Choking Man

Choking Man

Director: Steven Barron

Cast: Octavio Gómez Berríos, Kate Buddeke, Philippe Brenninkmeyer

     
 

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A man finds himself caught between several worlds -- rough real life and a number of parallel fantasy lands -- in this blend of drama and fantasy. Jorge (Octavio Gómez Berríos) is a painfully shy young man from Ecuador who has immigrated to the United States. Jorge keeps body and soul together by washing dishes at a greasy-spoon

Overview

A man finds himself caught between several worlds -- rough real life and a number of parallel fantasy lands -- in this blend of drama and fantasy. Jorge (Octavio Gómez Berríos) is a painfully shy young man from Ecuador who has immigrated to the United States. Jorge keeps body and soul together by washing dishes at a greasy-spoon diner in a Queens, NY neighborhood that's dominated by a wide variety of fellow immigrants. Jorge spends most of his days at work being harassed by Rick (Mandy Patinkin), the diner's owner, and loud-mouthed manager Jerry (Aaron Paul). One of the only people at the diner who shows any kindness to Jorge is Amy (Eugenia Yuan), an Asian waitress, and Jorge has become deeply infatuated with her. However, Jerry also has his eyes on Amy, only adding to the tension between him and Jorge. As Jorge struggles to escape his grim circumstances, he passes into a variety of alternate realities, ranging from a pastel-colored wonderland ruled by animated bunnies to a grassy sylvan landscape past a fence. Choking Man was written and directed by Steve Barron, best known for his groundbreaking work in music videos; the film received its world premiere at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
1980s music-video maestro Steve Barron ("Billie Jean," "Take on Me") takes the plunge into indie digital-video dramas in this portrait of pathologically shy Salvadorian immigrant Jorge (Octavio Gómez Berríos) in Jamaica, Queens. The diner where Jorge works is staffed by a multicultural cross-section teetering on the brink of stereotype anchored by Mandy Patinkin's solid performance as the diner's Russian owner. As the plot shifts around Jorge's insular, paranoid point-of-view and his crush on a cheery, child-like Asian waitress (Eugenia Yuan), the film skirts many an indie cliché (magical realism, maudlin heart-to-hearts, lovable losers). Barron's sensitive handling of the characters, restrained use of showy dramatics, and skill with the camera finesses but does not obliterate these problems, and the use of animation feels particularly underdeveloped. But Jorge is a fascinating and original person, a lonely young man trying to resist his inner Travis Bickle, and Berríos' weird dark portrayal elevates the film above its mediocre DV counterparts.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/07/2014
UPC:
0857692005031
Original Release:
2006
Source:
Film Movement
Time:
1:25:00
Sales rank:
81,692

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Octavio Gómez Berríos Jorge
Kate Buddeke Teri
Philippe Brenninkmeyer Germanic Man
Eugenia Yuan Amy
Rupak Ginn Din
Aaron Paul Jerry
Mandy Patinkin Rick
Al Roffe Chef
Mando Alvarado Stand-In Chef
Paolo Andino Choking Man
Russell Jones Subway Man
Philip Levy Middle-Aged Customer
John Anthony Ferrara Spoiled Brat
Ruth Jaffe female diner
Mitchell Greenberg Gene
Stewart Steinberg Gruff Thrift Helper
Joan Kafer Religious Woman
Rudy Roberson Kenny
Oliver Barron Construction Worker
Jaime Tirelli Priest
Irma St. Paule Female Diner's Mother
Marika Daciuk Rick's Wife

Technical Credits
Steven Barron Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Tammy Douglas Sound/Sound Designer
Jon Griggs Editor
Rebecca Hofherr Costumes/Costume Designer
Todd Holmes Editor
Ellyn Marshall Casting
Zachary Mortensen Producer
Nico Muhly Score Composer
Marie E. Nelson Casting
Ethan Tobman Production Designer
Antoine Vivas-Denisov Cinematographer
Josh Zeman Producer

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