Monday, May 10, 2010

Going Home Again

There's a telling line toward the end of the movie Lbs., where Lee Dawkins says something like the following to Neil Perota...

Remember. Just because you have changed, that doesn't mean that everyone else has changed.

A quick rewind is in order. What exactly is Lbs.? Lbs. is an engaging independent movie we had the chance to check out this weekend down at E Street Cinema in DC. The short of it is that a twenty-something-year-old son in a typical Brooklyn Italian family finds himself at a crossroads in his young life. Extremely overweight, Neil Perota realizes that his eating addiction is impossible to kick, surrounded as he is by his mother's delicious home cooking and the availability of pizza, pasta, soda, and junk food on seemingly every neighborhood corner. So off to rural upstate New York Neil heads, for an extended stint of living in a trailer (courtesy of local real estate agent Lee Dawkins) with the temptations and comfort foods of the city left far behind.

In the end, Neil succeeds in his quest and remakes his body over the course of several seasons of walking, biking, and splitting wood. But the weight loss, it turns out, is the easy accomplishment. Returning home, Neil is greeted by a father who is indifferent and a mother who is downright hostile to his extended absence, regardless of the results that were achieved. Neil finally gets a date with the local girl he pined over for years, only to find himself walking out of the restaurant before the evening really gets going. Reentry into his old life, which had gone on as normal while he remade not just his body but his mind as well, turned out to be the really tricky part.

Yes, it was a movie on one level about weight loss. But, as aspiring global citizens, the themes of reentry, indifference, hostility, and letdown were certainly emotions that resonated on a personal level. Looking ahead to next month (!), what will it be like when we return to, say, the alleyways of Saoziying? Will the magic still be there? Will we still feel such a deep connection?


PS: After the screening, we had the chance to meet and chat with Carmine Famigietti (Neil Perota) and director Matthew Bonifacio. Great job, guys! All of you in DC, you have until this Thursday to get over to E Street Cinema and see Lbs. for yourself.


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