THERE IS A NEW WORLD SOMEWHERE
Directed by Li Lu
Best First Feature, 2015 Las Vegas Film Festival
Best First Feature, 2015 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
Stuck in a dead-end New York art gallery job, Sylvia (Agnes Bruckner) stumbles reluctantly back to her home in Texas, where she’s a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding. At this point in her life, security feels like a luxury. And so when she meets a handsome stranger Esteban (Maurice Compte) at a pre-wedding party, and he invites her on a road trip up to New York, she bucks her bridesmaid duties and hits the road. What she finds would be a surprise if she had any expectations to begin with.
The title of Li Lu’s terrific debut captures the journey of possibility, the search for personal self-validation, and a new look on the American South. But it could also be used to describe a cinema by and about women, telling stories familiar in genre but fresh in perspective. Lu smoothly but unpredictably weaves a tale about crisis deeply felt and consequences that connect self and other. Her way of directing Bruckner’s caution and masked disappointment allows Sylvia to be both anxious and empowered. As the characters make their way up the South, we gain new perspectives on escape, crescendoing to an emotional finish line. –Eric Lallana
Co-presented by: Media Arts Center San Diego