trying to fit in and make friends, but if you're African and facing your first day at an Irish school things can get out of hand quickly.

Based on Roddy Doyle's hilarious short story, Green has retained the riotous humor of Doyle's version and has managed in the process to expand and deepen the story's themes with a rare degree of cinematic sophistication.

The short but surprisingly resonant drama about an African boy's first footsteps in Ireland gains greater resonance when the film reminds us of the steps that he has already taken. One day his father, a teacher in an African school, is led out of the classroom by military thugs.

By the time the new boy has arrived in Ireland he's already an orphan. Marvelously, Green handles this material with the sensitivity of an acrobat. It's an uncommonly strong debut.

The Tribeca Film Festival runs from April 23 to May 4. Tickets can be purchased at the Festival Box Office, located at 15 Laight Street (between Varick and Sixth Avenue, one block below Canal Street) from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., seven days a week. Call 646-502-5296 or email boxoffice@tribecafilmfestival.org.

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