Playing It Loose: James C. Strouse brings improv feel to comic romance ‘People Places Things’

The life of an indie filmmaker ain’t easy. Even after you have a few films under your belt, you’re plagued by long hours, no money, and an uncertain outcome that hinges on release schedules, the whims of distributors—oh, heck, probably the weather. It’s not something you do unless you really love it and have stories that you feel, deep within your gut, that you need to tell. No one gets into the movie racket for an easy buck.

That’s a fact well-known by James C. Strouse, whose third film, People Places Things, hits theatres this Friday from The Film Arcade. The semi-autobiographical comedy/drama stars Jemaine Clement, of “Flight of the Conchords” and last year’s vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows, as Will Henry, a graphic novelist and (like Strouse) teacher at New York’s School of Visual Arts who finds himself cut adrift after his wife (Stephanie Allynne) unexpectedly tells him their marriage isn’t working. (Well, it’s less her telling him than him finding her with another man at their twin daughters’ birthday party, but po-tay-toes, po-tah-toes.) Suffering from loneliness and an extreme lack of purpose, he struggles to assemble chunks from his new and old lives—his relationship with his daughters, his new apartment in middle-of-nowhere Queens, his lingering feelings for his ex and his new relationship with the mother (Regina Hall) of a student (“The Daily Show”’s Jessica Williams)—into a new, satisfying self.

Read the rest on Film Journal International.


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